The Ladies Wax On about Waxing Off

Slash fiction... geddit?

Slash fiction... geddit?

This week’s Waxing Off topic at Deadspin was… disturbing. And gross. And demeaning to the women asked to write about it. If you didn’t read it, here’s the email sent to the women asked to contribute:

Michael Phelps Slash Fiction.
The inspiration for this comes from two sources. First, this post, which is pure nightmare fuel. Then there’s this, about how Phelps is being pursued by Lindsay Lohan (equally terrifying). We’d like to follow things to their logical conclusion, and figure that you guys would be the best to do that. Make it read like an excerpt from a steamy, filthy book. Put Michael Phelps in the situation of your choosing … male on male, male on female, Phelps on llama … the aristocrats! Nothing is too over-the-top or depraved; it’s slash fiction. Let ‘er rip. Keep to 250-350 words, if possible. And don’t forget the short graph at the end about yourself, where you can plug your site and/or projects if you wish.

Here are our collected reactions to this request:

Games Mistress
A commenter on last week’s Waxing Off objected to what they called the “blogging ghetto” aspect of the feature. At the time the objection seemed to arise mostly from the topic choice (as if women writers were supposed to know about women’s gymnastics just because it’s a “girly” sport); because the topic was in fact, timely, I didn’t particularly agree with this sentiment. As soon as Metschick shared this week’s assignment, however, that comment was the first thing I thought of.

My objection is not to the actual request to write slash porn. My objection is not that female bloggers were given this assignment (though I do think it would have made a more interesting post if male writers were also given a crack at it). My objection is that in only the third week of a feature that purports to give women a chance to “discuss issues of the day” (a direct quote from the Waxing Off intro), the assignment has nothing to do with opinion and everything to do with titillation. Presenting this topic in this forum says “we don’t care what the girls actually think, we just want them to write porn for our amusement.” And that does make Waxing Off seem less women’s roundtable and more blogging ghetto.

Mistress Christina
I’m doing my best to restrain myself here, so take what I’m about to say and multiply my sentiment times about 40, and that’s where I’m really at. I think that slash-fiction is gross. I mean it is PORN, for the most part. But it’s written porn about REAL people. People who didn’t ask it to be written about them. People who don’t know you wrote it. Someone is taking their private and sometimes totally icky fantasy about another human and putting it online. The Drew Brothers? Pretty sure they’d be horrified to read that story about them in full. However, in most situations, a celebrity or public figure would probably have to google their names and slash fiction in order to find these stories that people (IMO, weirdos) write about them. But why make them work that hard?

How bout we get one of the biggest sports blogs in the world to get it’s newly introduced all FEMALE column to write pervy stories about one of America’s newest sports gods. They can put in on the main page, where Michael Phelps, his agent, his mother, his teammates, normal people everywhere can stumble upon it while trying to look up amusing sports news stories. This is not hidden on some creepy person’s livejournal or personal site where their weirdness is for themselves and a most-likely small group of readers. Now, these ladies who have only recently been allotted a spot on Deadspin, can write porn for the whole freaking blogoshere to read! God forbid we give them real sports topics to write about, let’s toss these ladies credibility in the toilet a mere 3 weeks in and turn them into porn authors! I applaud Clare for refusing to join in. I question the other ladies for their choice to actually complete this task.

Lady Andrea
Would AJ or Rick ask their male contributors to write porn stories for Deadspin? Somehow I don’t think they would. Two of the three Waxing Off topics have been sexual in nature and the other one was about a female sport that people only care about once every four years. When are they going to let these women out of the box and give them something actually, ya know, sports-related to write about?

It’s really neat that, per an email exchange, Will Leitch agreed with me a couple months ago that it’d be nice to read some female voices on Deadspin and then the way that came to fruition after he left was ONE weekend editor and a weekly column that so far has been about sex in public places, women’s gymnastics and writing Michael Phelps porn. Awesome. Maybe next week they can ask the Waxing Off women to dress in slutty football jerseys and read fantasy football advice from cue cards, then video tape it and put it on the site. That’s the ticket.

Metschick
When I got the first Waxing Off email, I was ecstatic! Imagine – my musings up on Deadspin. What’s not to love? I didn’t think anything of the first topic, sex at the ballpark, nor of the second one, women’s gymnastics. Not even when someone on Deadspin said it’s sexist that they’ve “ghetto-ized” the female writers. I thought nothing of it; instead, I relished in the fact that smart, female writers had been asked to contribute to one of the leading sports blogs out there. But my joy turned to dismay when I saw this week’s topic: writing Michael Phelps slash fiction. Perhaps I’m too sensitive, but what?! You want us to basically write porn? This is the Deadspin I know and love. I’m not going to start the “back in my day, Deadspin was blah, blah, blah” stuff. Rather, I just wanted to express my consternation with the direction DS has been heading in.

