Reply to Susie Bright
by Aura Bogado
June 14, 2005
I read your response to “Hustling the Left” and again, I am deeply disappointed. You seem to believe that I owe you something because you did not write a “hit” piece on me, and believe I didn’t give you the benefit of the doubt. You contend that you somehow performed a “good deed”, and that I have somehow punished you.
Susie, how am I supposed to know if Hustler published “the whole truth or any accurate picture of [your] views” if you refused to contact me after I reached out to you? I attempted to contact you by email for months before this went to print. Since February, I have wanted and waited to hear from you, and you have not responded:
From: Aura Bogado
Sent: Thursday, February 10, 2005 10:11 PM
To: firstname.lastname@example.org Cc: email@example.com
Subject: from Aura Bogado
This is a difficult email for me to send, particularly since I feel you made several uninformed assumptions about me in your interview for Hustler and attacked me unfairly- but I would like to talk to you.
I got your email from [name withheld] and hope that you'll get back to me. I am generally at the phone number listed below 6am-9pm Monday-Fridays, though I don't answer it when I'm on deadline or on-air. I would rather talk by phone and avoid email, so that we can have a more real discussion. If you send me your phone number, I'll be happy to call you sometime this weekend.
You are correct that I don’t know about your family, but I do know that as a white woman, you are afforded privileges I will never know of. I don’t need to know what you have or have not written about “racism, class and sexual representation” in the past to conclude that you are using your white privilege to avoid the issues that women of color have brought up about Hustler today your response to me is an indication of it, you do not approach the way Hustler is co-opting the left while publishing sexually violent images. Your contention that I somehow owe you something for not publishing a hit piece about me also illustrates the racist paternalism with which you are willing to approach me. Please remember, however, that you are not in a position to protect me, and you are surely not my white savior.
Your suggestion that I’m taking the easy way by slamming Hustler, saying that “[i]t's a lot easier to sling mud at nekkid pictures” than it is to attack corporate media is offensive and patriarchal. I think I am informed enough to know when I need to take action, and I certainly don’t need you suggesting what to do or how to do it. It is not surprising to me that you bring up the point that many white males have raised since my article: “straight” media perpetuates sexism and racism in its pages, without critical critique. First, this is wholly untrue- from Media Studies classes to movies like Outfoxed, there is a wave of meaningful critique around corporate media. Second, such media institutions are not attempting to blatantly co-opt the left, as Hustler is clearly attempting to do. Third, if the New York Times, for example, were to publish cartoons anywhere close to the cartoons that Hustler printed of me and many others, they would certainly get slammed much, much harder ! than the way Hustler does.
Finally, you say that you consider your own earnestness a fault. If that is so, I wonder why you could not earnestly respond to a kind email I sent 4 months ago.