Popaganda: When People Become Internet Memes

 This episode was originally published on July 19, 2018.

The Internet, which connects us to each other in ways that were pretty unimaginable to most people a century ago, has become a totally casual part of daily life. It’s changed so much: from the way we do business to the way we unlock our front doors. But it’s also changed the way we see ourselves and our relationships to other people. We live in a time when even children are able to use social media to juggle a front-facing, personal brand with their imperfect, true selves; and when a small gaffe could bring the rage of hundreds of thousands of strangers into your life.

So I wanted to take a step back and ask, how did things get this way? And does the Internet have to be like this? First, you’ll hear from Dr. Alice Marwick, an expert on social media and online privacy, on what happens when a person becomes a meme. Then you’ll hear from Helen Rosner, the food reporter for the New Yorker, on how getting really into Internet humor and irony as a teen colored the way she connects with people now. We hope you enjoy the show!




SOLEIL: Hi! You’re listening to Popaganda, a podcast by Bitch Media. This is Soleil Ho. This week’s episode is all about one of my favorite places in the world. That’s right: the Internet. 

[early 1990s Internet commercial plays with cheesy synth background music and a woman singing] 

♪ We’re riding on the Internet 

Cyberspace, sex-free 

Hello, virtual reality ♪ 

[spoken word] Interactive appetite searching for a website 

A window to the world to get online! 

♪ Take a spin now you’re in 

With the techno set 

You’re goin’ surfin’ on the Internet! ♪ 

SOLEIL: The Internet, which connects us to each other in ways that were pretty unimaginable to most people a century ago, has become a totally casual part of daily life. It’s changed so much, from the way we do business to the way we unlock our front doors. But it’s also changed the way we see ourselves and our relationships to other people. We live in a time when even children are able to use social media to juggle a front-facing, personal brand with their imperfect, true selves, and when a small gaffe could bring the rage of hundreds of thousands of strangers into your life.  

[ethereal, poppy ambient music] 

So I wanted to take a step back and ask, how did things get this way? And does the Internet have to be like this? Find out after the break! 

We’re also soliciting reader ideas for topics we could cover on future shows. So please email your ideas for topics or even people you’d like to hear on the show if you’ve got ‘em! 

[theme music] 

This past week, you might have become aware of a viral Twitter thread about a heart-thumping romance that took place on an airplane. Rosey Blair, a blogger, and her boyfriend, Houston, live-tweeted and posted Instagram stories about two strangers sitting in front of them on a commercial flight, obsessively recounting bits of their conversation and posting furtive photos of them. Mainly their elbows. In the spirit of celebrating their potential romantic connection, Blair speculated about the pair’s relationship status, took photos of them walking off the plane together, and even suggested that they had sexual intercourse in the plane’s lavatories. 

Most people thought it was cute. 

[Today Show video clip plays] 

HOUSTON: Yeah! If anything happened, if they like brushed hands, she’d be like [slaps Rosey’s arm hard to get her attention] 

ROSEY: [laughs] That hurt. 

REPORTER: This flight of fancy has been liked by ¾ of a million people riveted to the budding relationship as it unfolded. 

[mellow music] 

SOLEIL: But the magic of this story depended on two people being watched and photographed without their consent. One of them, a woman of color, deleted her entire Internet presence after her information was inevitably dug up. In a statement released to Business Week, she wrote, 

“Strangers publicly discussed my private life based on patently false information. I have been doxxed, shamed, insulted and harassed. Voyeurs have come looking for me online and in the real world. I did not ask for and do not seek attention. #PlaneBae is not a romance – it is a digital-age cautionary tale about privacy, identity, ethics and consent.” 

How did things go so wrong? Is this the Internet we have to live with? And here’s a very Black Mirror-like question: what does this say about us? 

In this episode, we’ll take two different angles on what’s going on here on this Internet thing. First, you’ll hear from Dr. Alice Marwick, an expert on social media and online privacy, on what happens when a person becomes a meme. Then you’ll hear from Helen Rosner, the food reporter for the New Yorker, on how getting really into Internet humor and irony as a teen colored the way she connects with people now. I hope you enjoy the show! 