Miss Minda
It’s pretty obvious that nobody *wanted* to write about this week’s topic. There was no way to win – if they had gotten into the assignment and written livejournalesque slashfic, the commenters would tear them apart for being so gross and horse-obsessed. (What?) But I can imagine that it’s hard to say ‘no’ to Deadspin; who wouldn’t want that kind of recognition and traffic? Then again, who wants their big traffic spike to be from Michael Phelps slashfic? It’s a, erm, sticky situation in which none of the bloggers could fully win, except Clare and Metschick who saved themselves the grossness, each in her own way. Can’t wait to see what topic lady bloggers are stuck with next week. I propose one that has barely been touched so far in Waxing Off: SPORTS.

Chitown Chick
A friend of mine, who I know from the world of collegiate wrestling, asked me where I was going to watch a particular UFC fight. I said that he and his friends were welcome to come watch it at my place, and if they gave me enough notice, I would bake for them. He was astonished that I liked baking. This is my problem with the slash fiction assignment, and Waxing Off in general: pigeonholing. Just because we are women and we write on this site about the hotness of men, that doesn’t mean we are incapable of writing about other topics. If you look at the sidebar of Ladies…, you will see that we are quite capable of writing on myriad subjects. Thinking that we should write about Michael Phelps as a sex object just because we’re women completely underestimates us, not to mention wastes our talents. And for the record, I make really good brownies.

Cinnamon Girl
“I’m with Clare.”

Dame of Extra Time
Clare’s response pretty much sums up my thoughts on this and the Amanda Beard issue. Slash is best left in the hands of Livejournal, anyway.

SA
Genuine question for Rick and/or AJ-who came up for the topic last week? And what made them come up with that topic? I want to know the thinking going into this. Did the two of them assume that because the writers are women they automatically would be able to write slash fiction? That they would want to write slash fiction? That they write slash fiction now about Christian Bale or some other actor so it would be nothing to write another story? Because honestly, I find it insulting that this week’s topic was Michael Phelps slash fiction. I think some people forget how big of a blog Deadspin is. That last sentence Skeets said at the end of the mock “Costas Now” vid, “10 million hits motherfuckers” speakers truer than some realize. That’s a lot of people reading what they write. And what if one of those people so happen to be a boss or interviewer? How are they then suppose to explain that to boss and/or interviewer? Just because they blog for a living doesn’t mean everyone else does as well.

89 thoughts on “The Ladies Wax On about Waxing Off

  1. Well said, Ladies…

    In general, I’ve been pretty disappointed with the feature itself (not necessarily the writing) as, if not demeaning, at least condescending. How about a football season preview? Thoughts on the MLB playoffs? Anything other than asking you all to write about sex just because you’re (gasp!) girls.

  2. I just wanted to note that I didn’t think these ladies went too far with the topic. I think it was gross that it was even suggested to them and that fact that they COULD have taken it too far, and that Michael Phelps or people that really know him could have stumbled upon it on a major sports blog. That’s not okay. And it’s not okay that DS editors suggested it as a topic.

  3. I would’ve said more if I wasn’t so utterly bored of this. Why not just bring on a few ladies as regular contributors?

    Holly – That point-counterpoint post is probably one of my favourite Ladies… posts.

  4. I stopped reading Deadspin sometime last week, and this is just more proof that it was the right decision. Personally, I feel all slash (real person or otherwise) should be kept out of the public eye. And, well Deadspin? Way to fail. Maybe they don’t understand that people who write such things don’t want the rest of the world to know, or maybe Deadspin just doesn’t care. Sadly, I kind of believe it’s the latter. But what’s worse is the fact that they asked people to write it — without knowing beforehand if this was even something they wanted to do. I don’t know what world Deadspin lives in, but it’s not the same one as me.

  5. Sorry I couldn’t get mine in on time!

    Briefly: Christina, “slash” doesn’t mean real people porn; it means male/male relationships or sex in fiction. RPS, real person slash, is what we’re talking about here. (Don’t look at me like that! I’ve been reading fandom_wank for years. I have your average internet outsider’s view of the subject.)

    I commiserated with you Ladies earlier about this, and I agree with essentially everything said here, so let me just quote myself from our email thread:

    Wanda, Minda, Andie – clearly, since we’re girls, these are the kinds of things we think about! What ELSE could we possibly write about in any entertaining or quality kind of way? Of course we’re wrong to be offended. Now get back in the kitchen before the roast burns.

  6. Face it ladies, until a woman can win the Heisman or the Stanley Cup or sport her own Superbowl Ring, we’ll be relegated to this. Maybe you should offer to have them write for y’all and ask their opinions on what cream rinse Phelps should use, or if Viagra should be banned because it “enhances performance.”

    Personally I’m waiting for your pre-season NFL write up. My Chargers look pretty good this year…

    Slightly off tangent: Slash fic means same sex relationship fic (m/m, f/f, or l/l in the case of Deadspin). Slash fic doesn’t have to be pornography. The biggest problem people have with slash fic is not that it’s gross but that it is just bad writing (a moajority of it by women). There is good slash fic (and good fan fic for that matter) out there. On the other hand, Real Person fic can be more illegal than copywright infringement, like say libel, slander, defamation of character… Maybe that’s what Deadspin’s after?

