Why I Quit Writing For College Times

Today I have bad news for everyone. Alright, I have bad news for me, and the people who read my lesbian sex column on College Times. The bad news is it’s finished. I quit today. I really, REALLY did not want to, but the situation there became impossible. I had to make a choice between writing something I loved and being a person I liked, and I guess I just can’t write about sex if I’m not feeling respected, so I quit.

 

Now, I understand that to a lot of people, that’s no big deal, but I’ve never had to quit a job for moral reasons before, so I wanted to explain myself. Explain what is actually happening behind the scenes at that place, in case any rumour starts going around that I was kicked out, or that I threw a hissy fit and stormed out of the metaphorical building. Here is the full story, both sides represented, so that you can all see how much I did not want to get to this place. I’m sorry if there are fewer jokes, but on the plus side, I predict a 100% increase in posts about specific areas of lesbian sex in the near future, unless someone else wants them. Anyway, here’s how it went down:

 

As I said, I was writing for a different website until today, thus explaining why I never update this place. How exciting! A brand new website, aimed at students, that my friend Clare Cullen [of Shite Irish Girls Say, look her up] asked me if I would be interested in writing for. Naturally the answer was YES, I am always a fan of a new place to do my favourite thing, AND they said I could write a sex column, AND there was a good chance that the exposure would lead to paid work [I love this blog, you guys, but also like ninety percent of my posts on it are about how badly I need a job]. So far, so excellent.

 

The first post I submitted was about strap-ons, and my editor said it was pretty cool, and I was stoked. Dudes, I did not know how badly I wanted to write a sex column until I had one, turns out I wanted one A Lot. And also, my sister Ais had a column too! Perfect Days.

 

Ais wrote one of her first articles about pubic hair. It was a hilarious article about the various haircuts girls get on their ladyparts in order to be attractive [SIDE NOTE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rcoreV10hI8 ].

 

That was when the first warning sign arrived. Ais’ [and also my] editor, Jack O’Connor, said that he didn’t think the article belonged in the sex section. He said he wanted to keep the section to only be about the physical act of boning. Ais told me that, and we made unimpressed faces at each other for a while.

 

Also around this time, Ais decided to take a look around the ‘demo site’ that had been set up, as a kind of tester site to see how CT would look and act when it went live. She was looking in the sex section, because obviously, and she noticed that a lot of articles in it weren’t exactly female friendly [even though they were written by women]. She pointed this out to the Greta Dunne, who is the editor of all of CT, and who is doing an incredibly hard job and you have to respect her for that. That’s not my beef.

 

Greta took Ais’ advice about editing the columns on board, and so Ais and I decided to let sleeping dogs lie, when it came to how Jack ran his section. Though we agreed it was incredibly stupid and made all the articles kind of boring and like listening to a load of drunken teenagers pretending they were sexually active, we said ‘you know what? I don’t mind being the only good thing about a bad section’, and left it at that.

 

A little while later [just before the site went live], the editor of the Opinions section, Joshua Doyle, and Jack were commenting under a post in the CT contributors Facebook group [Note: Not the Sex group], and they were incredibly sexist. I’d have a screengrab for you, but I was removed from both the CT group and the Sex Contributors group immediately when I quit this morning [I guess if I was smarter I'd have saved the quitting moment until AFTER I'd had a chance to grab a few screenshots, but also, if I was smarter, I'd have quit a month ago]. They started talking about lesbianism, and Jack actually linked to a lesbian porn clip, in a place where everyone in the group could see it, in a conversation that was not supposed to be sexual at all. That, for Ais, was the last straw.

 

Both Jack and Josh had been sexist before, not just in comments on the group, but on their own Facebook profiles. Nothing you could call them out on, but enough to let you know that maybe these guys were going to be a feminist’s nightmare. So she said- quite rightly- Fuck That Noise.

 

She sent Jack and Greta an email, and asked for it to be forwarded to Josh so he could see how mad she was, and apologise. Jack responded with an apology, admitting his explanation was weak [banter got out of hand. You know how sometimes you have no control over how much lesbian porn you link to because you are talking to a man? That happened to him]. His email also contained the phrase

 

‘I can assure you that I am far from sexist and would in fact consider myself a feminist, considering that feminism is the belief that men and women are equal.”

 

Let’s take that comment, shall we? Let’s just hold on to that for a second, while we look at this example of writing on College Times, which was submitted by someone who calls Jack his editor:

 

Man, I sure hope I'm not a DUF, I'd hate for this guy to hit on me even to confuse my hotter mates

An example of men and women being treated equally.

 

That article is published in the Health section, by the way. Yep. I feel healthy after reading that.

