OK, a few quick things.
Thing 1) Todd VanDerWerff got fed up with the rampant sexism on the comment thread for his “Girls” reviews over at The A.V. Club, and wrote up an impassioned response.
Thing 2) While it’s great that many (including myself) linked to his response, many people seem shocked–SHOCKED, I TELL YOU–to learn that sexist douchery exists on the internet.
Thing 3) Slamming douchebags that spew that stuff online (all in the name of “comedy”, they mewl, when confronted with their idiocy) is fine and noble but misses the point.
Thing 4) The point is to deal with these systemic problems at a root level before the fact, not after the fact.
Thing 5) While we have a few female TV critics doing the heavy lifting of filling in the spaces left far too blank for for too long by male critics, it’s no longer enough to simply link to articles by Mo Ryan, or retweet material by Alyssa Rosenberg, or nod approvingly at the work done by Emily Nussbaum, Linda Holmes, and others. We should be applauded that work, but we should also be ashamed we’ve left that work for them to do.
Thing 6) It’s true that everyone should write from a perspective that is true and interesting and vital, it’s equally true that not every unique perspective need be left alone in order to respective the individual voice. An individual voice within a shared space is one thing. A voice crying out to be heard inside a veritable vacuum is another.
Thing 7) While I have supported these female writers, I haven’t done nearly enough in this regard. They don’t need my help, but their voices shouldn’t exist in a space unto their own, either. I respect them so much that I may have left them unintentionally isolated, and that’s a pretty shitty thing to have done. It’s hard for me to decry sexist shit on the internet when I have done so little to foster an environment in which such discourse doesn’t need to be policed in such a vigilant manner. This isn’t about swooping in to “save” these women. It’s about recognizing how much I have to learn from them.
Thing 8 ) I’ll do better. Don’t know how, or in what form. But I’ll do better, and I hope my other male critics do the same. Accepting things as they are isn’t possible anymore, and it’s up to all of us to do our part to make things better. And then? Make them right.