  7. Aya – I was actually reading something interesting about that yesterday, reading about the kerfuffle surrounding Cassandra Claire’s Harry Potter fanfiction (which was epic, not-slash, not-porn, and not-actually-that-great). She directly plaigarized from non-Harry-Potter novels, and that was actionable; but lawyers consulted about the whole thing have said that fanfiction, in and of itself, is not. RPF, in turn, is apparently covered under the parody and fair use laws.

    Basketbawful’s outing of the NBA slash, and the links I followed and wandered around from therein, have taught me one thing related to this. Apparently, only one fanfiction writer in sports RPF has ever been contacted by lawyers because of a story: in which a girl bearing remarkable similarities to its author does drugs and has sex with Andy Pettite. And what got their attention was not the sex, not the fictionalization, but the drug use. This was five or six years ago; given what we know about Mr. Pettite now, that may have struck a nerve. All they did was issue a C&D, though, as far as I know.

  8. @ La: Thanks for the clarification. I obv dont read that crap so I’m not down with the lingo (and it appears neither is DS based on their email, as they didn’t care whether is was m/m or m/f or m/llama). But what I have a problem with is the Real Person porn fiction whatever and I think that is what Deadspin was after. Romance novel, porn style sexual scenario involving a real person. I think that is wrong.

  9. Also, all the slash (fictional characters and real people) that I’ve seen has been disclaimered all to hell about how everything’s fictional and no one claims any rights to anything, basically. I think that story you’re talking about wasn’t disclaimed, which may have been a part of the problem. I have no idea how far those sort of disclaimers would hold up in court, but everything I’ve seen has made it abundantly clear that the stories are all made up.

  10. Hell, four of us Ladies are lawyers or lawyers-in-training – I wonder what their opinion is on its legality? This has made me honestly curious.

  11. I graduated law school in May, but I never took Intellectual Property, so I haven’t the slightest. What I’ve read seems to suggest that RPF is on better legal footing than, say, Harry Potter stories, but as far as I know, there’s never been a case testing the legality of either.

  12. I think there’s been some problems with people who write about college athletes, I haven’t heard anything other than the Andy Pettite debacle when it comes to the pros, though. Most writers keep a low profile, and as Amanda said, they use disclaimers on pretty much everything. Plus, there’s the whole idea that it’s writing for fun and not profit.

  13. No one has had hot monkey sex with Michael Phelps in her mind more than me, but even *I* thought, “Dang. That’s icky. Hope his mom doesn’t read this.” OR MY MIND.

  14. Anyone who reads this site knows you all are about more than just gawking at hot guys. You’re a group of talented writers who know your shit about sports and I was truly excited that Deadspin was finally acknowledging that.

    I’ve been bitterly disappointed with the “Waxing Off” segment of Deadspin – and it has nothing to do with the writing. Given how many women read (and were commenters long before the gates were open to everyone), I’m really disappointed that AJ & Rick (there’s a Simon & Simon-themed slash fic in there somewhere) haven’t been able to come up with anything worthy of your talents.

  15. …but good for any of the Ladies who declined the opportunity. Remember this in your legal career, too: as a professional, you don’t have to do something just because your client asks for it.

    Keep writing about sports; soon you’ll only have time to write about torts. Enjoy this while it lasts and don’t do something you’ll regret. As a hiring partner in Biglaw, I’ll tell you that we do indeed do Internet searches.

  16. Ladies…Kudos. I skipped the article because I wasn’t interested in the topic, but I applaud your continued fight of the good fight, whatever it form it may take.

  17. I have to agree. I was recently asked to join this roundtable (just before this was published), and after reading the responses and comments, I felt I had to make a pitch to the creators and administrators of Waxing Off. The concept is great… the result leaves some women insulted, some men thinking this is female sports-journalism… and that can’t be right.

    From what I have seen Waxing Off is less about women’s viewpoints on professional sports and more a matter of what men think women like and understand about sports… no offense to those who have put it together, but that’s how it’s come across. Unfortunately it seems Waxing Off has already made some of the women involved feel like the topics are pandering to the wrong/misunderstood demographics, and have possibly even offended the authors themselves.

    I write hockey articles, though my background is in academics. I do occasionally write editorials, opinion, and humour, but in sport I often focus on reporting and analysis. The time I spend working on or with various hockey websites or applications is used to continually improve and expand such media and add credibility to such widely-used yet poorly cited resources. While I am known as a joker in real-life, I take my writing and studying very seriously. My pen-name is gender-neutral, because if readers genuinely appreciate the work and info it shouldn’t matter who has written it… but it often does. I can give a ‘female point-of-view’ relating to many aspects of sport as a whole, or even life in general, but I do it in order to enlighten, not as a simple novelty.

    Perhaps if participants had a better idea of what the actual ‘mission statement’ is for this project, or had some topic control. That or the description of Waxing Off needs to be honest about what it is… women writing sports-related commentary and creative articles, not seriously discussing the real “issues of the day” or contributing a knowledgeable female perspective/voice to the larger sports world. I understand that many people don’t like the idea of women in sports… some of those female personalities drive me crazy for the same reasons they drive men nuts. But if females are relegated to this type of thing without having a proper chance to show what they know, of course women will never be taken seriously in sports!

    That said, good job to everyone who has participated; for working hard, putting yourself out there, doing good work, and saying what needed to be said about these topics. Way to go!

