Monday, May 27, 2013

Et tu, CounterPunch?

Sharon Smith wrote recently about the sexist presentation of Angelina Jolie in a CounterPunch article by Ruth Fowler about Jolie’s speaking publicly about her double mastectomy. There was certainly far worse out there, but CP – which is supposed to be a site dedicated to social justice - contributed to the toxic sexist-misogynistic brew.

As annoying as that was, it was their response to Smith that revealed the depth of the problem at CP. It’s all there: the smug, dismissive tone; the cries of “Censorship!” (particularly galling given that they refused to publish Smith’s critical piece, despite the fact that she’s been a regular contributor); the accusations of language policing and “political correctness”; the claim that this is about prudishness; the suggestion that Jolie can’t be inappropriately sexualized because she’s publicly sexualized herself; the refusal to address the actual arguments being made about language;… All the standard bullshit we’ve seen again and again.

I’d like to hope that they’ll come to understand the problem and issue an apology, but given the events of the past few years it’s hard to be optimistic. It remains surprising to me that an organization relying on donations and subscriptions seems happy to alienate a good number of actual or potential supporters.

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