June 25, 2015
Thought Catalog is website where anyone with an opinion, a moderately sufficient grasp of the English language, and a word processor can submit their work in the hopes of it being published. Their entire site is built upon a platform of a “value-neutral editorial policy” and the belief that “all thinking is relevant.” Spoiler alert: all thinking is not relevant. This isn't elementary school, sorry to burst your bubble.
It’s far too easy to make fun of titles like “I’ve Never Had a Boyfriend Despite Being an Effing Catch,” and “This is How Guarded Girls Fall for Someone” and every single iteration of the twenty something survival guide/bucket list/dos and don'ts. Honestly, we fucking get it. Being twenty-three is confusing. Go get drunk off of happy hour mojitos and deal with your existential crisis in private like the rest of us.
But these are merely the harmless, inane musings of girls with too many feelings and no outlet for them. The real issue with Thought Catalog is that, under the guise of “value-neutral” openness, they publish a disturbing amount of misogynistic, racist, transphobic and just generally offensive shit. From a single cretin in particular, Thought Catalog has been graced with such insightful pieces as “When It’s Okay to Hit a Woman,” and “Hey, Ladies! Short Hair is Rape.” What I’m trying to get at here, is that most everything associated with that website should be taken with a grain of salt (and maybe a couple shots of tequila). I thought I knew better than to let the incoherent ramblings of bigot with a thesaurus and a vendetta against women rile me. Turns out I was wrong.
While scrolling through my Twitter feed a few days ago, I stumbled upon a TC article titled “Letter From a Non-Aborted Conservative,” and I actually mumbled “jackpot.” Where to fucking start. I guess first, thanks for the clarification that you were in fact not aborted, otherwise I was about to have a lot of questions about the linguistic abilities of dead cells and the pervasiveness of the Internet (not to mention how fucking solid your wifi would have to be).
Second, thanks for throwing “conservative” in there, so that I knew exactly what kind of shit I was about to get myself into. Before Sparkles hops up in the comments section, my annoyance has less to do with identifying as conservative as it does with listing a political affiliation at all. People who feel the need to inform you of their stance on politics upon introduction make me just as wary as people who describe themselves as sarcastic in their Twitter bios. Your actions probably would have been enough, but thanks for clearing that up.
In the actual letter, one BreAnna Merrill begs her presumably pregnant and indecisive reader to reconsider the hasty back alley abortion she was about to go get. You see, BreAnna wasn’t aborted, and therefore no one else should be either. Similarly, I never had to get my appendix out as a child, so stop fucking complaining about that burning sensation in your lower right abdomen, you’re imagining it.
I know that, if I ever have to sit down and make one of the hardest decisions of my life, the first thing I’ll do is check Thought Catalog to see if they have any advice on the topic. What? A young writer from a small Texas town thinks that I shouldn’t get an abortion? That seals it; count me in for a pregnancy, and resulting child, that I am wholly unprepared for.
To save you from reading the letter in it’s entirety, I’ve pulled some choice quotes:
“Where’s the father? Are y’all on good terms or is he the monster who haunts your night terrors causing you to wake up screaming?”
Hey, in case this impending pregnancy isn’t traumatic enough, would you mind me making assumptions about your possible rape? No? Chill.
“Like I said, I have never been in your shoes but, me and your unborn child (yes, child—not fetus or cluster of cells) share more than you could ever understand.”
That embryo that planted itself just yesterday? It’s a child. Doesn’t have any recognizable cell differentiation or functioning organs? Still a child.
“I’m not sure if abortion ever crossed her mind, but since she was valedictorian of her high school, I’m guessing she took the time to consider all possible options.”
Thank God she was smart. If she were one of those lesser students I probably wouldn’t be here to write this incredibly condescending and narrow-sighted letter.
“Ultimately, her decision was what you get if you change a few letters in abortion: adoption.”
If you change a few letters in “adoption” you get “abduction” so maybe just have the baby and then leave it in a field for the aliens to take. It’s what the God of subtle wordplay would want.
“Because my biological mother endured the nine months of slight embarrassment and discomfort…”
Only slight discomfort?? Man, count me relieved. Who are all these whiners who have been describing pregnancy and childbirth as the most uncomfortable and then painful experience of their lives? Probably not valedictorians of their high school.
“Because my biological mother dropped out of high school—oh wait, she didn’t. Actually, she finished with high honors, enrolled in the Air Force after four years of ROTC, and even taught art in a Korean school while stationed overseas!”
Can also be read as “This single particular case was incredibly successful and thus all unexpected teenage pregnancies would be as well because every situation in the world is the exact same as mine was.”
Obviously, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. BreAnna Merril has every right to belittle your life choices and I have every right to openly mock her for it. Most importantly, Thought Catalog has the right to a content editor and liberal usage of the phrase “sorry, we can’t publish that.” It would appear only two of the three of us are taking full advantage of these opportunities..