  18. (1) eww. Hope you all stand up for yourselves and give DS a good kick in the nuts. I reserve the right to leer at Amanda Beard, but c’mon… they’ve turned what should have been interesting into a total caricature of all that is wrong with sex, sports, and the intarwebs.

    (2) (Also a lawyer in training, with a strong interest in IP. Let me geek out for a moment.) RPF is probably legal at the federal level. All personal identity law is at the state level, and hence a mess, but I’m sure this is illegal in at least some state (most likely CA, which has strict laws on the subject since it is the home of so many celebritards.) Slash about fictional characters is a whole ‘nother ball of wax, and is almost certainly a copyright violation under federal copyright law, pursuant to Castle Rock. (Whether or not it should be illegal is a different question; my sense is that slash is probably transformative use per Leval and hence should be legal even though it isn’t.)

  19. “Would AJ or Rick ask their male contributors to write porn stories for Deadspin? ”

    Unfortunately, the answer to that is no, but not because it wouldn’t get responses. Rather, it would get too many responses from readers writing about Jenny Finch, Amanda Bear, etc. This, unfortunately, is the nature of the Deadspin-turning-into-Maxim movement.

  20. Good for you, Ladies…the Phelps Waxing off was just one of many I’ve skipped over the last few weeks. I agree with SignaltoNoise–let the guest writers pick the topic.

  21. I found the whole thing a bit condescending really. Did they really think that intelligent female sportswriters would really be interested in such an “assignment”? Honestly, if we women were that interested in porn, don’t you think there’d be hotter guys in straight porn? (seriously, Ron Jeremy, ugh! I wouldn’t do him with a rented vagina!) It is sports blog and you should be asked to write about sports, not demeaning, frivilous, barely sports-related fluff.

    Although I have to say I was amused how the commenters all cried out in horror, etc. because it was homosexual in nature. Hello?! That’s what was asked for!

  22. Pingback: Deadspin & Waxing Off :

  23. Let me preface this by saying that, of course, all you ladies know your stuff. But sports fans get their analysis in places other than Deadspin and its buddy sites.

    You have to be honest with yourselves. When you write about guys abs and butts and Sunday Morning Hate Sex, guys think, here’s a down girl, she can be just as nasty as we are.

    They want you to write about sex because everything on Deadspin and other sports/entertainment blogs revolves around sex. The majority of their readers are men and those men think about sex constantly. It’s not so much that they think that’s all you can write.

    And, since when has sex become yucky or a topic that you’re not taken seriously if you write about? Just about every magazine and online issue-driven blog has a woman (and sometimes a man) writing about sex.

    Also, I really thought it was obvious that these were parody. I side with you in the real-people aspect being uncomfortable, and I also salute the Ladies who didn’t write it, thereby taking the high road. I just think the level of offense in this post is too high. It gives guys too much credit – trust me, they didn’t think all too hard about this. They just thought the topic was outrageous. And isn’t that what sells?

  24. What Kristin says.

    Also, I have a problem with the lionizing of Msr Leitch, as though he is some paragon of… if not prudery, then decency. I do recall he is the one who brought our attention to Carl Monday: Library Voyeur. Among other notches.

    Plus, did no one read the roast of Will Leitch & catch his first NYC flatmates critiquing his housekeeping & the litter-box at the foot of the bed (to which he brought various ladies (note: lower-case, to differentiate from this blog, even as the bedspread hung over feline feces)?

    Honestly, Deadspin, to me, hasn’t gotten anymore vulgar. It may be more lurid, but we should have known that, going in, from AJD’s stints as fill-in ed. (when Leith &/or Chandler were on vacation) & his Oddsmaker pieces. It is still good writing, sometimes — especially on the weekends (love the last three weekends of coverage) — & highly entertaining, a lot of times. Even Weintraub (who has yet to re-emerge, following his kiss-off).

    So, buck up… Stop reading DS if you must, various Ladies… emeritae; hold Chandler’s feet to the fire, to which you would have never held Will’s (& I have theories as to why this is, not all relating to WL being an innocent from Mattoon, thrust into the big city, almost against his will, just trying to find his way (cue: “Welcome to the Jungle”)), if you wish; but know that your vision is clouded. & don’t shoot back that you are being pragmatic, picking your spots to critique, because it all seems more scattershot than pinpoint precision.

    & congratulations to the Fuck Lion on making the Hall of Fame!

  25. Dear Kristin, Stu, et al: there’s a difference between posts about sports that mention sex and posts about sex that mention sports. There’s also such a thing as context. When there are three “girl” posts, and two of their pre-stated topics are explicitly regarding sex, then it’s not about sports anymore; it’s about what girls are good for.

    Fuck, I’m a teenager, sex is a big part of my life. But, and this is important here: it’s not all I’m good for. And that’s what this meandering-by-nature post is about: we don’t mind vulgarity, or sex, dirty jokes, or any kind of oh-so-shocking what-have-you. What we mind is being pigeonholed, ghettoized, whatever word you want to use, by virtue not only of gender but of sex.

