“I want to both have sex with her AND strangle her to death. But in which order…?”
The response? A few joking replies and little else. Not a single person objects or scolds the users. No one even clicks the “dislike” button on menace8012’s comment.
The incident is evident of a larger trend on YouTube, where sexist attitudes towards women run unchecked. It’s not just the trolls or haters in the comments section of videos; YouTubers have cyberbullied women based off their appearance since the site’s inception.
Menace8012’s comment, and the community’s response (or lack thereof), may seem extreme to the casual YouTube community safarian, but it also perfectly portrays why so few women have found success on YouTube. Many women on YouTube try to avoid this negative sexist environment by cloistering themselves in the beauty section of YouTube, but that does little to combat the anti-women sentiments running rampant throughout the rest of the site.
Like rape apologist ideology, YouTubers who silently upvote, or in this case “like,” menace8012’s comment are implying iJustine deserves the threats and derogatory comments she gets, daily, because of the way she looks and dresses. Sometimes in her videos, the blonde, blue-eyed and pretty iJustine wears a tank top and lip gloss, and that little bit of sexuality occasionally sends both genders into a sexist frenzy. Read the rest of this entry »
My favorite time to take selfies is when I am drunk and alone in the bathroom. I tend to take the majority of them while inebriated, actually, and online evidence proves even middle-aged women do the inebriated selfie in the bathroom too.
Yes, even the Boston Marathon Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, when he wasn’t sober, whipped out his cellphone and took selfies. And one of these non-sober self-portraits (speculatively) is on the cover of Rolling Stone right now and making a name for itself as the most controversial selfie on our planet.
Media critics are calling Rolling Stone everything short of evil for using his selfie photo as cover art, never mind that Instagrammed self-portraiture is becoming a legitimate form of art and feminist self-expression. This universality is exactly why the self-portrait of the young and handsome (and murderous, don’t you forget) Tsarnaev as cover art choice is outrageous. How dare we relate to a killer! How dare a magazine make us feel this way! If I were the art director over at the Rolling Stone right now, I would be creaming my pants: this is the type of feedback creative types have wet dreams about.
Tsarnaev’s selfie effectively normalizes him, and as the three-day long controversy has shown, we just cannot deal with that. We would rather depart reality and delude ourselves into thinking national-headline-making killers are ugly and have nothing in common with us than see them engaging in everyday behavior. If we could somehow magically teleport to a place where we all believed Tsarnaev didn’t know how to operate a phone, we would.
In fact, to portray Tsarnaev as ordinary is dangerous, they imply, because in order to feel better about the bombings we need to see the differences, not the similarities, between ourselves and the cruel killer. It sounds absurd, but this is more or less what the critics are saying. The New York Times thinks this kind of madness is a result of the heatwave. Possibly. I think it might be a combination of Tsarnaev’s image making fresh the horror of the bombings, much like that just-healing summer scrape you accidentally pick at only to have it start oozing.
The selfies we share on the web are supposed to be the best reflection of ourselves. This skewed mirror is precisely why the Boston Globe in a Thursday post echoing the collective rage calls the use of the selfie “ill-advised” and “irresponsible.” While many of us cannot fathom Tsarnaev’s terrorist intentions, we can all relate to photographing ourselves and dare-I-say-it, creating a typically blemish-free personal brand online. The self-portrait via cellphone is a “language we all understand,” but …we don’t want to understand a bomber. Please don’t make us understand one.
This now infamous selfie, originally displayed on Tsarnaev’s twitter profile, was the “mask” he chose to portray to the world and glorifying it by featuring it on a rock-and-roll magazine is akin to “collaborat[ing] with Tsarnaev in the creation of his own celebrity,” continued the Boston Globe.
Need I remind everyone, Tsarnaev was already a “celebrity” before his Rolling Stone cover, having graced the front pages of newspapers the world over with some even featuring that same image. Rolling Stone is not responsible for this mass media interest, the spread of the photo, or for Tsarnaev’s fanbase of young girls cooing over the soft locks in his approachable selfies. To suggest Rolling Stone is appealing to Tsarnaev’s misguided female fans by choosing this already-widely circulated photo when this same criticism was not levied against the New York Times, is logic I’d only be able to process if my head was in the sand.