 

You will note an apology arrived from Jack, and also, one from Greta. Greta in fact was very apologetic, and assured Ais that- while she didn’t agree that this behaviour was grounds to remove them as editors [Side Note: degrading your contributors is definitely grounds for removing your editors]- she felt bad about what happened, and wished Ais the best. Ais told Jack she hoped his behaviour would change [though she doubted it actually would], wished Greta the best and got the next train out of there.

 

Joshua, however, did not apologise. Not once. He didn’t even acknowledge that this had happened.

 

Now, when Ais stormed out, I made my first mistake. What I should have done was have her back, because I agreed with her. I should have walked out with her. Instead, what happened was that while Ais was quitting in Dublin, I was in Offaly being offered the position of sub- editor of the sex section. At the same time. This playing me against my sister thing was bullshit, but I was too excited to see it right then. A few days later, after me and Ais realised what had happened, and I had gotten my head out of my ass, I sent Jack and Greta this email:

 

See how nice I am when I think someone is being a dilhole?

Note how I require assurance that this will never happen again

 

Jack talked me around, said a public apology would bring everyone down, and gave me the assurances I asked for. He gave me three articles to edit, and then no more, ever again.

 

Joshua did not apologise. That’s two, if you’re counting.

 

Around this time, in fact the same day as he gave me the articles to edit, Jack asked me to write something about the upcoming March for Marriage. He said UCD had sent on a press release, and it had to be in quick. I had a deadline of about an hour, and I wrote March With Us, to date the most popular post on College Times, according to the ‘most shared’ bar. I still consider it pretty rad to be the author of a thing that took off like that. Pretty rad being College Times, too, to be fair, they got a lot of hits out of it. That’s the thing about writing for a website like CT, it’s mutually beneficial, and that’s great. That’s not my beef.

 

The next article I submitted to Jack [bearing in mind, I had 9 ready to go before the site even went live] was on the subject of consent. The gist of the story is that I had seen some of the other female contributors in the sex section phrase their sex lives as things they were doing so boys would still like them. My article was about how you can say no to things you don’t want to do, and if whoever you are boning is not OK with that, you can do better.

 

Jack didn’t like it.

 

He said it didn’t really fit in the section, even though it was about sex. He said he wanted the section to be positive, to be only about the physical act, not about any of the other stuff [like consent?]. I said I thought that was stupid, and that the article ideas he was giving to people were boring [universally, when someone asked for a topic, he said 'review a position!' Now, a lot of the contributors in his section are around 19- 20. I would imagine after the fourth 'review a position!' request, they were going to have to Do A Google. Which is not their fault, at all, and if you are reading this girls, Jack is not being fair to you with that behaviour]. Eventually, he conceded to put it up, but asked for more articles like my first nine in the future [reminder that only 2 of those articles are on the site. So, not TOO much like them, I assume].

 

So at this point, to put you in my mindset, I was pretty sure I disliked Jack as a person. I thought he disrespected women, wanted to run a really boring sex section, and was a bad writer [which does not automatically mean he is a bad guy, but it does when he publishes so many of his own articles]. I told my friends that I wished I could take over his job, not out of any desire for the position [more free work is not a thing I am desperate for], but so I could make the section a thing that people would want to read, and maybe learn from.

 

Also, around this time, Ais told me that College Times is run by the same people who run Midnight Promotions. You know, these guys:

 

http://stobserver.wordpress.com/2012/02/19/midnight-promotions-in-sexist-controversy/

 

 

So I was getting a clearer picture as to what was actually going on here. However, I still really liked Greta, I thought she was doing a really tough job, and I respected her. In all our dealings, she was nothing but nice, and I cut her slack for not removing Josh and Jack because they are mates, and sometimes people are stupid about their mates.

 

Then Jack asked me to write a response to the horrible homophobic article published in The University Times last week, since I did such a good job on March With Us. Naturally, I loved the idea of being the go-to LGBT columnist, that is essentially My Dream Job. So I wrote it, sent it in, and the next day it went up.

 

Now I’m not going to lie to you, I had a hard time finding what I wanted to say in that article. The rough version I sent off to Jack was not my best work, but it was pretty good, and more importantly pretty fast. The article that went up was BUTCHERED. No paragraphs, anywhere. I was so embarrassed; I didn’t even link to it on my own Facebook page. And I commented wherever I saw it that I was a better writer than this article let on. I mean, HOW embarrassing.

 

Me and Ais were both at home at the time, and we were laughing at how obvious it was when the terrible editor got bored [for the record, Jack always did a phenomenal job on my pieces, no complaints at all. I’m giving him credit where he deserves it, he was a good motivator and a good editor, and he had some shockingly all over the place articles to contend with. Fair play, like, I do not envy him that], when Ais decided to see how bad Joshua was at writing. You know, for comedy.