    And that’s the kind of misogyny, or whatever word you want to use, that bothers me personally the most about Deadspin and other sports sites: the kind that’s not actively malicious, but rather propogates this idea of female-ness as one grounded firmly in the ideal of sexiness and feminine sexuality. And, I hate to break it to you, but: WE ARE MORE THAN OUR SEX. In every sense of the word. In fact, I don’t think that’s shocking enough for the collective sensibilities, so here:

    WE ARE MORE THAN OUR VAGINAS.

    I’m assuming you all understand that. In fact, I’m sure you do. It’s important to realize, however, that that’s the kind of thing propogated (intentionally or not), subtly (or not), by Deadspin and innumerable other sports sites; that women only appear on the site in terms of sex, whether in sex scandals or as objects of attraction, not ever as athletes or writers*. And that’s what personally bothers me: that the one time women are spotlighted on the site, it’s inevitably about sex. Not gender, sex. The women I know, the women sports fans that I know, have more in and on their minds than that. They are, after all, people, not vaginas on legs.

    *Schorno notwithstanding. She did a great job, that one time.

  26. SJ: Duh. We get that part. What bothers us is, why are they asking this of female sports bloggers, rather than, say, the guys of Kissing Suzy Kolber (one of my favorite sites)? After all, they’ve created an entire ouvre of gay parody-porn. Whereas, women are expected to be able and willing to write gay parody-porn because…? OH. RIGHT.

  27. @ SJ: This is where I have a problem. This isn’t parody. If you read the email that DS sent out, it was totally asking the writers to come up with real person slashfiction stories about Michael Phelps. I don’t think the writers took it too far. But they could have. And DS asked them to write it in their 3rd week of writing for the site. I feel like when I think of this sort of real person slashfic, its porn. Written porn about real people. And I think a lot of people think that and it’s kind of insulting to be asked to write it. I like to write about hot men and sports, but not an intricate and intimate scene about their sex lives. There is an obvious difference. Is it “parody” to write a pervy scene about another HUMAN BEING’s life? Someone who is real, and with eyes, and the ability to read it? That isn’t parody. I think that’s fucked up, is what it is.

  28. I think the problem with Waxing Off is simply that, much like their male counterparts, female sports bloggers have different areas of expertise. Of course your range of topics is going to be limited if you just pick a handful of bloggers with the sole criterion being that they’re female. Why on earth can’t female bloggers just be integrated into the daily ins and outs of Deadspin so they can play to their strengths rather than being relegated to what Deadspin tells them they can write about. The way it works now, it’s Separate But Equal, and it’s total horseshit. End of story.

  29. Stop reading DS if you must, various Ladies… emeritae

    Well, I pretty much have. Before, every post for me on DS was must-read. When I went to work in Jan., that changed, mostly because of my lack of internet access during work hours (which were approx 14 hrs a day). I guess that broke my DS habit.

    And it’s just constructive criticism of a site we love. I’ve been following DS since Oct. 2005, and I don’t want to watch it go down that path. If I didn’t care about DS, I wouldn’t nitpick.

  30. Ghettoized?

    You write for a site called LADIES…. Further, the explicit purpose of which is to celebrate the physical charms of male athletes.

    More “gridiron gourmandism”, more diversity of topics, less squeeeeeeeeeee, & maybe I’ll take the anti-ghettoizing sentiment seriously. Until then, have fun.

    Also, I will go to bat saying I would take Metschick’s distaste for this assignment, & antipathy to Chandler (& to lesser extent Daulerio), more seriously if she were to have voiced her concern within the context of the column. Clare did, & didn’t see it redacted, so obviously RC was open to dissent. But MC would rather scoot back to the “safety” of her own nest & have a synchronized sob-ulation (I feel bad about that pun, too, just so you know; I hate puns) about it.

    … In fact, maybe the better analogy is rival Greek houses on a campus, Delta Sigma & Lambda Delta Delta (delta), engaged in a prank war. Prolly, “sychro-sobulation” is the wrong choice (still funny, though). But whatever.

    I also saw that this Ladies… post made blog-dome, yet no chance to apologize on this site — in either the classic or modern sense — has been given to Chandler. How… convenient.

  31. @La: I’m not disagreeing with you. But that is MY larger issue. Yes underlying misogyny, but it is also OVERTLY insulting and gross IMO. And what I was referring to, is that you can’t defend it as parody when it was not requested to BE parody. It was requested to be “over the top and depraved”, to quote the email they sent. So yeah, for me it isn’t “Duh WE get that part” because I don’t.

  32. Way to simplify my thoughts, Amanda. I just meant that you have to know the arena you’re entering. You can’t expect it to change because you’ve arrived there. Deadspin doesn’t have to weave women into anything. Just like none of you need to do anything with your personal blog that you don’t want to do.

    If you are so outraged by the nasty, crudeness that these men seem to represent to you, why do you want to write for Deadspin?

    I know what my talents are. I know my worth as a woman. And the people I call my friends know and respect these things about me too. That’s all I need. If you think someone is disrespecting you, walk away.

    Most of the time, I just come on the web for a laugh because I work in academia all day. I guess I just take all sports/entertainment writing a little less seriously than others do.

