The Five Stages of Grief After Writing Something Sexist

Working with members of the media you can almost see the “five stages of grief” they go through when you tell them something they wrote was sexist. Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. Okay we rarely get to the last one, acceptance…and a promise to do better next time. But that’s why David Roberts’ apology on Grist so appealing. He walks through the exact mental states I’ve gotten from reporters and editors when we’ve called out the sexism in their articles.

In his case Roberts was apologizing for a rather nasty tweet about the former Weiner campaign intern.

So, I said something horrible on Twitter. Since I can’t go back in time and take it back, I thought I’d try to make something worthwhile out of it. Here goes.

He then works exactly through the mindset we’ve encountered time and time again. But (unlike many) he doesn’t stop at “denial” or “anger” and moves into “acceptance.” Well worth the read.

This is the key first step in a bout of White Dude Privilege Syndrome, especially the specific variant of White Liberal Dude Privilege Syndrome (WLDPS). Very few bouts begin with deliberate sexism or racism or heteronormativity. We are not thinking sexist thoughts! Our intentions are pure! We love women! Some of our best friends are black! We are good people, dammit!

Thus, the first instinct of the WLDPS sufferer, when confronted, is to be dismissive or cavalier.

*CC image courtesy of sandphin on Flickr


Published by Kate McCarthy on 07/31/2013

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