Broad Recognition

A Feminist Magazine at Yale

Open Letter to The Yale Bubble

Dear TheYaleBubble.com,

Welcome to the Yale online magazine community! We at Broad Recognition believe that comedy can be a great tool for social change and that our campus can always use more ventures in experimental humor. We believe in creating safe spaces online for cultural, social, and political commentary on campus. We, like you, have read and liked a lot of stuff by the folks at The Onion.

Here’s the thing. Headlines such as “Junior’s Thoughts Return to Vaginas,” “Stressed Out Sophomore Girl Probably Just On Her Shopping Period,” and “Mascara-Stained Yale Administration Blocks YBBPlus, Demands People Tell It That It’s Pretty” send a hostile and frankly violent message, particularly to female readers: Your bodies render you capricious and the subject of ridicule. You are not welcome here.

We sense that you might have been trying to do something edgy– articles like “Why Yale’s 1969 Decision to Admit Women Was a Mistake” come across as stabs at high satire, albeit mismanaged. We like satire. Sophisticated satire can be a powerful political tool. But good satire aims its arrow at the oppressor, not the oppressed. As feminists, as members of the Yale community, your language makes us feel uncomfortable, unwelcome, and attacked. Even when spoken in character, these words are toxic. We are talking about excerpts like these (from an article on Charles Johnson entitled “I’m a Hustler”):

“In 1955, I wifed up my main hoe (and the love of my life) Ann Demarest Lutes, now my girl supervising the motherfucking restoration of the historic Carolands chateau! Name me one bitch you know who runs train on Beaux-Arts restoration like Ann, and I’ll stuff a glock so far up your cracker ass you’ll forget when my annual company-sponsored lawn tennis tournament is (it’s in June). Yeah, she got brains […] but she also rocks the most fuckable body I ever seen. Bitch puts the ass in asset management, and I’m extremely lucky to have her in my life.”

Comedic freedom is important and we believe that humor, at its best, has transformative potential. Comedians should be free to experiment with troubling subject matter, and we direct you to the great work of Lindy West (on rape jokes) and Mia McKenzie (on The Onion calling Quvenzhané Wallis a cunt) for advice on how to do this responsibly.

You are new. You can fix this.

Sincerely,

Isabel Ortiz ‘14

Sophia Nguyen ‘14

Chamonix Adams Porter ‘15

Julia Calagiovanni ‘15

Ava Kofman ‘14

Sarah Giovanniello ‘16

Demetra Hufnagel ‘14

A. Grace Steig ‘15.5

Aria Thaker ‘15

Sonja Peterson ’14

Isra Syed ‘16

Jin Ai Yap ’16

Carlee Jensen ’15

Carol Crouch ‘14

Alexander Borsa ‘16

Daniel Dangaran ‘15

Meredith Redick ‘14

Tobias Kirchwey ’14

Elias Kleinbock ’14

Gabe Murchison ’14

Patrick Verdier ‘14

Fiona Lowenstein ‘16

Cassandra da Costa ’15

Amy Napleton ‘14

Maya Averbuch ‘16

Emma Brennan-Wydra ‘15

Eliana Kwartler ‘16

Caroline Sydney ‘16

Katie Aragon ‘14

Katie Chockley ‘14

Alec Pollak ‘15

Madeline Yozwiak ‘14

Zoe Greenberg ’14

Hilary O’Connell ‘14

Cindy Ok ‘14

Evan Walker-Wells ‘14

Addendum (posted January 19, 2014): 

Since the publication of our letter, the editors of The Yale Bubble have taken down the articles “Stressed out Sophomore Girl Probably Just On Her Shopping Period,” “Junior’s Thoughts Return to Vaginas,” “I’m a Hustler,” and “Mascara-Stained Yale Administration Blocks YBBPlus, Demands People Tell It That It’s Pretty.” We have met with the authors and they seem responsive to our concerns and committed to creating a more thoughtful and welcoming environment for readers. They have also issued an apology, pasted in full below:

Dear Broad Recognition, 

We are writing to thank you for your frank critique of our site. It is much appreciated, and, after reappraising our content based on your assertions, we’ve taken some articles down. We think it’s important to frame this as a discussion, not an argument, and we are most definitely willing to learn and amend our behavior based on your valid criticisms. We think it would be productive on both sides to acknowledge our collective desire to publish satire that, as you put it, aims its arrow at the oppressor. While we regret the rapid succession of gendered humor which might’ve come off as hostile or offensive, we hope you recognize our genuine intent to, as you said, create a space for a satirical social change. In our eagerness to launch the site and generate content, we lost sight of a larger aim that is very important to our vision for the Bubble. We hope that you can see past this misguided beginning and we can work together in the future to provide a more circumspect satire.

–The Yale Bubble

Comments (1)

  • You are far better women than I given your kind and welcoming Open Letter. The efforts of Mr. Davies fall disastrously short of satire, and are shockingly offensive to me, a Yale parent, who lived through the AIDS epidemic and lost several dear friends. I will never fully heal from this awful decade of death upon death, and I resent his reducing a gay orientation to smarmy little tropes of gingham shirts and hot sex. His attitude towards women, however desperately he is trying to be funny, comes across as hostile and even threatening. There is no talent here; no understanding of the finesse required by humor and satire. Were I his mother I would commit seppuku. I wept all day over this….this horror, and am grieved that you beautiful young women – my daughter included – are subjected to such ugliness. I have written an open letter of my own to Mr. Davies, which I invite you to publish.

    posted by Colleen Craig      January 18th, 2014 at 3:56 am

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