  33. Hey, Stu? He’s got a blog. Not only that, he’s got the biggest sports blog on the internet. One of the biggest blogs there are, period. Nobody here is stopping him from doing anything, at all, anywhere he chooses.

    Our purpose here, with this post, is 1. to commiserate amongst ourselves, and 2. like our last post about Deadspin, to say “Hey, dude, that’s not cool”, and to say why we think that’s so. ‘Cause, you know? It’s our blog. Deadspin is entirely free to do its thing; we’re entirely free to criticize it; you’re entirely free to criticize us in turn. The internet is not the United States (and we even have a Canadian), but the Ladies…is officially a free-speech zone.

    And the whole thing about the Ladies being a hottie hottie hottie site? Yeah, and, your point is? That’s our choice. Not all women sports fans choose to take that route. The idea that we are all the same because we all like sports and all have vaginas is incredibly irritating. The idea that our choice to not be serious takes away our right to be serious when we choose is actually quite offensive.

    And do you realize how condescending you sound? At all? In a conversation with women about misogyny, talking down to them and treating their concerns as sorority pranks is not exactly the way to turn them to your side.

  34. Kristin: If you are so outraged by the nasty, crudeness that these men seem to represent to you, why do you want to write for Deadspin?

    I don’t, for the same reason so many people do: one million hits.

    Also, money. But that’s still way too much pressure for me.

  35. I don’t believe I ever said I wanted to write for Deadspin. But as a practical matter, shouldn’t they maybe not be actively sexist? Women watch a lot of sports, too, you know. And really, I’m just going to refer to all of La M. Alana’s posts in this thread, because she has it nailed, and she actually posts here, unlike my mouthy self.

    Stu, I didn’t know all sports blogs had to have their topics approved by you. Or that Rick Chandler had some rare disease preventing him from commenting on this post. My apologies.

    Um, and I think that’s all from me tonight. Sorry for getting worked up, Ladies… But you know how us females are.

  36. FutureMrsRickAnkiel: Amen.

    Stu: We don’t screen our comments, and only delete them when death threats are involved. (Seriously.) Rick, and AJ, and whoever else, is more than welcome to come on here and comment, just as you did.

  37. L. M. Ala… Blowing this up into a MASSIVE post, with feedback from all comers, is a bit hystrionic, no? The more sensible choice would have been a concerted, civilly disobedient action of each Waxer Off (Wax Offer? Just plain Waxer?) plainly rejecting the topic. But I guess I cannot expect a group of women to agree to do that since even though you all have vaginae, you each are unique & delicate flowers, snowflakes, whatever, & go yr own way.

    [/hums]

  38. Blogdome ain’t a comment pyramid. Deadspin highlighted the reaction to the original request… But Ladies… want to “ghettoize” Rick by limiting him to saying his piece in comments.

  39. Stu, I like debate, and I have no personal beef with you, but right now I would prefer for you to kindly return to your current home under a bridge.

  40. & the internet is serious business. The internet!

    Also, life is not fair, but, uh… Yeah… I could go a very pointed direction with this, but the blatant honesty of it would aggrieve too many. But it does get back to my point about the odd disconnect in the judgment of the character, editorial character, I mean, of Will Leitch vs. the same of A.J. Daulerio. But, yeah… For another time.

  41. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t Rick the associate editor of one of the biggest sports blogs on the internet? Does he not have a much larger pulpit than ours? If he wanted to respond, he could have on DS or in the comments here. Saying that Rick “can’t respond” is completely without merit.

  42. And you’re the kind of guy that says things like “Black people can be racist, too!” and “feminism is making men weaker!” and things like that, right? Because the idea of us having any kind of direct segregationary effect on the editor of the BIGGEST SPORTS BLOG THERE IS is at once foolish, ridiculous, and silly. What you’re bringing up isn’t even about male privilege, though it ironically parallels it; what he has is hit-count privilege.

  43. Ghettoized?

    I used that word. If you look back on the WO piece on gymnastics, a commenter made that comment. I bastardized the word to get there.

    And the name “Ladies…” came from a joke by Demetri Martin.

    More “gridiron gourmandism”, more diversity of topics, less squeeeeeeeeeee, & maybe I’ll take the anti-ghettoizing sentiment seriously. Until then, have fun.

    And, there is plenty of other stuff here besides “squee”. It’s a big part of it, but it’s not everything we are here.

    But MC would rather scoot back to the “safety” of her own nest & have a synchronized sob-ulation (I feel bad about that pun, too, just so you know; I hate puns) about it.

    Yeah, I could’ve done that. Except that I sent RC an email last Wed. saying that I was taking a bye. But the topic of it did bother me. So I discussed it with the other Ladies…, and we decided to do a post commenting on it. But yes, I perhaps should’ve gathered my thoughts and given the RC directly, rather than come here to share my thoughts.

    If you are so outraged by the nasty, crudeness that these men seem to represent to you, why do you want to write for Deadspin?

    I know what my talents are. I know my worth as a woman. And the people I call my friends know and respect these things about me too. That’s all I need. If you think someone is disrespecting you, walk away.