[The Microphones’ Get Off the Internet covered by Kyle Phaneuf] 

♪ Listen to me 

Get off the Internet 

We are the ones who are alive right now 

So let’s start living 

We’re obsessed with freedom and living easy lives 

But what use is an easy life, hungry and blind…. ♪ 

SOLEIL: Dr. Alice Marwick is an Assistant Professor of Communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her work focuses on how self-expression has shifted as the Internet and its technological limitations changed over time. 

ALICE: When I started doing this research 15 years ago, I was mostly interested in social networking sites, stuff like Friendster and Myspace, and I was really interested in how people presented themselves online. And at the time, I saw a shift from kind of this playful, early Internet where a lot of the tools and applications that people used kind of assumed that you were playing a role. Like you picked a pseudonym, and you didn’t tell people your real name. And you couldn’t post pictures of yourself because the Internet was pretty much text. So you were always just writing out a description of yourself. And so if you’re gonna write out a description of yourself, you can make yourself sound however you want, and you could also be like eight feet tall and covered with pink fur. That’s just as easy as saying you’re like 5’6” and 160 pounds or whatever. 

And with the kind of shift to the commercialized, social technologies—of which Myspace and Facebook are obviously the first wave—Myspace was definitely a place where people experimented a lot and were really playful. There were a lot of musicians and artists on the platform. And so they would kind of have fun with it. But Facebook was immediately like, no. You are one person. You have one identity. It has to be linked to, at first, a .edu address that’s only available to people at a small subsection of elite American universities. And the entire platform has basically taken that tactic ever since: that identity’s singular, that it doesn’t vary, that your legal name and your identity are the same thing, and that you are the same person wherever you go and whoever you present yourself to. Whether you’re at work or you’re in a club with your friends or you’re with your family: that is the same you. It’s one person. 

SOLEIL: Right. 

ALICE: But this doesn’t, this isn’t really how the world works. Our identities change a lot over the course of our lives, and even without that, we are different with different people, in different social contexts. You put on your work face. You know, there’s certain situations like a first date or a job interview where you’re trying really, really hard to manage what the other person thinks of you. And there’s other situations, like when you’re just chilling with your closest friends ,where you might be a lot more relaxed, but there’s still a performance aspect to that as well. But that doesn’t mean you’re not being authentic, or you’re not really being yourself. You’re just choosing to present certain sides of yourself strategically at different times and places. 

SOLEIL: Yeah, it seems like the code-switching. In order to code switch on the Internet, you actually just have to go to different websites, right, and they all represent different facets of yourself. 

ALICE: I mean that’s kinda what the research is showing. It’s been really hard for people to make the really big platforms work for them if they’re not allowed to have multiple accounts. So on Instagram, we have people have their finsta—their fake Instagram—and their “real” Instagram. So they have one that’s like, here’s my cookie cutter, all-American self or whatever their desired public self-presentation is. 

SOLEIL: So wait, ok, do you all get what a finstagram is? This conversation was the first time I’ve ever heard of it, and it’s just so wild! The finsta—the fake Instagram account—is the one you use to show your real self. While your “real,” front-facing Instagram is polished and posed. I’m still not over the crisscross of meaning here. Baudrillard would have a field day. 

ALICE: Or you have people who have like 10 different Tumblrs, right, and each one of those Tumblrs is about an aspect of life, whether that’s a fandom that they’re into or part of their identity. And I think that one of the reasons that Snapchat was such a hit—although I think Instagram is gonna kill it completely—was because it allowed people to be sillier and more playful. And it also meant that the images weren’t persistent, so you didn’t have to confront an embarrassing photo of yourself that you did late one night and sent to a friend, and then your boss finds it and says, “What is this?” So yeah. I mean I think people are very creative, and they work around the constraints that technologies have given them. 

SOLEIL: So do you find that this, almost it seems like a formalization of how sometimes people silo off parts of themselves and just keep them in one section of their life, and then there’s another face in another section of their life, do you find the formalization— By that I mean, here’s my fitness Instagram, and here’s my sexy Instagram, and whatever, is that healthy, do you think? 

ALICE: I’m not a psychologist, so I don’t do research on whether it’s good for people or not. 

