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Acceptance Speech

About twenty-four hours ago, I didn’t know where I was going to be living at the end of this month. I didn’t know if I was going to be able to live, on my own power, by the end of this month. The company I worked for, for about three years, was hit hard by the recession; it started to respond, to lay people off and to cut their hours, last summer. After I had my hours cut a few times, my boyfriend, with whom I was living, made me a proposition: my blog was taking off, I had readers, why didn’t I start trying to sell the writing a little harder? He would support me, for the year it took to make that happen, so that I could launch some manner of media career.

We made it for about six months. I was working part-time (very, VERY part-time) for my company for a while, and then I was working on writing for other people seven days a week, so it didn’t even make sense for me to do that any more. And then the work started to dry up, and we learned that this whole Death of Paying Media thing was, for real, no joke. (Oh, how I wish I had not been a dick about the importance of local papers! AH, WELL.) So, here I was: on my own, scraping together enough money to live a few hundred dollars at a time, in some senses more successful than I had ever been in my life, and in some senses just flat-out fucked and unable to support myself in any way whatsoever. So, I swallowed my pride, and I did something that was very hard for me: I asked people to support Tiger Beatdown financially, with donations, so that it and I could go on. And then the impossible happened.

You made it possible for me, for at least one more month, to keep my apartment. And my Internet connection. And food. And, most importantly, you made it possible for me to keep working on Tiger Beatdown.

The thing is, a Big Fancy Media Career is exciting; it’s nice to be able to call yourself a “writer,” and all that. But it’s not necessarily what matters to me. In my last post, I said that people who worked in feminist media did so because they cared, because even if they could be making more money somewhere else, this was the work that mattered to them. And it’s true: working in this very, very, very financially challenging sector of the media (and, yes, pretty much all sectors of the media are very, very, very financially challenged right now – but this one? It’s been suffering pretty hard for a pretty long time, as far as I can gauge) demands a commitment to rewards that are not in any way financial. So it’s nice, really nice, to be linked to by people I respect, to have my writing solicited, to be taken semi-seriously by the professionals whose work I love. It’s nice, but it’s not what matters most. What matters most to me is the girl who e-mailed me to say that reading Tiger Beatdown gave her the strength to file a sexual harassment complaint at work. Or the girl who e-mailed to say that me taking a chance and writing about my break-up made her feel like she could break down the barriers of shame and denial, the obligation to be tough, the fears of her emotions being “dangerous, or burdensome” to others, in her words, enough to write about being a rape survivor. Or the girl who e-mailed me to say that my blog had made her want to start her own blog, and that girl turning out to be C.L. Fucking Minou, if you can believe that. That is what matters.

But I reached a point at which running Tiger Beatdown became financially unviable; at which, in order to keep performing this service (and I do conceive of it as a service) I needed to be compensated. And I asked you, if the blog mattered to you, to make it possible for at least one more month.

You did. I still can’t believe it. But you fucking did it.

Maggie; Clara; Lindsay; Samantha; Mekhala; Kate; Jennifer; Adrianna; Scott; A’Llyn; Courtney; Alexandra; Lauren; Katherine; Casey; Kristin; Paul; Arwen; Katherine also; Donna; Hannah; Arin; David; Hayley; Juliet; Julia; KrisAnne; Zoe; Michael; Simon; Sophie; C.L. (C.L.!); Lee; Maura; Rachel; Rachel also; Samantha; Olivia; Joshua; Erin; Shannon; David; Rebecca; Amanda (Amanda!); Rebecca also; Liz; Laura; Katherine also, again; Tessa; Kira, who somehow managed to send me a donation without me asking for it at the very moment I was breaking up with my boyfriend, and William, who did this twice in the past month but kicked it off in the first place and whose e-mails are always kinder than I have any reason to expect or deserve: thank you. You, all of you, are directly responsible for the continued existence of Tiger Beatdown. And, you know, me.

And there are others I have to thank, too: thanks to Melissa McEwan, for talking me through the business end of running a blog multiple times, and each time stressing the importance of donations, and for being one of the very first strangers to have faith in this blog. Thanks to Clay Shirky, for doing the same, and for helping me to learn how to get published elsewhere. Thanks to Cara Kulwicki, for her tireless support, veteran perspective, and practical advice. Thanks to Jill Filipovic, Lauren Bruce, Chally, Sally, and all at Feministe, even the ones I haven’t gotten the chance to e-mail or chat with yet: I am honored to work with you. Thanks to Jessica Valenti. Thanks to Amanda Marcotte. Thanks to Kate Harding. Thanks to Sarah Hepola, Kelsey Wallace, Kjerstin Johnson, Richard Adams, Theresa Malone, Sasha Belenky, Ann Friedman, and anyone anywhere who has had the patience to edit me or solicit my writing.  Thanks to Joanne, who is still waiting for me to do my best. Thanks to Chelsea, B. Michael, Amanda Hess, and C.L. Minou,  for being a part of this enterprise and making me less overworked and less alone. Thanks to Kelly Noonan and Elizabeth Seward, for telling me to write and to put what I wrote on the Internet – to Kelly, for sitting me down a thousand times and telling me that I was beautiful and brilliant and successful and I was born to do this particular kind of writing, and for making me believe it; to Elizabeth, for telling me to heed that voice, the one you hear when you are down and out and broken and it seems like nothing and no-one can save you, the voice that says “write this.” Thanks to the others, who e-mailed me or had lunch with me or recommended me elsewhere, whose names I won’t drop here because I don’t know if they want to be associated with me in the public square, but: oh, my God, what an honor. Thanks to anyone, anywhere, who ever linked to this blog, or mentioned this blog, or recommended this blog: it’s just me alone in a room, don’t you realize that? But you treat it like it matters, and that makes me able to believe that it does. And thanks to my boyfriend, the very first person to ever read a post on Tiger Beatdown, for calling me a “writer,” for your belief in me, and for the six months. I won’t forget that. I will never forget that. And I will always owe you more than I can say.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Red_Riding_Hood