    But that’s the thing – I don’t think DS is some hotbed of depravity. Yes, they ogle women; we ogle men here. I’m a little “eh” about the girls with lots of posts that have nothing to do with said girl, but (other than that seeming a little “Maxim-ish” to me) I don’t mind terribly.

    I was just disappointed at this week’s topic. Is all. I had no problem with either of the previous two topics.

    And why do I want to write for DS? Because it’s still something that I think is worthy being a part of. And when last week’s topic made me uneasy, I did “walk away” from it.

  44. The more sensible choice would have been a concerted, civilly disobedient action of each Waxer Off (Wax Offer? Just plain Waxer?) plainly rejecting the topic.

    Except that everyone has their own opinion. We are just expressing ours.

  45. I’ve spoken with AJ regarding the topic and he agrees that the way the request was written this week did not convey that it was meant to parody and/or be funny. I still don’t like the topic, but they could’ve made it more clear that it was supposed to be funny.

    It’s still a little crappy that none of the Waxing Off topics have been mainstream sports-related.

    We didn’t send this to AJ to get linked to in Blogdome. We just put the post up on our forum. If Rick wants to apologize on here, he is free to contact me. I don’t even understand your premise, Disco Stu. We didn’t refuse Rick a voice on here. What is your problem?

    Kristin, I don’t think you entirely understand that they didn’t just ask the 10 Ladies to do Waxing Off this week. They asked Metschick and that is it. This is our response to the topic of choice. Saying that we write about a site that ogles men and we shouldn’t be surprised really has no point here, b/c a bunch of women were asked to write this week who DON’T write for Ladies.

  46. If Rick wants to apologize on here, he is free to contact me.

    See, I don’t think Rick even has to apologize. It’s his blog. He’s free to post whatever he wants. And like some have said, we’re free to criticize it, not write about the topic, or not go to DS if that’s what suits us.

  47. I don’t think he does either, Metschick. I wasn’t looking for an apology from anyone. He is free to post about slash fic (or have people write about it) and we are free to have opinions about that. I was responding to this ridiculous piece of writing that has no bearing on the conversation.

    I also saw that this Ladies… post made blog-dome, yet no chance to apologize on this site — in either the classic or modern sense — has been given to Chandler. How… convenient.

    He acts like it “made” blogdome, like we were hoping it would. I didn’t send it to AJ and I don’t believe anybody from this site did either. Disco Stu seems to have missed the point entirely if he thinks we did this post looking for an apology.

  48. Alright, Lady Andrea, maybe my comment was long on snark and short on dissemination. Maybe I’m not understanding exactly why the waxing off was viewed as marginalizing or sexist. I definitely don’t understand what warrants an apology.

    If the objective was to draw titillation from beer-swillin, nacho-eating dudes with women writing steamy sex stories then I would say it failed. I don’t get the idea that titillation was the idea here. I think it was meant to be line-toeing (or crossing) cringe comedy. It was topical, as well, what with the bizarre Drew brothers fiction that surfaced. I just don’t see how it went from all-inclusive fun to something more cromagnon….

  49. //And, there is plenty of other stuff here besides “squee”. It’s a big part of it, but it’s not everything we are here.//

    Here’s my problem with anyone complaining about this place being “squee”. Better than half of the Deadspin posts encourage men to remark on whether or not they would have sex with whatever woman is being written about.

    Why can men both write about sports and write about how hot female athletes (or reporters) are and still be taken seriously when they write about sports, but women can’t? It’s bullshit.

    This blog does much more than “squee” over cute athletes. Folks who don’t see that just don’t WANT to see that.

  50. @mistresschristina — Sorry, we usually only hire first year associates through our summer classes.

    I’ve actually thought about doing a serious blog on that, since I don’t know of any run by actual hiring partners (only recruiters, who don’t always know what they’re doing).

  51. Saying that we write about a site that ogles men and we shouldn’t be surprised really has no point here, b/c a bunch of women were asked to write this week who DON’T write for Ladies.

    Andrea – you’re right. I didn’t know that only one of you got asked to do it. With everyone weighing in, I thought a bunch of you were asked.

    And the fact that you shouldn’t be surprised really is the crux of things here. You are being disingenuous if you say you had no idea Deadspin would be asking female writers to be as down and dirty as some of the male writers. I don’t think women spend enough time thinking about where guys are coming from. If you did, you would shake off a lot more of this stuff.

    @La M. Alana: I got news for you. Some forms of feminism are making men afraid to be themselves. And the touchiness shown here just proves that point.

  52. Kristin, they weren’t asking the women to be as “down and dirty” as the male writers. They have never asked male writers to write GAY PORN about a famous athlete. I find that choice of topic very surprising.

    What do you possibly think has been on Deadspin that they are asking these female writers to be “down and dirty” like?

    The BDD column, while riddled with profanity and references to masturbation, is generally about sports and also is something of substance. A straight-up 300-word paragraph of slash-fiction about Michael Phelps is not the same thing.

  53. DARN MY SOCKS. PAN FRY THAT STEAK. STAY HOME AND RAISE MY CHILDREN.

    I stopped reading Deadspin the day I found this site, and I have been much happier ever since.