 

So she looked through the site, and found an article of his called Invasion, about the new Abercrombie store in Dublin. We clicked on it, and yes, he is a terrible writer, and that was pretty funny. But what was not funny was this paragraph, right here:

Gay here can be read as a negative description, OR as being the same as a sex crime

Yep. You read that correctly. That’s what he meant.

 

 

Now, let’s recap: Josh has been a Known Sexist for a long time now. He has been responsible for at least one contributor taking their work and walking out already. So he’s a risk, and everyone knows it. I have been personally assured that he is being watched. And yet, here we are. This happened.

 

To make matters worse, I found out later that Joshua submitted this article in January. This article has been live on the site since well before there even WAS a site. While Ais was complaining about him, this was up. While I was complaining about him, this was up. While I was asked TWICE to submit articles on how rad the LGBT community is, including one about how awful homophobia in the media is, this was up.

 

It didn’t take us long to find it. It wasn’t buried anywhere. It was right there, in plain sight, too near my name for my liking.

 

Naturally, I flipped the fuck out. This is what I emailed to Joshua, Jack, and Greta [It was too big for a screengrab, sorry]:

 

 

‘Hey guys,

So I was looking through College Times articles today, after you put up the link to my latest one, and I came across this piece
I am absolutely disgusted that you would allow an article which not only implies, it actually says that being gay is the same as being a sex offender. That is unacceptable, and I am absolutely disgusted with all the people involved in either writing, editing or allowing such a thing to be published.
Since I started writing for you guys, I have been asked on two occasions to write an article in defense of the LGBTQ community. I thought that that was the kind of organisation this was, one that aimed to entertain but also to educate. In my last article, I made specific reference to how it was hugely offensive for a publication to write something just to get the attention of the LGBTQ community. Well Greta, that works both ways, and I am absolutely disgusted with this ‘token equality’ you are trying to portray. It makes you look bad, but it also makes me look bad. You have made me look like a gay Uncle Tom, and you never even let on. That is unacceptable.
The hypocrisy you have shown is insulting not only to all LGBTQ people, it is also personally insulting. I don’t understand how you guys can continue to put up my work, even compliment it, while knowing that this is also happening on your site. I feel taken advantage of, I feel used, but mostly I feel angry.
Consider this my final word on the subject. I expect no more of my articles to be put up on the site, naturally. I don’t want you to use me as a tool for your success anymore, I really cannot stress how angry I am right now.
I will no longer be promoting your site, and in fact unless some major apologies are given both to me and to every other member of the LGBTQ community [in an article published on your site], and the author of the piece is taken off your staff, I will be actively telling as many people as I can to never read it, as no matter how ‘progressive’ you like to pretend you are being, this ‘Invasions’ article has shown it’s just pandering.
Sinead
PS: This letter will be published on my blog [averages 1000 views per post], unless I feel action has been taken to stop this from ever happening again. ‘
[Yes, I used this blog as a threat. Yes, I am carrying that threat out right now. No, I have no regrets.]

The article was taken down immediately.

After that, I emailed my good friend James Mitchell [YouTube sensation] – and also a College Times Contributor- because we are good Activist buddies, and I knew he would be upset about this too. I was right, and he also flipped out. He didn’t know about the sexism, and he flipped out over that too.

 

 

I was so mad, and he was so mad, and Greta wanted us to stay so badly, she organised a coffee meeting the very next day. At first, I was against it, but then I thought ‘Sinead, don’t be a dickhead all your life. You love this column, and if you leave, then nothing will change’. So I agreed.

While we were sorting this out, Josh emailed James an apology. Note this: James had never contacted Josh to ask for one, or in fact even to yell at him, he was dealing directly with Greta. I had emailed Josh, see above. He did not apologise to me. That’s three.

Before we met Greta for coffee, I laid out exactly what would be required for me to stay with CT, because I need to be able to look myself in the eye. These things were:

1: Josh had to go. The homophobia combined with his sexism made him someone I could never work with again, never mind under. James agreed.

2: An apology and explanation in the CT group on Facebook, so that nobody could say me and James bullied him out or whatever. Also, an apology on the site itself, because I didn’t want people thinking I was OK with working somewhere that would print that. James agreed to the group, but wasn’t too pushy on the website [for the record, there are no hard feelings between us. James has not been fighting with CT for as long as I have, so anyone who compares our two situations is being facetious. I think James is rad as hell, and I probably always will.]

