I don't follow xoJane very often (*ahem* ever), but I have to truly applaud them for how they handled the It Happened to Me Yoga post. They featured two responses and even Jen, the author of the original piece, came through with something to say.
Pia Glenn wrote with some supreme side eye:
Black women are continually treated like animals in a zoo, our bodies on display for you to marvel at or pity, but ultimately walk away from, none the wiser and having affected no positive change for all of your tears and hand-wringing.
The assigning editor of xoJane, Rebecca Carroll, responded with:
After taking a step back, halfway through my fourth week as an editor at xoJane, I realized that in all likelihood if I were a reader who hadn't had the initial conversation with Jen and knew the background and context of the story, I would have been equally as offended as the most critical commenters. Because I SHOULD have asked Jen to do more work and questioning before writing about her experience. Instead, I read it too quickly before running it by only one other editor at xoJane, and published it without giving a thorough enough consideration to the response of the xoJane community, and readers at large.
Even the author of the post, Jen, commented on Pia's piece:
The piece was deeply tactless, problematic, and self-centered, and I am to blame for that. I am sorry.
xoJane's response was remarkable for a few reasons:
- It acknowledged the problematic nature of the piece.
- It explained the reasoning behind why it was published.
- They treated their readers with respect.
It was kind of refreshing to see that from a website. Instead of ignoring the problem, xoJane recognized the problematic nature of the piece. Instead of wallowing in the wrong, they acknowledged some fault (but no formal apology) and I'm ok with that. The fallout wasn't wasted; it created further discussion. They could have ignored the complaints and criticisms. I'm proud they did not.
If you hate-read the original piece, I recommended that you read the three responses. They are very well crafted as well as sincere.
Anyone else have thoughts on how this was handled? Could they have done a better job?