  54. And you’re the kind of guy that says things like “Black people can be racist, too!” and “feminism is making men weaker!” and things like that, right?

    Hardly. I certainly believe some Afro-Americans may have a dismal view of some elements of their society, & in response, some whites, looking to paper over their own more obviously racialist attitudes, will say, “See? See? The Cos doesn’t like hip-hop either!” But no, I wouldn’t call intragroup disapproval racism.

    Likewise, there is a place for feminism, & parity (within strata) with men, in wage/salary, et. al., should be not just a goal, but essential. That said, there is also a strain of feminism that treats the relation of the sexes/genders (how many are there, now? any queer-theory students know? highest i’ve heard is 16) as a zero-sum game, with the goal of reversing the male suppression of women of the last three millenia with female suppression of men. But those “feminists” are not really into male-female dynamics or women’s empowerment; they’re just assholes, same as any misogynist, when you get down to it, is an asshole (’cause I have yet to meet a misogynist who uniquely hates women).

    But I am rambling…

  55. Also, it was suggested, near the top, that “Waxing off” either be discontinued or converted into a majority-women version of The Sportsreporters. I would disagree. To have that repartee, on a blog post, is almost impossible (as we saw from the Deadspin Bookclub (two of whose members were men, so don’t go thinking I am hating on women, again)). So, the format as is, now, is about the best one could have. Sure, any playing off another writer’s opinion would be glancing & coincidental, but that would also bring attention to the mutuality of women’s opinions of sport, even as every vagina is special.

    Also, if you really must know disgust, look at the Leitch/Bissinger interview. Good goddamn, people; it was like mid-90s Raygun (before the streamlined re-design) without the intelligence & quick humor.

  56. … Oh, one more thing before I quit… Much like Merv going undefended (for about the past eighteen months, two years), the tendency to “yes, no, yes, yes, dude, hell yes, no, no” has dwindled almost to null. & credit to RC on that, since it seems “2 Watch 2 Nite” (/prince) has become the gated community for lechery.

  57. “So, the format as is, now, is about the best one could have. ”

    I don’t think it would be outlandish to actually you know, let the women comment on actual sports. Assuming they have valid opinions, and the ability to make them in a witty manner, on sports themselves, not on topics peripherally associated with sports would be a good start. Giving the readers of DS credit for be capable of reading and enjoying the writing about sports by women, and not gay fan fic would be a nice bonus.

  58. I’M OPPRESSING YOU! YOU’RE BEING OPPRESSED! help, help, you’re being oppressed! WHY AREN’T YOU MORE OPPRESSED, DAMNIT?!

    Honestly, guys. What I’m talking about – believe it or not – has nothing at all to do with men’s place in society. It has little to do with men’s “thing”. Believe it or not, not everything to do with women has to do with men. What I’m talking about is the idea that women are more than their sexuality. It’s not a difficult concept, ladies and gentlemen. Really.

    Stu: I’m actually sorry for typing that part; I lost my temper a bit, and phrased that badly. I do think you, and Kristin, for that matter, need to think about the concept of coming from a place of power, whether it’s our modest little blog disagreeing with a post on the biggest sports blog there is, or women being upset with men, or black people being upset with white people. Power changes everything, whether it’s personally wielded or not, or if it comes by virtue of status, or by virtue of birth; that’s what I should have said.

    Anthony: I prefer braising, actually. Makes the meat more tender.

  59. Hank-Scorp: I meant the delivery system, not the subject matter… But if you think I mean they should keep on writing about pre-pubescent Chinese girls or Michael Phelps’s drag coefficient, then be my guest.

  60. Then Stu if you want to make a coherent argument be my guest. But when the point you seem to be making is that they should go ahead and continue to have subject matter spoon fed to them, and you’ve at no point actually expressed any discomfort with the appointed topics, and have gone so far as to defend them; then yeah I guess that makes me the asshole for not catching your extremely subtle shift in focus.

  61. Oh for the love of…something. I don’t know what. This will be it for me, if anyone is still reading this thread anyway…

    Andrea – I like your writing and your take on things. However, I must disagree that anyone asked you to write gay porn. In fact, I remember the e-mail saying any gender you want. And, again, fairly clear it was a joke. My point is that it should be obvious that Deadspin is jokey entertainment, rather than serious sports coverage. If you want to be taken seriously about sports, cover a beat or write for a place where people are serious about it.

    I’ve been reading Deadspin for a while and there are some things that have been in questionable taste. Even more so at KSK. The thing is, men have no problem writing about stuff they don’t really support if it’s for the laugh. By down and dirty, what I really meant was not being so touchy about stuff you personally find offensive but that fits into the blog’s general subject matter.

    La M. Alana: The problem with looking at this from the power angle is that it tends to make people feel that power is the issue. It’s not. The issue, at least for me, is bringing men and women closer together on the understanding scale. You don’t think it’s possible that men can talk about female sexuality and still have respect for the rest of our traits?

    For a lot of men, the macho posturing is just covering up insecurity. And what are they insecure about? Us. So, it’s all in how you look at it. You really do make a good portion of your own reality, and the sooner we stop demonizing men, the better off we’ll be in the long run.

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