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Jezebel’s Mental Illness Problem

This article originally appeared on

Two recent Jezebel articles raise serious questions about the website’s perspective on mental illness.

Jezebel’s always been a hybrid of feminism and tabloid-esque gossip, and sometimes this is effective, and sometimes It’s not. But with two recent Jezebel blog posts focused on people living with mental illness, the latter is clearly at the expense of the former.  Jezebel often presents itself as the go to website for women interested in pop culture, but uncomfortable with its many demeaning and sexist realms.

But with these articles Jezebel is simply part of the frustrating cacophony.

In the middle of March, Jason Russell, the cofounder of Invisible Children was placed on psychiatric hold after being found naked, disorderly, and incoherent on the streets  of  a residential neighborhood in San Diego. It’s pretty obvious that Russell was not in his right mind.  Absolute certainty about what went down is impossible, but doctors have described his behavior as part of a brief psychotic breakdown, and he’s been involuntarily committed, so mental illness is a real possibility.

Nevertheless, Jezebel blogger Katie, J.M. Baker chronicled Russell’s breakdown with undisguised glee, in a blog post titled “Invisible Children Cofounder Arrested for Drunkenly Masturbating in Public.”  She writes “We’re not sure how to adequately express our shock and disbelief at the news that Jason Russell, one of Invisible Children’s co-founders and the star of the Kony 2012 campaign, was taken into custody last night for drunkenly masturbating in public.” Some readers ...

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