3: A Code of Practise would have to be drawn up, in order to ensure that this would never, EVER happen again. James agreed.

 

At this point, I had exactly zero trust in anybody at College Times to fix anything. I was mad as hell going into that meeting, and so was James. At first, Greta -and her partner Jamie, who we only found out about on arrival- tried to talk us down, with arguments about encouraging debate, and how CT was working for us and so we shouldn’t leave. They said that Josh didn’t mean to insinuate what he had said, and this was perhaps an overreaction from us. They also said he felt terrible about it, and Greta said she was wicked busy, she hadn’t bothered checking his old articles at all.

At that point, we made it clear that if anyone else had written the article and it had been published, a quick email- like Ais sent to Greta about the sexism in the original sex articles- would have sorted it out. The problem here was that she had been warned, and was either lying when she said he was under control, or really bad at her job, neither of which are good excuses for publishing something like that. We explained the difference between a comment and a slur, and Greta conceded.

 

She was really, incredibly nice, and took us very seriously. She told us Josh had already been fired, he was out, and we agreed he could only come back once CT had its Code of Practise in working order. She said he wanted my number to apologise, I refused on principle- I don’t accept apologies from people who only give them as a last resort. He had so many chances to apologise before he was kicked out that he neglected to take, I see no reason to make him feel better now. Joshua Doyle is a sexist, and he should feel bad about that.

She agreed to all of our terms, and we went to CT headquarters to start writing a Code of Practise. Josh, surprisingly, was there, and he wanted to meet us, I was not OK with that, James was not OK with that, and so he left. No more Joshua.

 

I met Jack for the first time, and he wouldn’t even look at me. I’ve never been so obviously disdained before. It was clear our dislike was mutual. The first thing he said was how he hoped that me and James wouldn’t fly off the handle like this again, heavily implying we had totally overreacted. As we explained to him what we had just explained to Greta [with Greta’s support, it should be said], he turned around in his swivel chair, and couldn’t have been less interested in what was happening.

After a while spent chatting about the difference between a debate and an insult, and after I explained what ‘checking your privilege’ was for at least the tenth time, we left Greta to get back to work. Honestly, I was delighted to still be writing for her. The best case scenario had happened. Nobody had walked away, and real changes were going to be made. Most Meeting Ever. By the time I got home, Greta had opened a thread on the CT group about making a Code of Practise, and I was delighted.

The next day, nothing new happened. No apology, no post on the site, no Code of Practise.

The next day, nothing continued to happen. James and I had a conversation about how long we would wait; I said I was willing to give them a week. A week is a long time in internet years, you know.

Then, this morning, I turned on my laptop before work. It’s not something I usually do, but I wanted to watch more Suburgatory [Side Note: Check it out. It’s great]. I clicked into the CT group to see what was new or interesting that day, and to see if there was an apology post. Unfortunately, the only new post I saw was this:

 

Unrelated: Cian. Cian seems lovely and I hope his birthday was class

Note how he speaks for the team, though he was apparently kicked off it at least three days ago

 

 

Now, doesn’t that seem WEIRD to you? What’s even weirder is that James noticed him calling for submissions in the opinions section. Not normal behaviour for a guy who was kicked out three days ago, is it? Note that I quit this morning and immediately lost all posting privileges. I can’t take a screenshot, this guy can wish happy birthday on behalf of everyone else? Something didn’t add up. Either Josh was still working for CT, in which case everything Greta had said was a lie, or… no, that was the only conclusion. There is no other explanation.

 

For me, that was the last straw. James got on to Greta, who explained that she was sick for the last three days, and Josh was sticking around because they couldn’t find a replacement. Now, those are great excuses, if Greta was the only person in the office capable of typing an apology, and also if there was nobody in the world able to look after Josh’s section, which apparently was short on submissions anyway.

 

Also, I had been specifically told several times that he was out of the picture. Both on Facebook chat the day before we met, at the actual meeting, and afterwards in the office. He was gone. And yet no, he wasn’t. Joshua Doyle is a rash that CT can’t seem to get rid of, and the constant lying about it is what got rid of me.

 

I can work for people I don’t like. I can work with people who don’t like me. But let’s get real here- I’m pretty good at this writing shit. It’s the only thing I’m pretty good at, and it’s the only thing I do that I have a little bit of respect for. So when I am bringing a site a lot of hits because of it, I assume I’m going to get a little of that respect back. Not a lot, just enough that, oh, I don’t know, I’m not constantly being lied to and placated like a child. You know, the level of respect any decent human being shows any other one. And coincidentally, not the level of respect I was getting from College Times.

