Jillian C. York

Jillian C. York is a writer and activist.

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On Buzzfeed and misogyny

It seems like only yesterday that, at least in my friend circles, mocking Buzzfeed was a spectator sport. Then came writers (several of whom I count as friends) like Hayes Brown and Tom Gara, Sara Yasin and Jina Moore and Sheera Frankel, and I could no longer ignore their news section. And many of their pieces were really really good, at times better than the New York Times‘ coverage of a same issue.

As Fast Company makes clear, Buzzfeed is here to stay. The publication is read by 79 million people every month, a number that seems to be constantly growing. So here’s my question: Why does Buzzfeed need to trade in misogyny?

Amidst the investigative pieces and breaking news, the listicles of cats and the reporting on celebrities are countless pieces aimed against women. I don’t mean Buzzfeed “community” pieces, those unedited pieces of drivel written by unpaid writers (let’s question that another day), but rather pieces like this one, written by fully-paid Buzzfeed staffers. And no, I don’t care that the authors are women.

I’m not talking about the articles on picking a wedding dress, or how to do one’s eye makeup, or whatever. I might find articles like that to be unbefitting of a serious news publication, but hey Buzzfeed, you do you. No, I’m talking about pieces like this and this. For a publication that otherwise does an excellent job of covering real women’s issues, and has its own international women’s rights correspondent (Jina Moore) and has some of the best user data of any news publication, this is simply unacceptable. For a news publication that is getting so much else right, it’s amazing that they could get this so wrong.

I am a migrant, but.

I am a migrant amongst migrants but

I don’t have to beg


or prove myself

I don’t have to

stand in the cold

waiting with hope

for someone to let me pass


I am a migrant but

I walked right in

blue passport in hand

while they welcomed me with nothing more than

a look and a reminder to pay my taxes


I am a migrant but

no one questions whether

I should be here or

can assimilate or

find a job or

become one of them


I am a migrant but

when I walk down the street

surrounded by my countrymen

heads covered from the cold

no one spits or says

we don’t belong here


I am a migrant but

when the borders tighten

I am not who politicians say

we are protecting ourselves from

I will not inspire policies

meant to keep the other people who look vaguely like me safe

and the ones who don’t, out


I am a migrant but

by total chance of birth

I will never have to argue

why I deserve to live.


On “Memories”

One nifty effect of Facebook’s “Memories” feature is that, because I’ve posted a lot about news and issues related to my work over the years, I can see what was happening in a given week over the past ten(!!) or so years that I’ve had a Facebook account. Of course, this is ultimately depressing, because things aren’t really getting better. Here’s a picture of this week over the past few years:

Other weeks have looked fairly similar. What I’m struck by most is how little changes, how the rhetoric of both sides of each issue remains about the same, or worsens. On so many indicators, the world is getting better, but from where I sit, it certainly doesn’t feel that way.

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