There’s Judging, And There’s JUDGING

I have been discussing a recent Jezebel post with fellow commenter rosasparks offline, and I think she sums things up pretty damn well.

I’ve been struggling with the tone on Jezebel lately, between posts like this and those focusing on Nadya Suleman, there’s been a whole lot of judging going on among commenters and sometimes even the editors.

I can deal with sound judgements, but mindless judging rubs me the wrong way.


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21 Responses to “There’s Judging, And There’s JUDGING”

  1. Claudia (Bluebears) Says:

    You know, honestly, I didn’t like the tone in the original post today not to mention some of the comments.

  2. Melissa (Athertonmerriweather) Says:

    I haven’t liked the tone on Jez lately either. They’ve been very harsh towards commenters who girl-on-girl hate, but have no problem doing it to women who don’t live up to what they think is the ideal woman.

  3. Dione (TakeADeepBreath) Says:

    I usually lurk in the shadows and try not to comment much on Jezebel, but I read pretty much everything and notice a lot. There is an incredible amount of hypocrisy on the site. And there are a select group of people (Jennifer Aniston, Beyonce, Ann Curry) who get ripped on everytime their name comes up in a post, and its ok. Whatever tone the editor has in the post is 9 times out of 10 the tone that the comments will follow.

    And dont even think about disagreeing with them…

  4. thingsiadore Says:

    I have felt for a while now that Jezebel paints itself as a site that supports and celebrates women when really I think it is more that Jezebel supports and celebrates the women who write for that site and other women who most closely resemble themselves. I won’t argue that it can be difficult to think beyond one’s own experience and personal knowledge and try to understand other women’s lives and choices in a nonjudgmental way, but it seems that lately, Jezebel has kind of stopped trying to do this altogether. The comments can get really ugly sometimes, for which I’m inclined to point to the tone of the original post. I don’t know, it just seems that more and more often Jezebel writers are putting in a line or two about how “of course woman x is allowed to live her life however she chooses” as some sort of allowance for then judging the hell out of women. Lately, the site seems to too often simply issues that are far more complex and really require more insight than just, “this woman is wrong/crazy/anti-feminist/a fame whore/etc.”

  5. Blondegrlz Says:

    I skipped that post. I’ve become quite a skipper recently. My view of Nadya Suleman are well documented and include nothing I wouldn’t be ashamed to say out loud to a stranger. I think sometimes the internet allows for the kind of anonymous, pile-on judgment that people may not even believe in real life but find easy to spout as comments.

  6. katieb (in charge of the war on the poor) Says:

    Blondegrlz, I’m a skipper to and I rationalize that less clicks on a post equals less money for the site and hopefully less posts of that nature and I’m aware that it doesn’t really work that way, but what else are you gonna do? My crappy work day used to revolve around what was posted on Jez, but I find myself there less and less these days.

  7. Susan Says:

    as i’ve said before and obviously how i found your blog was through jez. i’ve always been a lurker but have always read just about everything. as others have stated i have done a LOT of skipping lately. the comments have gotten very judgmental lately but i have to echo thingsiadore’s words here. the editors have been super super judgmental and hypocritical as of late.
    i’ve been really frustrated with the quality of the writing as well, but i digress.

    on another note, i’ve been pretty disappointed for awhile with jezebel during the week…but how do you guys feel about weekend jez? i think it’s closer to the days of yore and generally better than the content of the rest of the week.

  8. Claudia (Bluebears) Says:

    Susan: oh I think Hortense is awesome, unfortch I’m not trapped in front of a computer all weekend so I tend to actually speak with humans :)

  9. pennyplastic Says:

    Me too Claudia, I’ve never been a weekend Jezebeler.

    I also want to clarify that my intent was not to totally slam Jez. Obviously I still enjoy it and I comment. I hate to sound like I am biting the hand that has fed me such wonderful readership to this blog, but I suppose I am just a little disappointed as of late.

  10. Kivrin Says:

    Don’t have much to add except that I agree — lots of love for Jez, but I have been disappointed of late. Some of the things that brought me to the site in the first place — e.g., the fun Friday afternoon YA book discussions — have gone away, and that sucks. But on the other hand, I’ve found people and blogs like yours, so for that, I’m truly grateful to Jez. And I’ll keep visiting, but I definitely skip more posts nowadays…

  11. Melissa (AthertonMerriweather) Says:

    I don’t think you slammed Jez at all Penny. You’re simply stating your dissappointment as of late. As you can see from the comments here, we agree. I can’t imagine the time and effort it takes to put a site like Jez together everyday and I imagine the editors get burnt out sometimes. We don’t know what goes on behind the scenes there and with all the cuts Denton has made, I’m sure there’s some drama that may be carrying into the tone of the site as of late. Like Susan said, Hortense rocks the weekends and I’m grateful to be able to read her posts when I’m stuck at work on a Saturday and alot of the old commenters are there so it feels like old times. Now I’m babbling, I just wanted to say I didn’t see this as a slam on Jez, just your frustration on the content.