 

So that’s it. That’s why I quit. You guys can decide if I overreacted or not, I personally don’t think I did. I have enough fights to be getting on with, for things like the right to get married, or be whatever gender I wanna be, to start another one with a website that is never going to listen to me anyway. Fuck That Noise. I’m genuinely gutted that this thing that I loved is gone, but on the plus side, I saw a mirror a minute ago and was able to look myself in the eye, so I guess that’s a positive.

 

Also, if you guys have any idea what I should do with like 20 sex columns, I am all ears. I’m going to publish them here if nowhere else wants them, but I hope somewhere does. Seems like a total waste, otherwise.

 

 

 

TL; DR: Some people were sexist, homophobic assholes and nothing was ever gonna change so I dicked off. NO REGRETS.

 

Stay Tuned for a hilarious article about sexting Jack told me to write because it’s a thing he probably thinks people still do, lol forever.

 

EDIT: I have taken on board the advice in the comments, and cleaned up the grammar and spelling a bit. Sorry about that.

  1. I’m really proud of you Sinead. I’m proud to say you’re my friend, and I’m proud to say that you did the right thing. Well done <3

    • C
    • August 24th, 2012

    I’ll read your sex columns! You should totes print out the article on consent in droves and staple-attack it to the foreheads of Midnight staff. Or their genitals. Whatevs

    • Krissy
    • August 24th, 2012

    Make your own paper and call it Fuck that Noise… I really like that phrase!!

  2. Reblogged this on Cork Feminista and commented:
    An insight into the sexism and homophobia that still exists across third level…. right here in 2012. Well done to the writer of this post for having the courage to stand up to crap like this.

      • Brian
      • August 25th, 2012

      “an insight into the sexism and homophobia that still exists across third level” – Midnight and their affiliate low lifes arn’t represenative of third level students.

  3. Sinead, well done on taking a stand – not an easy thing to do. Massive respect for you! Have reblogged to Cork Feminista. Hope you don’t mind. Linda

    • Elaine S
    • August 24th, 2012

    Imma find him….Imma ruin him. You know it.

    • Viki W.
    • August 24th, 2012

    Uber proud of you hon. Someday your mad writing skillz will make you loads of money with a fantastic team of excellent non-sexist, non-dickhead people and everything will be rainbows forever. SOON. -V

    • JimBob
    • August 24th, 2012

    I don’t blame Josh for not apologizing, he didn’t insult you personally and private conversations (although in a public medium) on his own Facebook page should not be used as grounds to fire someone from their job. In the end he’s still in a job and here you are writing a bitter blog.

    • As you can see from this bitter blog, I didn’t quit becaus of what happened on his page, I quit because of what happened on the website he was writing for that allowed him to publish homophobic things. The sexism was also not on his private page, it was on the Contributers facebook group, which is not private and is a workspace, therefore it was unacceptable.

    • I hold all my private conversations in group places personally

  4. SO beyond proud of you dude, well done for taking a stand

    • And
    • August 25th, 2012

    You’re nowhere near as good at writing as you think you are

    • And in other unrelated news, you have my surname

      • Mike
      • August 25th, 2012

      To be fair, “And”, the writing is actually pretty decent. But I guess you’re pretty good at leaving rude, anonymous put-downs on the internet. Maybe you should look into following that as a career option.

        • And
        • August 25th, 2012

        No, she writes as if she’s this speaking aloud. That’s quite simply one of the most incorrect ways to write anything. Add to that a complete ignorance of how to avoid using brackets after every second sentence, the bizarre use of square brackets in places, misspellings, ‘Imma’ used as if a legitimate word, then you have a bad writer, but still arrogant enough to decide herself ‘pretty good at this writing shit’.

      • That’s a fair criticism, but it doesn’t make College Times any less sexist

      • Emily K
      • August 25th, 2012

      Actually, this style is heavily influenced by a technique known as ‘stream of consciousness’ writing. It’s a legitimate technique that has been around for quite some time. If you didn’t know that then you’re nowhere near as discerning as you think you are and certainly shouldn’t be this facetious about the whole thing.

      Also, writing has evolved. In the internet era, it’s now as important to hold your audiences attention throughout the entire piece as it is to write according to ‘the rules’. This means that colloquialisms are coming to the fore in writing as they can make a piece engaging and relevant to a wider range of readers.

      Finally, if you don’t like it, don’t read it.

      Well done Sinead. Sorry it happened but well done for sticking to your guns.

    • Absolutely: she is not a writer. She incorporates so many excruciating, sub-literate Americanisms as she attempts to carve out an identity from her youthful insecurity (I know that phrase is almost a tautology). There is no excuse for such slavish attachment to done-to-death ghetto cliché and scatty shite-speak. I felt I was trapped at the manicurist’s. She loves the act of writing but she does not love language itself, nor respect it. In the ghetto, her torrential prose would be clocked as “ratchet”.

