¡Adiós, Bitches!

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I once poured a full bottle of water on an eight-year-old’s head after she called me a bitch. Bitch was (and still somewhat is) one of my least favorite words in the English vocabulary. It was a thrilling, highly unexpected act for an outwardly calm, rather shy Libra. We were in the second grade and I had finally reached my tipping point after a couple of years of consistent bullying by way of her and her little squad’s honcho.

A little less than a week into my time as Jezebel’s social editor in 2017, the editors at the time called my colleague and I in for a meeting to discuss how we’d go about managing the site’s branding and voice. Effectively pinpointing and defining the 10-year-old’s brand proved to be difficult—even for them—but, naturally, words like critical, intelligent, funny, off-kilter, and cerebral came up. “Bitchy,” is the one I remember most, though. I had unintentionally signed up to work with a group who proudly saw themselves as a collective of bitches, and would later proudly take ownership of the cunt descriptor as well. I was immediately taken back to grade school and sat in silence, glad there were no water bottles in sight and nervous about what the future held.

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Over the next few months (which turned into years), I’d go on to read just about every published piece that the small and mighty staff churned out on a daily basis. My job was to ensure we got as many eyes on our words as possible. Pieces like Katie McDonough’s “The Lie of Feminist Meritocracy,” Clover Hope’s “The Making and Unmaking of Iggy Azalea,” Julianne Escobedo Shepherd’s annual “Rihanna Rihport” (and every other thing under her byline), Prachi Gupta’s “Stories About My Brother,” and Rich Juzwiak’s “A Publicist Wouldn’t Let Christina Hendricks Answer Our Questions About Harassment,” made one thing unequivocally clear—this is the bravest, and only good, group of bitches out there. Every piece I digested made me a little smarter, and every interaction with the team made me a little wiser. I dipped my toes in blogging, video editing, graphic design, and (of course) social strategy during my blink-of-an-eye yet somehow 50-year-long tenure. The editors entrusted me—a relatively new, anxious writer—with wild ideas like interviewing folks such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rosalía, both of whom were little known at the time, but destined for greatness (according to my very reliable gut). Trust, as well as thoughtful, meticulous edits from editors like Escobedo Shepherd, Hope, McDonough, Stassa Edwards, Megan Reynolds and Koa Beck have made me a better writer and thinker.

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When I was adopted into the Jezebel clan, I was an outsider ushered in by Fusion (pours champagne). Fusion, for those who live outside of the media bubble, was the brain child of ABC and Univision at the time, and a starry-eyed, green Ecleen’s dream company and concept. The essence of who we hoped to be in theory was confronted by the reality of the nature of media, and a merge (amongst a plethora of other things) led to the virtual dissipation of that publication. It was my first (of hopefully many) dream job. I am grateful for the minds I learned from there as well—including Alexis Madrigal, Dodai Stewart, Joyce Tang, Anna Holmes, Diana Oliva Cave, Cristina Costantini, Katrine Dermody, Olivia Niland, Brianna Barzola, Man Bartlett, Jon Eiseman, and more. The first kiss is the sweetest, the first cut is the deepest, etc. etc. Growing up in your company, in what was my first post-grad job, is something I’ll be forever grateful for.

Cheers to a brilliant group of dreamers, and a bright group of bitches.

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