CVS banning the sale of the magazine in its shops (and now Walgreens too), and folks celebrating this decision, is akin to saying “monsters must be clearly portrayed as monsters, or else.” Who wants to live in that black-and-white society, presumably filled with bad art? Not me. (Not to imply Tsarnaev’s selfie as cover photo of a magazine is good art — it is in fact the opposite for a variety of reasons and not just because of the bad captions.)
The disconnect between the villain within and the exterior shell of Tsarnaev as a potential sweetheart through his selfies is precisely why the self-portrait should be used for feature-length pieces about his descent into terrorism. But don’t just take my word for it.
Cover Think points out Rolling Stone’s cover is “doing nothing more than reflecting back to us the vanity of a young man’s narcissism, complete with his Armani Exchange T-shirt.” The Washington Post writes “the photo in question jibes with the impression of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev that has emerged from countless interviews with friends and schoolmates” before calling the cover art choice “an accurate and journalistically responsible portrayal of this young man.”
To not use the photo as cover art because it humanizes, then, reveals a willful ignorance on the modern human condition. It is not only “irresponsible,” but bad journalism too. Art that elicits strong emotions is powerful, but banning it only increases its strength.
We can’t will away Tsarnaev’s cellphone, his looks or his seemingly normalness, just like how we can’t will back the lives and limbs his actions stole. And maybe that’s okay, because sometimes we need to see the similarities between ourselves and the villain in order to help us understand the differences. Cellphone selfie and all.
As for the cellphone selfie as legit art form, well, this controversy took care of that.
This is a guide for people who are more interested in the cultural and societal implications of technology from a non-technical background. (I’d recommend attending all the “future of TV/media” talks as a beginners guide to video distribution and social media use.)
Thursday, June 27th:
The US First Robotics Challenge, from 12pm – 4pm.
“US First’s mission is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.”
“The debate around how we should view the concept of intellectual property and copyright in the digital age has continued since the launch of Napster in the ’90′s until today. Why is file-sharing still so limited and how has it affected the world at large?”
Friday, June 28th:
Funny or Die‘s “When Humor is Serious Business,” from 11:00am – 11:30am, featuring Funny or Die CEO Dick Glover. (I have an inkling what Glover will discuss, but being as I have never heard him speak, he might surprise me.)
“Funny or Die is now synonymous with Internet humor…What makes their business model so successful? How do they acquire high quality content with a low budget? What does the future of Funny or Die—and Internet entertainment in general—look like?”
Digital Art; From Easels to Pixels, 12:00pm – 12:30pm
“Art infilitrates everyday life, and every surface, object, or open space is fair game for medium. See how artists are incorporating technology into their work, whether as a means to an end or as the finished product itself. These people are innovating on what it means to be a traditional artist and the burgeoning interest in creating art meant to be consumed in digital form.”
The very ambitiously titled “How the Second City Can Become the First in Fashion,” 5:00pm – 6:00pm
“Take the tech from the West and the high-end fashion from the East and meet somewhere in the middle. Where do you end up? Chicago, of course. Combining the best of both coasts, a slew of Chicago startups are leading the pack in terms of the merging of high-tech and high-fashion.”
Saturday, June 29
In the wake of Hasting’s mysterious death and the conspiracy theories suggesting his car was hacked I feel compelled to attend “Driverless Cars: Speeding to the Future,” 12:30pm – 1:00pm
“While flying cars are still just a figment of our collective imagination, self-driving vehicles—such as the Google Car—are on the imminent horizon. Not only does this technology have the potential to prevent millions of injuries and save countless lives, it also has the power to disrupt the flow of trillions of dollars in industry revenue. Nearly everyone will be affected: suppliers, automakers, service-and-repair shops, insurers, energy companies, hospitals, and car rental companies, to name a few. Undoubtedly, there will be huge implications for all transportation and logistics—the backbone of every company’s supply and distribution chains.”