  12. Sukie Says:

    I used to be a habitual commenter on Jez but then limited myself to one comment a day and reading only a few posts that really meant something to me. But now, I am just completely disinterested. The air in the room has changed so to speak.

    And the day a writer decided to use drunk sorority girls as a comparison point, I was done. A reasonable discussion on the differences between American Girl and Barbie was lost to bickering over whose doll was better. Mine, not yours, etc…

    That was the day I stopped commenting. And stopped caring.

    Thankfully, I found many wonderful people who I can communicate with outside of Jez and really get to know. :) Everything ebbs and flows after all.

  13. Mia Says:

    Just echoing the above comments that basically I, too, feel the tone has changed over at Jezebel somewhat, and I find myself checking it less and less often, and skipping more posts when I do. Lately I’ve just been reading Dirt Bag, and even that can get annoying with the ‘holier than thou’ attitude that comes across in many of the editors remarks. Also, how could they get rid of Pot Psychology?

    In all sincerity, I often find myself coming here rather than going to Jez, I much prefer your topics and tone to theirs any day.

  14. allisonwrote Says:

    What on EARTH is going on at Jezebel? That was awful, the videogame thread was VILE, AND the worstie was a mere criticism of CNN? I’m so disappointed.


  15. Erinjb Says:

    I’ve noticed lately about the extra snarky attitude. I’ve sort of attributed it to a smaller staff and more demands on the editors as far as production. The thing I dislike about this post in particular is that it became more of a class war issue than further addressing the initial vernacular issue. And frankly, I didn’t think it was such a horrible thing to refer to the nannies as “girls” to begin with. It is a very common verbal quirk.

    Also, Mia, A second to the lack of pot Psych.

  16. John (aspex) Says:

    The original discussion, the “girls” is far more about classism than judging women for choices about offspring. But most people ignore the classist argument as apparently it’s ‘uncool’ to call someone a rich bastard.

    I’m all for it. Though I do hope one day to be a rich bastard myself, I’ll happily accept other people calling me as such. As right now, I’m a poor bastard, but as long as I’m still a bastard, I may as well be rich.

  17. Claudia (Bluebears) Says:

    Yeah, I wasn’t trying to bash Jezebel either, it’s still easily my favorite website, but there are a lot of features I miss (which I know is due to budget cuts) and sometimes I find the editorial staff to be a bit…hypocritical? But I still enjoy commenting, before Jez I was on the chat boards and Jezebel is still WAY better. :)

  18. Erin (Jejune) Says:

    Gosh, I really thought I was the only one. Then again, I only skim comments lately, just because it’s getting so depressing. I could be reading past the voices of dissent. For the life of me, I cannot figure out why it’s okay to be so judgmental, or why girl-on-girl crime is okay if it’s Paris Hilton.

    Another big problem topic is the Caylee Anthony homicide, where apparently it’s okay to declare that you want a woman (who has not been found guilty yet!) to die a horrible death. Those comments really turn my stomach – nearly as much as the case itself does.

    I love your blog, Penny, and I apologize for my novel-length comment. You’re not biting the hand that gives you pageviews, at least when it comes to me.

  19. HanaMaru Says:

    I thought the editorial tone of that post was incredibly judgmental, esp. coming from a childless woman. I mean, Megan was the first one to suggest she shouldn’t have had all those kids. So, I wasn’t surprised that it was open season on Laura Bennett for so many folks. The editors set the tone; they wouldn’t be calling commenters out as much for girl-on-girl crime if they didn’t. That’s why Weekend Jezebel is so great, though I tend to be on the computer less during that time.

    About biting the hand that brings you readers, so to speak: My favorite thing about Jezebel is the community of (mostly)women. We are a big part of what makes Jezebel the way it is. Penny, you were one of the first people that I took notice of as someone who was interesting and thoughtful, that I wanted to follow. The editors are capricious and usually lash out when they’re criticized. I think even they would agree with that. This is your own blog and you don’t have to walk on eggshells about that here.

  20. Stella Says:

    I’m glad you brought this up, it’s really been bothering me. Rosasparks sums it up nicely. I’m so tired of all the judging that has been going on lately, both on Jez but also among my friends. Many friends have posted links on FB about Nadya Suleman, and about the woman in Canada that gave birth at 60. A lot seem to be focused on how the tax payers have to support the children, and it really pisses me off, since as tax payers we support each other. I might not agree with their choices but it’s not mine to judge. Another friend of mine had twins recently and she gets asked by strangers if they are “real” twins or if they were the result of fertility drugs. It’s nobodies business! ACK! The mother judging really pisses me off. I’m not a mom, but I hope to be a mom and if when I do become one I don’t want to have to justify my parenting choices to anyone. I think that Kelly Osborne summed it up nicely when she said “My vagina, my business”

  21. HanaMaru Says:

    Stella-wow, at the rude questions your friend has gotten! Our bodies are still considered the property of others-of our husbands and boyfriends, doctors, lawmakers, bystanders with opinions, in a way that men’s are just not. This seems to be way worse for pregnant women and mothers. I like your attitude about it. Such a tiny fraction of our national budget is spent on helping people, anyway, yet that’s what folks complain about.

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