But He Wrote “Girls”!!!

The headline began with the use of the word “kids,” a slang word for children. Children dislike being reminded that they’re children, because it’s stereotypical, ageist and true. However, there isn’t much to scream about, given that ageism is a minor offense at the moment. Its day may come, like fat-ism or smell-ism. Whether or not there will be a stupid-ism remains to be seen. It’s not out of the question.

But the headline then went all parity, from kids to “girls.” Bingo! Crank up the outrage machine.  What headline?

Smart Kids Stay Away From Law School, Girls Take Over

If I was to take issue with the headline, my problem would have been that it would appear to exclude “girls” from “smart kids.”  It gives rise to an awkward juxtaposition, and that wasn’t its purpose. Elie Mystal saw the headline before it went live. He realized there were issues, but rather than edit (because, after all, he’s the editor-at-large), he decided to let his “columnist” get crushed under the bus.

I argued that we should pub Keith, unedited, and then have a “response,” instead of stealthily massaging an opinion people disagreed with. If we had done it differently, you people would have squealed like little bitches about “free speech” and “men’s rights” and “social justice warriors.”

The “Keith” referred to in Elie’s comment is Keith Lee, who writes a weekly post for Above The Law. Keith’s post is one of the few substantive posts ATL offers. Most are insipid dreck by unknown writers of little consequence or self-promoters mailing it in with as click-baitable a headline as they can muster. Most of its content aspires to shallowness, not that it seems to stop people from clicking.

I don’t begrudge Breaking Media, ATL’s parent company, the ability to earn revenues off clicks. I don’t begrudge David Lat’s and Elie’s ability to earn a living off clicks. But a business built on T & A, salaciousness and Herculean efforts to turn puny pedestrian legal stories into lurid tales of woe should be awfully careful when it tries to seize the moral high ground.  Morality isn’t part of its business model.

Laying in wait was another ATL editor, Kathryn Rubino, who sprung her attack the next day:

Some Sexist Bullsh*t On This Website

If so, it didn’t have to be. Elie’s explanation doesn’t quite wash, since it’s the job of an editor to “massage” a post or headline if there’s an issue, and the excuse of “free speech” is nonsense, since no one would know that you did your job.  But then, what would there be to evoke outrage?

Hi there. It’s me. Your neighborhood lovable ATL editor. We have to talk. See, there was some bullshit on our site yesterday. One of our columnists, Keith Lee, wrote some patently sexist shit, and I just can’t deal with it.

Perhaps Lee didn’t expect for his article to read as offensively as it does. But for my $.02, that only makes it worse. If “good” folks can reinscribe and fan the flames of this kind of demeaning and sexist rhetoric, without realizing it, it only demonstrates the pernicious nature of the power dynamics at play.

That’s right. It’s the “pernicious nature of the power dynamics at play” again.  Another editor, Staci Zaretsky, does a thing she calls the “Pink Ghetto,” about the outrageous sexism that women lawyers endure. While the “pink ghetto” title reflects a misunderstanding of the phrase (it refers to jobs that are stereotypically held by females), and Straci’s daily indulgence in diminishing women in her “morning docket” column, the “shocking stories of sexual harassment” are not particularly shocking nor harassing. Damning with faint praise outrage can’t be easy.

So too are Rubino’s screams of perniciousness.

That’s just a whole lotta “what the fuck” right there.

First of all, “girls”? No, there aren’t a bunch of 8-year-old female children entering law school. It is just a paternalistic and demeaning way to refer to women, all generally in the 22+ age range, who’ve decided to go the law school route. And there is not a single instance in the post (let alone in the title) where Lee refers to law school-bound men as “boys.” I know there are some readers out there who will snort and roll their eyes about this complaint, but women making career choices, like deciding to attend law school, should not be infantilized. God knows the student loan companies aren’t going to treat them like children, so maybe you should pump the brakes, too.

Interesting that someone at ATL thought the word “bullshit” too offensive to post without an asterisk, but “what the fuck” is perfectly fine.  So Keith, using the word “girls” in his headline, infantilizes law school women “in the 22+ age range”?  Does irony come in pink?

“Law Schools Turn Pink”?? Are you kidding me? Haven’t we evolved beyond the trite, binary BS? All girls like pink, and boys are in blue! Give me a break. Granted, this website has used the term for articles about the pervasive mistreatment women are subjected to in the legal profession, but there is something about reclaiming a term and inverting the meaning that is frankly not present in Lee’s article.

Sit down. I have something to tell you, and it’s going to make you sad.  Infantilizing women, particularly ones who use teeny-bopper phraseology and multiple question marks in a non-ironic way, has become the currency of gender politics.  Feminism today is built on a foundation of infantilizing women. Big girls concern themselves with equality. Little girls cry about the burn from seeing the word “girls.”

And don’t get me started on this line, or the stereotypical .gif that ends Lee’s post:

That’s right, girls just wanna have…law school?

If that is what you find outrageous, a reference to Cyndi Lauper’s anthem, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, then going to law school isn’t going to help you. If you don’t want to be treated like a child, don’t behave like one. And if this is what suffices to attack your own writer over the outrage you “just can’t deal with” at ATL, then you need to head straight for the puppy room. You’re not ready for the real world.