Entrepreneurship in Eastern Europe, 1:30pm – 2:00pm
“Eastern Europe’s tech scene is small but growing. Find out what Google is doing to facilitate the growth of the tech sector in Poland and beyond, what ideas are brewing in that corner of the world, and how they plan to impact the future.”
”Is the Internet Destroying the Middle Class?,” 2:00pm – 2:30pm
Sexism drove Asher_Wolf away from Cryptoparty and it looks like Twitter as well.
Last night she “ragequit” due to something related to hackers posing as “bronies” attacking her website? That is what the rumors on Twitter are saying, at least. I write “bronies” because Internet pranksters love disguising as them (or anyone they hate, really. The #cutforbieber folks, for instance, tried to blame it on 9GAG in various comment section of YouTube vlogs on the controversy).
The time stamp for the brony attack is from December, but the intention behind whatever drove the people to harass Asher_Wolf is still the same.
Her last tweet, according to Topsy, was “offline.”
While I had yet to attend a cryptoparty – it was on my agenda – I relied on her Twitter stream to keep me updated on all acts of Internet activism. She was in Australia, and her timing jived with my late night Internet wanderings when insomnia kicked in.
I get her point of not having to stick around and take abuse, but why quit Twitter when it was her site that was disturbed, not her news distribution service?
I feel like I am being punished.
1:30 pm Update:
On secondary inspection, it was probably the trolls that came out following her Aaron Swartz post.
Asher_wolf is back on Twitter, no explanation for the hiatus.
I finally watched RoboCop last night. I know, I know, I should have seen it long ago, but the film was so 80′s in its gratuitousness violence and depictions of cruelty, I don’t think I could have handled the movie at a younger age. (My empathy levels when I am not sober are off the charts…and I am anyone.)
If it wasn’t for the occasional punchy joke, experimental depictions of masculinity and futuristic metaphors, I would have abandoned the film this time too. But I didn’t, and when it ended, I sat in the dark imagining the satisfaction growing inside what remained of the man-machine Murphy. The movie made me laugh, made me cry, and before the credits rolled, made me nod with a sense of peace.
Before I watched the movie, I tweeted my intention to do so and a Twitter robot programmed to tweet one quote from the film responded to me immediately. (As if I ever doubted this movie was an important part of our cultural lexicon!)
I hadn’t started the film yet so I hadn’t viewed that line, but from the robotic actions, I knew this line was important and a joke I was supposed to laugh at. You could say I was culturally obligated, if not socially programmed, to laugh at line now. (I admit, the line would have been way funnier if that bot didn’t tell me of it beforehand, but I can’t disparage the bot’s existence either, it being a cultural artifact at this point.)
Later I would come to appreciate the Twitter robot even more when characters within the movie used that line – which comes from a fake commercial – as a pop culture reference. Read the rest of this entry »
YouTubers who enjoyed my story of the digital Bonnie & Clyde couple will be tickled pink by the screengrabs below, that I did not include in the Daily Dot article.
Because, you know, I have a soft spot for females.
(Also, would have made the story way too complicated.)
Has my life changed?
I think it might have….
What would I have to search, for Google to think I was a female?
I was inspired by my new Twitter follow/follower Continuants, to investigate what Google thinks of me in their Ads Preferences.
My work gmail, which I thought was kind of odd. Drums? Clubs? PDAs? Nope. I don’t even write about that stuff…
and my personal gmail, which I sign into after work hours. Besides the gender, and the hiphop, it was somewhat accurate?
If this Pastebin document, created by Anonymous members involved in Operation Hiroshima, is to be believed, the following companies lobbied Congress in support of SOPA.
I smell a boycott… and the weird thing about this list is, how are most of these companies affected by online piracy? Especially all these clothing companies…
ABRO Industries, Inc.
Dolce & Gabbana
Electronic Arts, Inc. (individuals within have voiced opposition?)
Entertainment Software Association