Sex and the Ivy

On The Best PR Stunt I Didn’t Pull

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elle December 27, 2007 @ 7:14 pm

NOTE: I very rarely comment on IvyGate anymore so anything you see posted there under my name is most likely NOT written by me.

Dear Internet (and by “Internet”, I mean ridiculously cowardly anonymous critics),

I’d like to thank you for turning me into a cold, hard bitch (or as the non-misogynists like to say: “strong, confident woman”). After a year’s worth of your constant battering, I’ve pretty much conditioned myself to not give a damn what anyone — including my sometimes-prudish classmates — think anymore.

Still, I find it hard not to respond when people accuse me of fabricating the entire nude photo scandal. Uh, not even sure what to say other than: 1) no, this is not a well-orchestrated PR stunt, and 2) you guys are insane and need to recover your faith in humanity. A few points of clarification:

1. I post entries retroactively quite often. The last entry I posted on “Sam” went up in November and was written over my sophomore spring break.
2. I’ve never claimed to be an authority on relationships. I tend to attract attached men and psychos, and in this case, both. Having my ex post nude photos of me doesn’t exactly up my “everywoman” quotient. Carrie Bradshaw, I am not.
3. My willingness to post photos of myself doesn’t warrant an utter invasion of privacy. Just because I’m okay with posting a suggestive seasonal image of myself doesn’t mean I’d be equally cool with naked photos that are totally out of my control. Check out Objectify This for a more thorough explanation of why the “she asked for it” theory doesn’t hold up.
4. The comments on my site are not organized by “positivity of feedback”, at least not by me. I use the Disqus commenting system which has a built-in ranking system for people to digg or bury comments. The critical statements probably rank lower because most of my readers are supporters rather than detractors.
5. IvyGate approached me about this, not the other way around and if there are naked photos of you floating around, I’m sure your response time would be swift as well. I told Maureen from IvyGate that I’d much prefer for them to not write about this since attention is what fuels Sam. To say that I “allowed” them to post an entry and images of me is a gross misinterpretation of how journalism works. Permission was never mine to give.
6. Ever hear of IPs? Bet you anything that the IP to the links left on IvyGate and the IP matching the user who uploaded the photos came from Philadelphia.

Besides all of the above, can we please take into consideration the enormous burden this has placed on me the past week? I have three papers to finish and instead, I’m calling the Philadelphia police department on a daily basis and scouring the web for lawyers in Cambridge. I’m home in California with my friends and family and my number one concern at the moment is how to take legal action against someone even though I’m only 20 years old and it’s not like I took a course on suing psycho exes. It’s fucking Christmas. Gee, who wouldn’t want to be doing this for their holiday season?

Yes, Internet, I write explicitly on my blog about sex and get personal with my columns about relationships but when did brutally honest prose translate into a fabricated sex scandal? Yes, when it comes to landing an agent and a book deal, all publicity is good publicity but gee, maybe someone’s vindictive little scheme just backfired and karma’s on my side. And hell yes, I’m shameless, if by “shameless” you mean I refuse to feel bad or ashamed or embarrassed just because my society has some major hang-ups regarding sexually liberated women. Unless you know what it’s like to be a girl in this world, fuck your ideas about what being female should entail.

You seem to think that your put-downs and slurs ought to affect me but I am not going into hiding just because you hurled “whore” or “fat” or “bitch” from behind a computer screen. “I saw Lena Chen acting slutty on the shuttle!” “Lena looked really fugly at dinner today” Uh, do you have any idea how CREEPY you sound? If you truly loathe me, stop posting stalkerish “sightings” of me online or at least leave your name if you’re so proud of your observations that you must declare them to the world. I’m comfortable enough with myself and the way I live my life that I can share my thoughts and experiences without caring what people think. I can sign my name to a controversial opinion; how many unidentified commenters can do the same with their derogatory remarks that are so easy to sling at me from behind the guise of anonymity?

Oh and one more thing: I go to a school where half of last year’s workbound class chose the road more often taken (i.e. financial services). My detractors point to my reputation as evidence that no employer will ever hire me. What a shame, since there’s nothing more I’d like than to perform discounted cash flow analysis for the rest of my young adult life. The fact that Googling “Lena Chen” leads to this website means that my blog has effectively saved me from a fate in a cubicle worse than hell itself. So what if going corporate isn’t an option? I’ve wanted to write since I was 8. I wanted to go to journalism school before I got into this place and was brainwashed into the cult of the Ivy. So if all I’ve gotten out of this blog is the clarity of knowing that I should be doing what I love, then I’ve already learned more than anything four years at Harvard could have taught.

In conclusion, Internet, you can either man up and disagree with me to my face or you can take your warped ideals and shove it up your unenlightened ass.

Hate on someone else,

Lena