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Gawker Says The Twinternet Is Tweaking Out?

I swear, I really don’t mean to keep coming back to this. I feel like Michael Corleone. “Every time I think I’m out, they pull me back IN.”

Gawker offered their take on the Vanity Fair Twitter Fail of 2010 and, you guessed, they think the uproar is just a bunch of cranky women being…cranky.

But is it possible the women portrayed want to have it both ways? They agreed to a photo shoot where they appear to be naked under a trench coat. They call themselves “girls”—not women—on their Twitter pages and blogs. It implies that using sexuality and “girliness” for personal and professional gains is fine, as long as it’s on their own terms. Grigoriadis is being attacked for not “getting” that these women are SERIOUS REAL WOMEN, but I think her argument is that these women are incredibly serious—about gaining influence and power in a new medium in a way that also takes advantage of their attractiveness (in every sense of the word).

So, ladies, own it! Accept that you have a will to power that is based partly on your ability to exploit your sexuality. And you know what? That’s fine. It doesn’t undermine your professional achievements.

I asked Vanessa what she thought about the outsized, outraged response her article had generated. She responded: “Twitter is obviously an awesome tool conceptually and in aggregate. But it’s gotten a free ride in the media in the past six months, and I was trying to poke a little fun at the quest for power on it, which can be kind of absurd. I didn’t expect to be frisked by the Twitter police for it.”

Two points and then I’m done. I swear.

1) By posing in that fashion, in a magazine known for provacative artwork, they’re suddenly selling their sexuality above all else? If Vanessa Grioriadis had taken the time to highlight the fact that each of these women have brains as well as looks, there would have been less of a backlash.

But she didn’t.

She chose comments and tweets that made each of these women look like they gain followers by offering nude pics and a good time.

2) I would bet serious money that if any of the women in this article had known that Ms. Grigoriadi intended to “poke a little fun” at Twitter and their use of the service, they would have declined. Which means, in essence, the author misled these women by asking them serious questions (and they’ve mentioned they were asked serious questions) and then cherry picked quotes that would fit her angle.

Oh and, y’know what? It’s not unusual to say “girl” instead of “woman” on a Twitter profile. If you’re going to take the feminist view, then doesn’t an empowered female have the right to call herself what she prefers without it somehow reflecting on her empowerment as a female?

Look, I’m going to say it one more time. Quit bitching about the fact that these women are “bitching” and try reading what it is they’re angry about. Judge them on their content, not your opinion of the surface.

That’s really all any of them are asking for in the first place.


  1. The photo is a non issue. It is Vanity Fair. They can’t look good and be smart. It’s stupid to assume the photos would be anything else in VANITY FAIR. I feel another blog coming on.

  2. “I was trying to poke a little fun at the quest for power on it, which can be kind of absurd.”

    If only she had written the piece as satire, which would have required wit and planning. Her response sounds a lot like a bully saying, “What!? We were just playing!”

    If this is what she has to say after reading honest concerns about her representation of professional women in media and in this age, to refer to the “Twitter police,” (though at least she refrained from saying “Twazis”) it seems she has some professionalism to grow into as well as some remedial feminism to study.
    I agree with Christopher. Petulant, poorly written, with very little polish. It’s like she was spite-writing an assignment she had been forced to do. As far as my frustration with the article, it has entirely to do with the fact that someone with the power to make an impact, someone with a guaranteed audience, is choosing to make fun of people instead of writing a good piece… It’s disheartening. I have little faith in entertainment media and this, this is not helping.

    As for the photograph?
    Sex sells and it is used to sell everything; we know that. I saw an ad for lab coats recently that had the sexy scientist biting her sexy glasses with her sexy hair blowing away from her sexy, bedroom eyes. It is pervasive but, as GeekGirlDiva said, and thank you for doing so, sexy does not preclude serious. There were many ways those women could have been presented with respect for both their visual appeal and their personal accomplishments. She could even have respectfully addressed the absurdity she feels about Twitter but Ms. Grigoriadis chose a more childish route, which is disappointing to say the least.

  3. @len

    I believe you meant to say GeekChic and, for my part, I would care if those women had posed in Playboy or Hustler for that matter — because then they know what the angle is up front.

    Being misrepresented is one thing. Being lied to in order to be made fun of is another.

    You, by your comment, assume that they had to give up serious for sexy.

    ::shrug:: I disagree.

  4. len len

    They asked to be noticed. They have been.

    The more this incident is inflamed, the more the ladies lose in credibility. No one listens to serious commediennes or wants to see femme-fatale-du-jour out of makeup. That’s not fun. That’s not entertaining.

    Some do know what they are bitching about and the fact is, they care as much about that as they care about Bono bitching about file swapping and for exactly the same reasons.

    You don’t get to tell an audience what to judge. If you think you have that right or that power, you are in serious need of a career change. All you can control is context and what you say and to whom and when.

    Vanity Fair is a glamour mag. If you want a serious interview, take an offer from Playboy and keep your clothes on or take them off but guess which part of that will get the most print inches.

    You’ve found an incident to promote a hobbyhorse: feminist rights to be female without being judged by looks. You claim your rights to be taken seriously despite your own efforts to appear well… geeky. You are in a Chinese finger puzzle because no, you can’t pose in that kind of spread for that kind of article at the end of the media cycle (geeks are going down, kids) and expect different results. No one has those rights and thank god for that.

    GeekSheik is becoming GeekReek.

  5. Ha,

    Typing on an iPhone is a chore. I of course meant beneath but I will say all other mistakes were my attempt at poking fun.

  6. Saying you were poking fun sounds like a lame excuse for I thought this article and Twitter beneth me.

    I stand by what I wrote in my blog. She didn’t care, sounded petulant, spent no time researching or rewriting. It was bad writing period.

    To say I was poking fun is just ridiculous because she wasn’t funny, not even a little bit.

    As far as Gawker, who cares. They can think what they want but they thought they were going to be treated like professional women. They weren’t and they have a right to be peeved.

  7. Though, seriously? You should be calling yourself GeekWomanDiva. Fer reals. ;)

  8. “It implies that using sexuality and “girliness” for personal and professional gains is fine, as long as it’s on their own terms.”

    YES! That’s EXACTLY what it does! I’m glad Gawker GETS IT now! How a woman chooses to present HERSELF is one thing. It’s the fact that she has a CHOICE that makes it empowering. The fact that these women weren’t GIVEN a choice, because they were LIED to, undermines them in a way that’s infuriating to me.

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