They call writing a “solitary” profession. It’s a lie. You might be sitting by yourself when you do it, but it can’t happen without the support and help of countless other people. Right now, right here, sitting in my parents’ study and looking out at the snowdrifts, I am less alone than I have ever been in my life. I might be crying, but it’s the good sort of crying. The kind they do at the Oscars, I guess. I feel very Gwyneth Paltrow about it all. Thanks to my publicist! Thanks to Al Gore, for inventing the Internet! You see, if I go on, I will get carried away. So, before the power of my sentimentality calls Dido down from the heavens to serenade you all: thank you, thank you, thank you, thank all of you, for making me a writer, for making me believe I can do some good in this world, and for making it possible for me to survive doing what I love. Thank you for Tiger Beatdown. It’s not mine, it never was: it’s yours. You gave it to me. It’s the most precious gift I’ve ever received in my life.

Now. Let us get down to ladybusiness, shall we?

25 Comments

  1. Dorian wrote:

    I wasn’t able to donate. And I rarely comment.

    But I have been a reader for a long time, and I’m so glad you do what you do. And if anyone deserves money for doing what they do, you do.

    PS: There still seems to be a bit of a byline problem.

    Wednesday, February 17, 2010 at 7:23 am | Permalink
  2. Sady wrote:

    @Dorian: OH MY GOD! I FAIL IT! I FAIL ALL OF IT! Take the money back, I am terrible!

    Ha, just kidding. You cannot! It is my money now, and I have used it to take the time to fix the freaking byline problem. STILL HAVE NO IDEA how that even happened, by the way. Because I’m an Internet professional, and the magic typing box is unruly and does not obey my whims.

    Wednesday, February 17, 2010 at 7:31 am | Permalink
  3. tess wrote:

    Aw, Sady, I’m all teary now! I am genuinely grateful to have had the opportunity to contribute to your work. Some days, when I am so frustrated with the world that I want to crawl into bed and cry, and I am furious at the terrible things that are happening and all the attacks on modern feminism, I come here, and the thing that I think is impossible happens: I laugh. You write about all these issues that make me rage and storm and cry, and then you make me laugh about them. Your writing saves my life some days.

    Wednesday, February 17, 2010 at 9:02 am | Permalink
  4. charley wrote:

    oh my god, yay! this post made me so happy that I kind of teared up too.

    Wednesday, February 17, 2010 at 9:09 am | Permalink
  5. William wrote:

    Sady, I take exception. My emails are exactly the right amount of kind.

    As a fellow midwestern refugee, I too think humility is a vital character component. But it can be taken too far. I know some incredible, brilliant, accomplished people — mainly women, I’m sorry to say — that refuse to hear one positive word about themselves.

    I used to be polite and indulge them. Why make them visibly uncomfortable? But now I say: fuck it. I am going to tell awesome people they are awesome until they give in and admit it. I will do it for YEARS if necessary. Why? Well, it’s good for them, sure. But also, I demand a better world, and overly humble rockstars like yourself are the ones I want creating it.

    Wednesday, February 17, 2010 at 9:20 am | Permalink
  6. smadin wrote:

    I’ve said this often enough that I worry it might be getting creepy, but you really are one of the best writers I know of, anywhere in this great blagoweb of ours.

    You do important work, and I’m thrilled that you’re able to continue. I fully intend to participate in your future pledge drives, and if at some point there are tote bags and/or coffee mugs in the offing, so much the better! (Though I’ll just mention again that subscription options would be nice :-)

    Wednesday, February 17, 2010 at 9:50 am | Permalink
  7. Gayle Force wrote:

    Sady? Thanks.

    http://unnaturalforces.blogspot.com/2010/02/holy-shit.html

    Wednesday, February 17, 2010 at 9:56 am | Permalink
  8. William wrote:

    @smadin: Whoa, yes, a subscription option would be great. Despite best intentions, I am going to get busy and fail to notice that Sady has not made the donation button an obvious part of her site (cough, cough) or done another pledge drive. Being able to have my robots send her money would keep me from the embarrassed feeling of failure that will otherwise surely result.

    @Gayle Force: Nicely written. You have yourself a new subscriber!

