Lindy, on internet feminist, commenters, Gawker Media, and other things:
on GM in particular:
How do we combat the garbage?
It’s a tough question, and I don’t want to make a big declarative statement because I don’t know. Nick Denton, who runs Gawker, is very enthused about the idea of investing in commenters. So now if you want to comment on Gawker Media, you can make your own blog that’s hosted by Gawker and you can post your own content, and if the content gets attention, it can get pulled by the editors onto one of the main blogs. For example, someone made their commenter handle at Gawker “LindyWestLicksMyAsshole.” So that person had a blog, hosted by Gawker, called lindywestlicksmyasshole.kinja.com. I was like, “Can we not have this?” and Gawker was like, “No, that would be against the ethos of investing in commenters and free speech.” If I was working at Walgreens and they had an aisle called “Lindy West Licks My Asshole,” it would be a problem. I brought it up over and over again, but they said it didn’t violate their policy because it wasn’t racist or homophobic or gendered harassment. I said it’s sexualizing me for the purpose of making me uncomfortable, and reminding me that I’m a sex thing and not a human being. One person in management took my side and really went to bat for me, and it got taken down, sort of — they changed that commenter’s handle to a bunch of zeros or something. But they wouldn’t delete the account.
As a caveat, I also had wonderful experiences there with managers and coworkers, but there wasn’t any notion of investing in my safety, or my ability to work there and feel supported. This was also happening around the same time as the whole thing where we were inundated with rape GIFs and had to basically call out the company publicly to get anyone to do anything about it.