      She is also greatly deluded that her readers will follow her to the bitter end of her Tolstoyan blog post, which is a sign of desperately poor judgement in a writer. I suspect narcissism is involved. (“Oh yeah, ya think?”) She needs to amputate this fucker down to a third of its length; self-discipline is an elementary writer’s skill. I jettisoned from this thing early and scrolled…and scrolled in disbelief at the nosebleed length of it. Some women are size queens, and this one seems to want it long. Never mind the quality – palp that duration.

      Laughably and ironically, the conclusion says, “TL;DR”…after writing 4,500 words! That is not writing; it is compulsion.

      • Some of that is very fair criticism, just felt I should point out that I’m not a woman and would rather not be misgendered, or see anybody use the fact that a person may have a female gender as the basis for an insult. Saying ‘women are size queens’ does not make your criticism of my writing more valid; it makes you sound sexist. I hope that the style of this blog post did not completely distract you from the content of it.

  5. You did the right thing. Could feel blood boiling while I was reading the blog post – can not believe this kind of thing still seems acceptable to some people. Would love to see the other columns :)

  6. And :
    No, she writes as if she’s this speaking aloud. That’s quite simply one of the most incorrect ways to write anything. Add to that a complete ignorance of how to avoid using brackets after every second sentence, the bizarre use of square brackets in places, misspellings, ‘Imma’ used as if a legitimate word, then you have a bad writer, but still arrogant enough to decide herself ‘pretty good at this writing shit’.

    That’s almost completely ridiculous, doubly so for the mistake in the first sentence. Almost every blogger and columnist ever writes as though they’re having a conversation with you, if not telling you something outright, as is the purpose of many advice columns in general and this article in particular. Bizarre use of square brackets? It’s a style choice, and a consistent one. Fine if you don’t like it, but it does not automatically denote bad writing. The amount of brackets and misspellings I’ll let you have, but since your main point is about it being allowed I would consider those fairly minor quibbles. You know who write as though they’re orating? Advice columnists.

    Anyway, this is awesome, nice noise fucking.

    • Sean
    • August 25th, 2012

    Interesting article, and it’s really disappointing you were treated this way. I haven’t been in UCD in awhile, so I browsed through the College Times website after reading this. I really, really wish I hadn’t. I’m genuinely depressed.

    Apparently, it’s now de rigueur to call women ‘bitches’. The sex advice section is embarrassing — jokes about cumming on women’s faces, presumably to make the jocks titter while they read the paper on the bus. This is the type of inane, casually-misogynistic humor that comes from pub talk and too much Family Guy.

    You make a good point in arguing for a valid sex advice column. I tell you from extensive research during my time in college, college-aged men know fuck all about sex. In fact, drunken fumbles with straight men in college revealed to me that straight men barely know how their own anatomy works, so I shudder to think what they’re like when presented with a vulva.

    Anyway, I digress. Here’s what to do:

    1. Be pleased. You’re already making noise. I found this link from a friend’s Facebook page. I’ve seen references to this on Twitter, too. Well done. Check your hit count; it must be up significantly.

    2. Start writing like an adult. You are a good writer, like you say. However, And makes a good point above. The use of ‘Imma’, etc. is a bit irritating. If you want people to take your case seriously, you need to write seriously. That doesn’t mean stuffy — it just means avoiding colloquialisms (‘Imma’) and Internet-isms (‘zing’).

    3. Tidy this piece up. Make it a bit shorter and more cohesive. I found the story hard to follow at points because of the use of first names (people whom I don’t know, and fair enough, I accept that this piece was aimed at an audience who is probably familiar with the protagonists). I have a little experience editing — email me if you’re interested.

    4. Gather and save evidence. Send your story to the national press. The media world is very incestuous. I think they’d be quite interested. Pitch it to the Irish Times. You have a shot.

    Good luck. I remember how casually homophobic and sexist UCD was when I was there a few years ago. It drove me nuts, especially since I’d always had this idea that university would be a liberal and enlightened place.

    • Hey Sean,

      Thank you for the constructive criticism and also the rad advice. I am about to re- edit this piece in order to fix the spelling [turns out the wordpress spellcheck is very hit and miss], and while I’m at it I’ll remove the colloquialisms, or at least the most glaring ones. It also looks like there was a format glitch for about a thousand words, I can see why that block of text would be hard to follow, thanks for pointing it out!

      However, this is my blog, and if you look through my other posts, there’s a very definite style to the place. I don’t want this to be totally jarring, you know? You if the piece stays a little informal, that won’t keep me up at night. I’m also a little informal.

      As regards sending it to the national press, I obviously would ‘adult’ it a lot more for that, and I am no editor. If you are serious about giving me a hand with that, I would be wicked grateful for any pointers/ a read through before I send it off.

      Once again, thank you for your comment, man, some top notch pointers there.

      • Please, please stop using the word ‘rad’. Please.

      • Alas, I cannot. Sorry if it bothers you, but it’s a load bearing word in my vocabulary, and that’s unlikely to change unless I am doing professional work.

    • Sean
    • August 25th, 2012

    He makes a valid point. Outsiders (like me) who are interested and have stumbled across this post find the style hard to follow, but I’ve left more detailed (and I hope constructive) feedback below.

    • Josh
    • August 25th, 2012

    I honestly can’t say enough good things about this article. I found it through a friend and having no prior knowledge of CT and their silly silly conduct, found myself saying gwan and fuck yeah out loud when you handed their sexist ass to them.
    Thank you kindly
    Josh
    (yeah unfortunately I share my name with that idiot)

  7. Hey Sinead, well done on having the courage to stand up to bigotry and the closing of ranks within privilege. And, also, for documenting your struggle. I really admire what you’ve done here!

    • Scott
    • August 25th, 2012

    You spelled ‘contributor’ wrong a couple of times, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was purely out of blind rage! ‘grats etc. :)

  8. I hadn’t heard of CollegeTimes before this piece and it sounds like I’ve dodged a bullet. I do hope you find somewhere to publish the pieces you’ve written, Ireland could do with a decent sex column. Best of luck going forward!

  9. dolanchap :
    Alas, I cannot. Sorry if it bothers you, but it’s a load bearing word in my vocabulary, and that’s unlikely to change unless I am doing professional work.

    Are you American? I genuinely think that using words like “rad” “zing” and “Imma” really take away from whatever talent for writing you might have. If you want to make money at this game and use this blog to get your work out there, writing like an American teen is not going to get you paying work. I haven’t read your column in The College Times and the way you write your blog could put people off bothering with your professional work.

    Seriously, take the constructive criticism offered by And and Sean on board. You claim to be a talented writer but you are in no way proving that here.

    • I have taken Sean’s criticism on board, and have edited accordingly. As I said to him, the informal language I use in this blog is a style choice I have consciously made.

      I am not an American Teen. I also don’t think American Teens still say rad. As another commenter has said, the way I write this blog is also the way I talk. I am not using this blog to drum up commissions, I mostly use it to tell jokes. That is also a thing I do on purpose. This is where I show off my comedy stylings, not the many words I have learned.

      If you were to read anything I write seriously, then you would notice an entirely different vocabulary, an entirely different ‘voice’. This is because I am not entirely stupid, I do know how to write formally, and I know that that is more impressive.

      I understand that you may not approve of my oratory style here. That’s understandable. What I have aimed to do in this post is tell my own story, in my own words. One of those words is ‘rad’. I am sorry if that offends you, but I will not compromise the tone of my blog to fix that. I will, however, take it out when I send this story to other locations.

      My column on College Times was also informal in tone, because that’s the tone teenagers enjoy reading, and I aimed my column at 18-20 year olds. The stats on those posts will tell you how effective that choice was.

  10. Nothing much to say other than registering support. Despite what might be expected, college media can have a tendency to turn into a badly sexist, vaguely racist, definitely homophobic institution by virtue of being an extension of what the world in general would call the boys’ club but what’s more colloquially and obviously ‘the lads’. Which is bullshit, and you’re right and brave to fight it, both in the long and elaborate way you actually did it internally and then by not hesitating to actually blow it open when it didn’t get better.

  11. The hits on this posting seems to be mostly your mates. It’s not about being “style police”, it’s about not writing like a moron. If you enjoy using a style that makes your writing seem extremely poor while you simultaneously proclaim your wonderful talent, then good for you. Personally I don’t believe you have the talent to back up your claims in the slightest.

    But whatever floats your boat. Enjoy your blogging.

    • I’m sorry you have such strong feelings about the word rad. But thank you for taking the time to comment so often, I appreciate what you’re saying. I just disagree about it, in this location.

      Also, I think it’s only fair to point out that I said I was ‘pretty good’ at writing. I don’t think that’s proclaiming anything wonderful, that’s a little unfair I think.

