The Internet is a wasteland — or, if you’re feeling more glass-half-full, a haven — for trolling, pandering, and self-aggrandizing, whether it be in innovative or particularly reductive ways. Every day there’s at least one or two obnoxious things that is deserving of our hate-click, and our temporary outrage only brings the unnecessary attention to such ridiculata. Yet we can’t help ourselves from promoting it, now can we? Join us in our rage, for each week we nominate the worst Internet-based events of the previous five days, and determine which of the nominees is, in fact, The Worst. This week proves to be a pretty awful one for women in college.
Amid all of the social-media outrage and angry think-pieces surrounding the newest edition of literature explaining how ladies need to stop getting so drunk all the time if they don’t want to be sexually assaulted, I imagine Emily Yoffe’s daughter is rolling her eyes and saying, “Well, now you all know what I have to deal with every fucking day!” Her daughter, a high-school senior, seems to be the impetus behind Yoffe’s too-long essay reminding us all (again) that women drink too much, and that they should maybe not get blackout drunk because that just makes it easier for them to be the victims of rape. Sure, there are a lot of somewhat self-aware mentions of “victim-blaming,” namely Yoffe asserting that she’s not blaming the female victims of rape at all. But, you know, she still is, because in Yoffe’s world, college-aged men are roaming around campus giving alcohol to young women for the specific intention of raping them. And yes, that happens, but perhaps the mindset that rape is inevitable is also as damaging as the notion that drunk women got what they asked for. Meanwhile, I doubt that the real problem is with sexual assault victims not already blaming themselves or thinking about what they could have done differently. If I have learned anything from rape culture, it’s that a lot of women already find themselves at fault! And, you know, no one is really writing these supposed hard-hitting pieces with arguments like, “Hey, dudes, don’t rape women?” Anyway, this is why our moms don’t have blogs, thank Goddddd. How embarrassing would that be?
Speaking of drunk women in college, Ole Miss student Shelby Herring proves that there’s a new epidemic affecting co-eds who love binge-drinking: they’re likely to be stopped by a man with a microphone and a camera crew, who will let them chat about nonsense on camera, because drunk people are funny. And then it will be uploaded onto the Internet, and everyone will make fun of these women, as if these millions of viewers have never done anything incredibly embarrassing after consuming a lot of alcohol. Between this and Emily Yoffe’s piece, which makes reference to a proposal to lower the drinking age to make drinking less “alluring” because it’s not forbidden, it’s a bad week for shaming the underage for wanting to get drunk. I love the idea that when one turns 21, drinking is no longer a problem. Please. I have seen enough people in Brooklyn Bridge Park passed out and clutching their empty bottles of rosé, and just this week I saw two adults slumped over in their own vomit on the Lower East Side. And I consider myself personally responsible for the fact that the City of Chicago instituted a fine for “vomit cleanup” in cabs. Sure, everyone gets messy-drunk sometimes, but there’s no reason to blame them for being the victims of sexual assault or public embarrassment — not equally traumatic events, by the way — simply because they should have known better. (Emily Yoffe, by the way, should have known better!)
I’ve railed against Thought Catalog for years now, and it got to the point where I was actively going to site to find some new piece (or pieces) of written garbage to skewer. Then I weaned myself off that hateful addiction, and now I only see it when people are compelled to hate-share links on Facebook, which means the content must be really bad. Remember the good old days (like, a year ago), when Butt Catalog only ran stories about how hard it is for one to be in his or hear 20s? Well, I guess those writers grew up and the editors picked up some wayward youths hanging out at Port Authority, promising them payment for their writing, or at the very least Internet fame. What 22-year-old could turn that down? I imagine that happened to Rachael [sic] Sacks, whose first piece for the site was a charming essay about how she’s a “chronic masturbator,” which, sure, you are certainly very special. I mean, who in the world likes to masturbate?! It really blew the lid off of something. But that pales in comparison to yesterday’s offering, a poorly written rant about how hard it is to be a rich college student in New York City. “I am sorry that I was born into great financial circumstances and my father likes to provide for me,” goes a sample line. (I have a feeling she’s probably not sorry, though.)
THE VERDICT: It’s been a hard week for women in college, and it’s not even Fall Break yet. I’m giving a pass to poor Shelby Herring, because to perpetuate any more embarrassment on her behalf would be VICTIM BLAMING, as far as I’m concerned. So that leaves us with Emily Yoffe, concerned mother instructing her daughter to only have two drinks at the most (white wine, probably), because otherwise she will get raped, and won’t she feel so sad about that? (She absolutely loses any favor from me by writing, “If I had a son, I would tell him that it’s in his self-interest not to be the drunken frat boy who finds himself accused of raping a drunken classmate.” Yes, that would be quite the shame for him.) Despite her regressive thinking, Yoffe has some good intentions, I suppose. So that leaves us with the young Rachael Sacks. A word of advice: one day you will regret everything you did as a lazy provocateur in your early 20s, especially if you wish to fully achieve your dream of being a working writer. People have a short memory, but Google doesn’t, and a byline lasts forever. This should be a reminder that not all of our thoughts are worthy of cataloging.