Friday, April 17, 2015

Britt McHenry is on TV, ya'll.



A few years ago, I would have been jealous of Britt McHenry. A nice job at ESPN, talking to athletes, looking pretty. In 2004, when I dreamed of graduating from the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, ESPN was my dream job. 

Dreams die, obviously, and you find new ones. I found a new one that did not include being the brunette Erin Andrews. 

Now, from the outside looking in, I would never want to be Britt McHenry. Why? Because I value self awareness more than I value the ability to say “I’m on TV”.

The problem with Britt McHenry’s epic performance of “rant of a privileged asshole” is not that it was so over the top offensive, or something so deviant it can never be forgiven. It’s that it is so incredibly tired to anyone who has ever had a job that lack the luxury and glamor of say, an ESPN sidelines reporter. It's the Gwenyth Paltrow school of thought that pervades the minds of women like McHenry into thinking things like a steak cooked medium instead of medium rare and a $25 parking ticket equal a national crisis. You know this chick has without a doubt gone off on some poor waitress somewhere for not bringing her a lemon with her water. 

After I graduated from the University of Maryland in 2008 with my degree in English, not journalism, I worked at a bar. For nearly seven years. I cocktail waitressed, hostessed, bartended. I loved my job. But don’t think in those seven years I didn’t know what many people, mostly women, were thinking every time I came up to their high top in  a pair of heels and black work shorts. 

Working in a steakhouse in New York, I was privy to the countless hoards of privileged yuppies who seemed to think getting their boss lunch at UBS was on par to curing cancer and resurrecting Jesus. I’m familiar with the looks, I’m familiar with the whispers, and I’m familiar with the all out “get a real job, sweetie” and the “why don’t you actually get a degree” comments. 

But in all my years, I never felt the need to come back at these assholes who judge everyone in life by the just barely visible surface. I didn’t need to tell them I do in fact have a degree from a good college. That I was an editor at the school paper, that I published a book, ran a blog, have dated numerous athletes, hung with World Series and Stanley cup winners, have had numerous articles in different magazines go viral and that I am represented by a top TV literary agent in a top 3 agency in LA. That I’ve sat down for meetings with HBO, Showtime, AMC. Pitched shows. That I made more money than most working four days a week, traveled five times a year, lived on the Upper East side in a beautiful brownstone apartment and wanted for nothing, all while pursuing my dream of writing and enjoying my life. I didn't need to. Because unlike those men and women, I didn't feel the need to throw my shit out there to contend with them. I would never in all my life want their jobs and I certainly wouldn't want their personalities, whatever faux bragging rights they attached to both. 

Because the reality is, these people don’t care. Women like Britt McHenry, don’t care. Mean Girl syndrome isn’t quelled by that kind of knowledge. And what Britt McHenry displayed on that video is an overwhelming situation of mean girl insecurity. 

Her ability to rattle off the countless insults and self compliments reeks not only of insecurity, but of a mean girl desire to be better than someone, to say out loud SHE beat someone out in life. For all she knew, that woman is working a second job because a family member has cancer. Because her husband is sick, her mother is sick, because she wants to make sure her kid goes to college. Or yes, maybe she couldn’t go to college herself and simply took a job so she could be responsible and pay her bills. This comes from a meanness derived from a privilege women like McHenry have. The privilege of never needing to make ends meet. Of never having to take a job she wasn’t particularly proud of to make sure she paid her bills on time, to make sure she could afford a meal. This comes from a complete lack of understanding the reality of the world, that work and work ethic is not measured by the jobs that provide makeup and hair. I would love nothing more than to see McHenry in a dish pit, pulling glass wracks, cleaning out dog cages, wiping up spilled ranch dressing, rocking a bright red CVS vest, and then see if she still believes that a person’s worth can be measured by what they do to survive and pay the bills. 

The hilarious part is that McHenry seems to think ESPN hired her for her “brains” and “degree”. The harsh and sexist reality of course being that they hired her because men love nothing more than sex kittens and sports. No one is hiring this woman to be an investigative journalist in Ferguson, no one is sending her to do war reporting in Afghanistan, and no one is asking her opinion on foreign policy with Iran and Cuba. And the reason is because that personality she showed on that video is the exact representation of what this woman really brings to the table, what she is capable of, the level of “journalism” she provides. A selfish, vain, insecure, privileged, spoiled brat who more than likely could not do a job that did not rely, at least partially, on looks. And even if she could, she wouldn’t because it is so much easier relying on the “knock off Kendra Wilkinson” look she has going on to get where she needs to be. 

I have no sympathy for this girl, and if she gets fired, I have no doubt she’ll have a warm welcome at Fox News where her talents of being blonde, hot, and completely lacking awareness about her level of privilege and downright luck will be heralded as an essential skill set. 

Oh, and that apology? Absolute bullshit. Stressful situation? Cancer is a stressful situation. Getting in a car accident is a stressful situation. Not being able to pay rent on time is a stressful situation. Parking illegally and dealing with the consequences is stressful only to people who have never had the privilege of dealing with real stress in their life. 

“I’m on TV”. Yeah? So is Honey Boo Boo.


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