Why I Don’t Read Jezebel Any More: The R Word, and Invented Diseases

I used to rather like Jezebel, back in the day. It was a fairly feminist space right in the midst of mainstream online media, with a hoydenish style that appealed.

Now it’s just a sewer.

The latest?

“…there are still devoted Democrats and/or Clinton supporters who are retardedly deciding to vote for John McCain…”

Past highlights:

“These hair hats—hats that look like your hair is styled into looking like an animal’s face—by Japanese artist Nagi Noda are at once beautifully executed and retarded. “

“There’s a new strapless bra called Faveo Freedom and it’s probably the most retarded undergarment we’ve ever seen in our entire lives.”

“Some retards are selling a t-shirt with an image of a stiletto and the phrase “I’ll Be Back…In My Favorite Shoes” “

“The only thing more depressing than being forced to devote like 93% of our brain cells to Paris Hilton, whose handwriting proves she is a retard, …”

These come from three different posters. They’ve been called out on the use of the word, and they don’t give a shit. It’s not a slip of the fingers, it’s a consistent pattern of ableism.

For more information on The R Word campaign, check out their blog at stopsayingretard.wordpress.com.


And here’s the icing on the cake:

“What Vague Pharmaceutical Industry-Invented Malady Do You Have?”:

Fibromyalgia. It sounds so daunting — like angina! which also sounds like vagina, or chlamydia. And if the pharmaceutical industry’s multibillion-dollar marketing machine has any sort of pathway into your consuming psyche, you’re probably aware of this hot new disease. Hasn’t the industry gotten so much better at naming new maladies since the whole dubious “restless leg syndrome” thing? Anyway, here’s fibromyalgia in brief: it affects primarily women around their middle ages — potentially 10 million of them in this country according to advocacy group, which means something like one in five. You’ll know you have it if you start to feel “chronic, widespread pain of unknown origin.” The pain won’t respond to anti-inflammatories, and no one knows where it comes from really, so instead of trying to sell you on something to soothe the pain, the pharmaceutical companies — namely Pfizer — is trying to soothe your brain’s perception of pain. Clever! Okay, so here’s the shocker: some people think fibromyalgia is a bit, you know, fictionyalgia. And “some people” includes the doctor who named it in the first place.

Why invent a disease? Well, if you’ve got a drug with a limited market — like Pfizer’s Lyrica, originally developed for seizures, it’s pretty genius business to make up a mysterious new ailment that a lot of people could potentially have or be scared they have. Where do you think ADD came from? What about “bipolar disorder”? “Irritable bowel syndrome”? Oh sure, those diseases affect one in 1.5 Americans, and we have them too, but:

…Those figures are sharply disputed by those doctors who do not consider fibromyalgia a medically recognizable illness and who say that diagnosing the condition actually worsens suffering by causing patients to obsess over aches that other people simply tolerate.

But why tolerate when you can obsess? And speaking of obsessing, did you know ADD makes people obsessive? I should be done with this post already but I didn’t have enough amphetamines today. What about you?

Nasty, bigoted prats, the lot of them. Not that I imagine my leaving will make a whit of difference; there are enough nasty, bigoted prats in the world that they’ll continue to have an audience of nasty, bigoted prats to scarf up their droppings.

But I’m out.

Three cheers for the independent femiblogosphere.

Categories: language, social justice

Tags: , , , , ,

12 replies

  1. I never was particularly keen on their blogging, but the whole drunken interview debacle not so long ago made me pretty determined not to bother full stop. This is icing on the cake.

  2. Yeah, I had to stop reading Jezebel awhile ago. Even without the bigotry, the site reeks of a “Pshaw, caring about things is for losers,” attitude that makes me furious.

  3. Spluttery and stabbity. That’s a new one for me.

  4. Wow. That makes me so angry, I can hardly form words. My mom told me last night that my sister’s teacher has fibromyalgia, and I was telling her and my sister about how painful it is, and how the pain can be amplified tenfold by horrible people like those Jezebels who think it’s all in your head. That’s true about a lot of disorders with invisible symptoms – including most of the others she calls out. I hate those people, I really do. ADD, bipolar, IBS, fibromyalgia are all invented disorders with no basis in reality? Go off yourself!

  5. Well, if you’ve got a drug with a limited market — like Pfizer’s Lyrica, originally developed for seizures, it’s pretty genius business to make up a mysterious new ailment that a lot of people could potentially have or be scared they have.
    I take Lyrica. It’s part of my management for nerve pain due to both genetic and auto-immune damage of my peripheral nervous system. Now whilst I can provide both the test that shows the genetic marker for my condition AND the results of the Chilean interrogation tests that show the nerve conduction between elbow and fingers on both my forearms is less than 30% of what it ought to be, I probably couldn’t prove empirically that I actually experience nerve pain even though it’s like bashing your funnybone against a doorframe but with the sensation taking days to fade rather than seconds. That doesn’t mean the pain doesn’t exist.
    That’s the whole point of nerve-based pain of the type typical of fibromyalgia and the reason for prescribing products like Lyrica which are designed to improve transmission along nerves, interruptions and misfires in which can cause a) seizures in the case of epilepsy or b) pain. (Oh AND restless legs incidentally…)

  6. Whoa. I am indeed a big hater of Jezebel too and kind of have been from day one. I gave up on them entirely before the drunken episode, when they were making FGM jokes. Then there was the whole “gray rape” debacle before it.
    Obviously the “retard” stuff is unacceptable. But I also have a mother who lives with fibromyalgia. I have a close friend who has it, as well. Neither one of them can currently work due to the pain, and spend large amounts of time sleeping but are still tired . . . and so I know how disabling it is. Made up my fucking ass. I can’t believe that we’re even still having this conversation — and it makes the lives of people with fibromyalgia that much more difficult because they often can’t even talk about it for fear that someone will give them those funny, skeptical looks.
    Pisses me the fuck off.

  7. Thanks for posting about this. I just don’t understand how, once you’re called out on something as egregious as this pattern of ableism, you can just sit back and say “oh well.” Have they never had an actual conversation with someone with cognitive disabilities or fibromyalgia?
    Sweet Machines last blog post..Two Things

  8. Welp, there’s another site on my “not worth ever even looking at” list.. right next to Fark, 4chan, and the drudge report. I’m a bit ashamed, but I had visited 4chan a couple times before I decided the SNR was too horrible to even think about going back.
    Anyhow, from the comments there, and the post about FM, it seems like another example of “It’s not me, and I don’t understand it, so you must be making it up.”

  9. It’s not me, and I don’t understand it, so you must be making it up.
    Jezebel can kiss my fibro-ed ass, as far as I’m concerned. It’s not at all “feminist” to promote ableism. At all.

  10. If bipolar disorder doesn’t exist, then there are a lot of people out there who share a single delusion and a definable set of symptoms which appear to be remarkably consistent regardless of whether or not the US pharmaceutical industry is involved in the diagnosis. Or maybe it really does exist, and the people at Jezebel need something to cure their cranio-rectal impaction syndrome. I suggest a quick thump upside the ear.
    Meg Thorntons last blog post..Himself is away at Capel today.

  11. I go into an incoherent rage when faced with this kind of bullshit. It’s not a one-off post either — I’m not sure how anyone can respect a site that regularly engages in this sort of “conversation.”


  1. three rivers fog » Why I won’t forgive
%d bloggers like this: