Anorak News | Shit patronising bloggers say about Shit Girls Say

Shit patronising bloggers say about Shit Girls Say

by | 12th, January 2012

BY NOW, the pattern of internet sensations – how they take off and the mixed reactions they provoke – is so familiar it seems to follow a ready-made script. A YouTube video, Twitter account or catch-phrase is launched. It spreads via blogs and social networking sites, provokes a blend of amusement and offense, and inspires spin-offs and theories about how internet memes are spawned and why. As the phenomenon goes viral, its progenitors are courted by the media. Sometimes they even get a book deal or are asked to produce a sitcom. The meme eventually fades, giving way to the next online sensation.

Similarly, the latest meme, “Shit Girls Say, had a rapid rise on the internet and caused both hilarity and consternation. Some commentators are apparently worried that the millions of people who are viewing, laughing at and re-posting the original “Shit Girls Say” videos and their many spin-offs are doing so for all the wrong reasons. While they totally get it, they say, other, less enlightened, internet-users may not – and so the meme must die.

It all started when two Toronto-based comics launched a Twitter account – @shitgirlssay – where they, with great prolificacy, posted the caricatured musings of a fictional, young, female scatterbrain. With lines like “I’m such a good gift-giver”, “I could really use a hug” and “I keep thinking today’s Tuesday”, the account quickly attracted thousands of followers, caught the attention of a few popular bloggers and became the subject of a number of newspaper articles. Now, nine months down the line, it has nearly 750,000 “tweeps”. In December, the concept was adapted to a YouTube video series, with cameos by Juliette Lewis. It went viral in a matter of days, attracting millions of viewers. It has also inspired numerous spin-off videos, like “Shit Asian Girls Say”, “Shit Black Girls Say” and “Shit Gay Guys Say”.

Yes, it’s getting old… but the latest and most buzzing spin-off, “Shit White Girls Say… To Black Girls” by Franchesca Ramsey, has reignited the discussion about stereotyping that the Toronto-comics’ Twitter account provoked, and has led some to ask whether people are laughing at the videos for the “right” reasons.

Some commentators apparently doubt that the millions watching and re-posting the videos truly get that these are caricatures. They fear that people are only laughing at the videos because they confirm their prejudiced outlooks, and that they simply don’t understand that there could be a serious message behind some of these videos.

For instance, one writer on a feminist blog reflected on comments describing the “Shit White Girls Say…” video as a funny observation with a serious message. She assured readers that she appreciates good humour and “the opportunity to use comedy to bring awareness to difficult issues”, but added: “I’m just really suspect of why they are so hugely popular.” In other words, she gets it, but do the masses? She had laughed at the video herself, she admitted, but started feeling uncomfortable when it got more and more attention: “I have trouble believing that this many people are interested in seeing racism outed in nuanced ways. My gut feeling was that people on the internet like to watch women make fun of each other (the same way they like to watch people of color) or they just like to make fun of women.” In other words, the videos made her laugh and think for the right reasons, but are others as thoughtful?

Over on the Huffington Post, another female commentator demanded that the “racist, sexist” Shit Girls Say meme should end – but only after giving the impression that she herself got Ramsey’s message. In other words, whatever the intentions of the video creators, the message that a majority of people will take from it is Not Okay.

So, perhaps someone should make a video called “Shit I Get But the Prejudiced Masses Don’t”?

Visit Nathalie Rothschild’s personal website here. Follow her on Twitter @n_rothschild.

Posted: 12th, January 2012 | In: Key Posts, Reviews Comment | TrackBack | Permalink