    • And on the subject of hits- I definitely do not have this many friends

    • M.
    • August 26th, 2012

    You know what, chinafoot? It’s possible this place is just too rad for you to stick around, and your stink of butthurt is getting to me. You, sir/madam, are clearly an ageist racist. You should take this constructive criticism. It’s good ’cause I said so, after all I am on the internet.
    PS lol whopper column, amirite? I totes rofl’dmao

    • C
    • September 5th, 2012

    Oh dear, never in my life have I read such a close minded bitter post. I think you really need to have a think about your initial reaction to a harmless comment and your abusive attack on someone who is clearly just like any other normal Irish guy. Everyone has slightly homophobic, sexist, racist, ageist, you name it tendencies no matter how all accepting they claim to be. How you can be so self assured is beyond me. You think because you are part of the LGBT community you have the right to rail against anyone who isn’t and therefore will never completely understand how a comment like “gay” which is increasingly common among everyone in Irish culture could be offensive. When there’s gay nights or gay friendly nights called FAG and CUNT and you really find a real lad’s lad slipping up in an otherwise excellent article and using a term like “gay” when I’m sure he could have phrased what he really meant more eloquently more offensive there is clearly something wrong with your priorities.
    As a proud member of the LGBT community I am asking you please stop giving yourself the authority to censor those who make even the slightest jab at being gay. There is nothing wrong with being straight and being clueless about what it is to be gay. There is nothing wrong with being a Irish lad and joking around making comments about girls. Being a sexist and being homophobic are very different from the little bit of ‘banter’ we all enjoy partaking in.
    In my opinion the college time’s obviously rather under enthusiastic response to your complaint and lack of attempt to keep you in their list of contributors has something to do with the poor writing style clearly exhibited above and it your following comments.
    For your own sake take a few days to calm down then go back to the original incidents in your own head and see if you reacted entirely rationally or did yourself and your various friends who were also involved just make each other angrier and more bitter.

      • Mo
      • September 25th, 2012

      Woah C, what is with the hostile reply?! I also am a proud member of the LGBT Community and somewhat agree with you, that there has been and will be phrases, comments or gestures from innocent ignorant people that we must let slip. However, this was national media! We all know that current slang quotes that are popular among young people are similiar to “That/He/She is so gay” while not actually meaning gay. This, I feel, can be put down to ignorance, however, a national media article, I disagree. If we are to allow all media the right to express “gay” as something derogatory then the problem will simply get worse.

    • Sami
    • September 6th, 2012

    Have to say as an incoming gay student, this whole thing is really sad and disappointing. I love writing and had hoped to get involved with them at some point, but like wtf. I get that its a student paper, but reading some of the stuff that was written by ‘the ladz’ I would have been shot for at leaving cert. Being young is not an excuse for poorly thought out and ignorant viewpoints. Then to just go delete everything as if nothing happened? Its a joke.

  12. Emily K :
    Actually, this style is heavily influenced by a technique known as ‘stream of consciousness’ writing.

    Proper stream of consciousness writing should not be confused with cracking open your skull and catching whatever pours out. It should be composed in a meticulous way, otherwise it tends towards the condition of chaos. For the technique to be successful, it requires artful control and dedicated labour. Joyce made it looks like effortless and fun spontaneity, but he was a master stylist, and it certainly was not.

    In the internet era…colloquialisms are coming to the fore in writing as they can make a piece engaging and relevant to a wider range of readers.

    This is simply an aplogia for low standards. A good writer engages by intelligence, style, and wit. One is never obliged to compromise standards in any medium. The internet contains all kinds of writing style; there is not just one proper voice, and there is no obligation to descend to the level of the lowest common denominator, especially with a university audience, which presumes in the reader a whisper of intellectual talent and the ability to pay attention to good writing that doesn’t have the ditsy whiff of bubble gum and nail varnish off it.

    Finally, if you don’t like it, don’t read it.

    Hear, hear: I didn’t like it and that is why I punched the red Abort button.

  13. dolanchap:
    The stats on those posts will tell you how effective that choice was.

    Your visitor statistics do not measure validation of your writing. For example, I did not like what I read, and others, above, shared my dislike, yet we all appear in your visitor count.

    • Also James Mitchell
    • April 8th, 2014

    I love how you forgot to mention that your articles weren’t posted because you are a terrible writer who constantly uses ‘Imma’ like an asshole.

    • That’s a thing I did on purpose because my articles were published, not only on CT [where they were removed from only at my request, and also by the way I was told they had gotten tons of views] but again on gaelick.ie, where they still are now, and also in various and sundry other websites. I’m not gonna disagree with you about me being an asshole who at one point said things like ‘Imma’, like most people I’m deeply embarrassed by almost everything I used to do when I was 22, but I felt like I should correct you on the ‘were never published’ thing. I suppose that’ll be me being an asshole again.

  1. September 3rd, 2012

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