TANTRUM

21 comments on “But He Wrote “Girls”!!!

  1. Patrick Maupin

    I also found Keith’s article grating. Doesn’t he know that “down -53.18%” is “up”?

    In any case, the article would need to be ridiculed even if it didn’t have such easy, immaterial targets — the data Keith highlights, coupled with the fact that pay for young lawyers has apparently been dropping precipitiously for awhile, might not support the narrative that fields dominated by women pay less simply because we value women less.

    The data also shows that Zaretsky is merely ahead of her time, and you’re just going to have to get used to working in a pink ghetto. You should read her articles for tips on how to welcome your new overlords.

    1. SHG Post author

      Doesn’t he know that “down -53.18%” is “up”?

      Ouch. If only he had an editor to pick up such glaring errors.

    1. DaveL

      Life is rough in the Pink Ghetto. There are drive-by microaggressions every other day. A friend of mine was mugged by a stereotype, he made off with all her self-esteem. True story.

          1. Patrick Maupin

            I used to think I knew the answer to that. But now I realize how puerile my entire existence was. What I want to know now is how, in this enlightened day and age, the scientists’ conspiracy is still managing to maintain the fiction that there are only two types of sex chromosomes.

  2. Mort

    Perhaps Lee didn’t expect for his article to read as offensively as it does.

    Perhaps he didn’t care about your fucking feelings, you infantile dolt.

  3. L. Raymond

    “Big girls concern themselves with equality. Little girls cry about the burn from seeing the word ‘girls’.”

    You’re wrong, and she was right to point this out. I cannot stand the childish way in which she did so, but her point is valid. No man will ever consider a girl his equal, and that why men who use the term do so, to make it plain we’re not equals. Pointing out they’re wrong to dismiss us as children is important.

    “Self-awareness is hard when one is outraged. Harder still when outraged over nothing.”

    I read her as more highly irritated than outraged, but in any case, that you aren’t affected by this problem on a daily basis doesn’t mean it’s nothing. Calling us girls is demeaning, and it will never be not demeaning.

    The problem is that to you, this is something you see every now and again, but women hear it day in and day out, week after week after week. We’re never, ever referred to as women in our daily lives. We’re chicks or girls or ladies, as though the word “woman” is offensive. When people want to insult others, they call them little bitches or pussies, since there is simply nothing worse than being female.

    Not related, but:

    “Interesting that someone at ATL thought the word ‘bullshit’ too offensive to post without an asterisk, but ‘what the fuck’ is perfectly fine.”

    The headline is probably fed to scores of websites with differing editorial policies about profanity while the rest will only be seen by people who choose to view the article. Click-baiters have to play to their audience.

    1. SHG Post author

      I fished your comment out of the trash because you listed your email as “[email protected]” You are wrong. You are not special. You don’t have to provide an email, but then, you don’t have to comment. If you do, then you have to provide an email like everyone else. If not, your comment goes into the trash. I won’t be so kind as to fish it out again.

      As for the reason I fished it out and posted your comment, it’s because your comment embodies the point of the post, as simplistically reflected in the title. I appreciate that it lacks the tone of hysteria of Rubino’s overwrought effort, but it’s no less irrational:

      No man will ever consider a girl his equal, and that why men who use the term do so, to make it plain we’re not equals. Pointing out they’re wrong to dismiss us as children is important.

      There is nothing convincing about empty gender paranoia. You wasted all those words to accomplish nothing more than to be the poster girl (and had you been male, I would have used “poster boy,” because that’s just how the phrase goes) for mindless hurt feelings. If you don’t want to be called a “girl,” think like a grown-up.

      1. L. Raymond

        “I fished your comment out of the trash because you listed your email as ‘[email protected]’. You are wrong. You are not special. You don’t have to provide an email, but then, you don’t have to comment. If you do, then you have to provide an email like everyone else. If not, your comment goes into the trash. I won’t be so kind as to fish it out again.”

        It’s because you’re so over-emotional and certain of your rightness in all respects that I’ve never offered a comment before, and I won’t feel the lack of doing so in the future sinceyours is just one of many sites I read for differing perspectives. I run into people like you everyday, except you at least explain why you’re unable to understand certain social basics, which helps me to deal with others in real life. You simply showed such insular ignorance in this case, laughing off a matter that affects half the world’s population in a very serious way that someone like you will obviously never understand, that I wanted to try to start an explanation.

        1. SHG Post author

          Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know I said I wouldn’t fish it out again, but this was just too damn funny not to share.

  4. L. Raymond (I've figured out why you're mad)

    Just a note: I figured out you weren’t angry at a false email address, but rather what it said. I’ve used that address since the ’90s because Usenet required something in the address line. I also used it to avoid being spammed, back when every site would add you to a mailing list regardless of your preference they not.

    You are literally the first person in 20 years to have taken it personally, which is why I didn’t get it when you said, “You’re not special”. You thought I was writing you a note that wasn’t to be posted publicly, and I was just using an old trick to avoid spam.

    1. SHG Post author

      This is blatantly unfair. After I’ve resolved not to save your comments from the trash anymore, you go and leave a comment of such monumental narcissistic insanity that I can’t not share it. No, this is the rule for everybody, not just you. But narcissists gonna narcissive.

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