    Wednesday, February 17, 2010 at 10:42 am | Permalink
  9. arielle wrote:

    i would subscribe. i subscribe to the new yorker. i would pay the same for this. i cannot make a donation this month – i also am verging on the unemployed – AND i adore this blog and i am so grateful.

    Wednesday, February 17, 2010 at 10:45 am | Permalink
  10. Sady, I was out of town, and did not see the previous post. I donate tonight, ‘kay?

    And Valentine’s Day review was totes awesome, and I hope you’re feeling okay.

    (And I stop with the overfamiliar before I embarrass myself further. Love your blog!)

    Wednesday, February 17, 2010 at 10:48 am | Permalink
  11. Laima wrote:

    I, too, love your writing, and think you’re amazing. I hope I’ll be able to afford donating in the future. (I’ve been out of work almost a year, and finances are tight.)

    Wednesday, February 17, 2010 at 11:05 am | Permalink
  12. The Best Kelly wrote:

    Got a little teary on my lunch at work while reading this! I’m so proud of you and happy for you. I plan to give my donation in the form of many Lush products for you to have a nice bubble bath :-) That and hugs.

    Wednesday, February 17, 2010 at 11:48 am | Permalink
  13. Juliet wrote:

    You should definitely create some kind of subscription program so we can donate to you regularly. I mostly lurk- I don’t feel like I have much to contribute to the discussion- but I would love to be able to contribute financially on a regular basis.

    Also- it is very exciting to gt a shout out on Tiger Beatdown!! Woo!

    Wednesday, February 17, 2010 at 12:18 pm | Permalink
  14. Maggie wrote:

    Oh good!

    Now we can has subscription program plz?

    Wednesday, February 17, 2010 at 5:54 pm | Permalink
  15. Erin wrote:

    When are ads going up?

    Wednesday, February 17, 2010 at 7:24 pm | Permalink
  16. C.L. Minou wrote:

    I was happy to help out what I could. When I first read Tiger Beatdown, I was more than just blown away by your wit, wisdom, and creative use of expletives–I also realized that there might be a way for me to say some of my own things as well, a way where I could talk about my life without being personal, and a way to use my experiences to provide a window on the things I’m most passionate about.

    I learned that from you, Sady. And I’m still learning. Most days, I don’t ever get anywhere close to what you do, and those are still good days for me.

    It is an honor to post here, and it has been ever since that first day when I came in and you’d thoughtfully left a box of freshly sharpened exclamation points on my desk.

    Also, I look forward to the vast merchandising empire for Tiger Beatdown, including a C.L. Minou “It’s all about Teh Tranz” coffee mug.

    Wednesday, February 17, 2010 at 10:10 pm | Permalink
  17. Donation was sent! :)

    Thursday, February 18, 2010 at 7:09 am | Permalink
  18. Peter wrote:

    Aw, tearjerker. You are a wonderful writer.

    Thursday, February 18, 2010 at 8:30 am | Permalink
  19. DavidC wrote:

    Coffee mugs with select snippets of blog post printed around the outside!

    Then when I have guests over they can pretend to be listening to me and instead get to experience your blog.

    …and then they’ll be hooked, subscribe, donate, and buy coffee mugs of their own.

    Thursday, February 18, 2010 at 9:31 am | Permalink
  20. Lily wrote:

    Its rare that something you read really changes how you perceive the world. Its rarer still when that something is constantly updated and hilarious! Lets keep you in business, lady!

    Thursday, February 18, 2010 at 10:54 am | Permalink
  21. Cara wrote:

    Sady, I just want to say that you are fabulous. That is all.

    Thursday, February 18, 2010 at 4:10 pm | Permalink
  22. Adrianna wrote:

    We are a community. The more I read/write here in the blog-world, the more I realize that. We depend on one another, we draw strength from one another. We support and up lift and occasionally call one another out.
    And we love you, Sady. The Community has spoken!
    We are BEGGING YOU to let us throw money at you.
    You are awesome. You are smart and funny and just the right combination of cynical and hopeful. You frequently rescue me from a job where I am one of two women and the men don’t think very much of us. You are tough and humble and gutsy and you’ve seriously changed my life. You’ve given me the strength to own my feminism, the courage to drastically alter my circumstances by speaking up when bad shit happens.
    You have drastically improved my quality of life.
    Own it. Post a permanent “Donate” button when you can. Let us pay you for something you clearly deserve money for.

    Friday, February 19, 2010 at 1:10 am | Permalink
  23. Erin wrote:

    I think I’ll wait until after ads are up to donate. Right now, I feel like I’d be donating to keep the site ad free, and I don’t care whether a site is ad free.

    Monday, February 22, 2010 at 12:03 pm | Permalink
  24. Sady wrote:

    @Erin: That makes some sort of sense! Right now we are waitlisted for consideration with some folks. I don’t know when that waitlist status changes, so in the meantime direct fundraising and merchandising seem like our best options.

    Monday, February 22, 2010 at 1:59 pm | Permalink
  25. Awww, Sady! Editing your writing was a total breeze! I hope to do more of it someday, and I am beyond glad that Tiger Beatdown will be continuing. You are super.

    Thursday, February 25, 2010 at 3:48 am | Permalink