SOLEIL: [chuckles] Mmhmm. 

ALICE: But I will say that the closer your identity is to white middle class American norms, the easier it is for you. 


ALICE: If you are somebody from like a lower-income background, if your family of origin doesn’t necessarily look like Brady Bunch, if you’re queer, if you’re a person of color, if you have strong political views, if you’re trans, then you’re gonna have to work much harder to manage this stuff. So the burden is totally unequal, right? There’s certain people that can post pictures of themselves drunk on Facebook, and they’re gonna get away with it more than if you’re like a young Black man, for example. But even beyond that, the amount of work it takes to try to put forward what one of my research subjects called “a vanilla self” to the world when you are not vanilla yourself, that’s really hard, right? That’s real labor. That’s real work that people have to do. And if we’re discounting the structural differences between people in having to do that work, then we’re ignoring how larger power relations play into self-presentation on social media. 

[mellow music] 

SOLEIL: Last year, Amnesty International surveyed women in 8 countries, including the US, and found that almost a quarter of them have experienced abuse or harassment online. More than half of those women characterized it as explicitly misogynistic or sexist in nature. 41% of those people felt their physical safety was threatened, and 55% experienced panic attacks, anxiety, or stress. 

I can’t help but recall all of the stories I’ve heard about people who were harassed via social media and then, for some reason, kicked off by the platforms themselves. People like Danielle Corcione, a white nonbinary person, who was on our show, who banned from Twitter for standing up to trans exclusionary radical feminists. Or Ijeoma Oluo, a writer who was suspended by Facebook for three days for posting screenshots of misogynoiristic and threatening DMs that the company told her were not abusive enough to warrant action against the senders. Why is this happening? 

ALICE: I think that a lot of the Silicon Valley companies that build social technologies fundamentally are idealists about Internet communication. I think they honestly believe that connecting people and letting people communicate more is like a greater social good. Yes, it’s a greater social good that makes them billions of dollars, but I do honestly believe that they idealize and value those things. The problem with that is that a lot of them created these platforms just assuming that everyone was gonna be nice to each other. And so they’ve had to kind of backtrack a lot and put a lot of retroactive tools in place, and they haven’t really thought through how a lot of this stuff works. Like for example, on Instagram, you can report content, but if you’re a queer female user, and you’re posting lesbian-related content—not porn, no nudity, nothing sexual, just you and your girlfriend kissing or whatever—that’s very likely to get flagged by homophobic users, right, and taken down. And so the mechanism that’s meant to protect people from those types of things is actually being used against them. And that happens all the time. 

I do think that some of these large platforms are getting a little smarter about the way that they’re going to deal with that stuff. They’re hiring researchers; they’re talking to people who have experienced these things. But right now, there’s a real lack of subtlety in how social platforms deal with social confits. ‘Cause they’re built by engineers; they’re not built by sociologists and therapists, right? 

SOLEIL: Mmhmm, mmhmm. 

ALICE: They’re putting these very robotic models of how people act on real people who are really messy and complicated and do weird things and don’t always act the way that an algorithm would like you to act. So I think that there’s a lot of work to be done on the technology side to make sites just more empathetic for people. 

SOLEIL: Though there are a lot of little bubbles of space within the Internet—from a carefully maintained Friends list on Facebook to private chat servers—it doesn’t take much to remind us of how, even within those worlds, the boundary between them and the larger Internet is so permeable. Our audience restrictions are only as strong as the measures we take to ensure our content can’t be shared. 

ALICE: When you take something that is created in one community, and you move it to another community, it can have a totally different meaning. And sometimes it can be taken so out of context that it has a totally different meaning, or it can make it easy for people to attack the first community that created it. 

SOLEIL: It reminds me of those animal hunting videos or pictures, right, where people are posing in front of lions or elephants that they killed. 

ALICE: Mmhmm. 

SOLEIL: And so they escape the original context, which is the person is sharing with their friends who are also hunters or whatever. And when the world sees it, that’s when the outrage happens, and it’s outside of the context. I’m not saying that it’s a good thing that people do this, but people post it, and they think it’s OK to post it online for a reason. 

ALICE: Yeah. Or another example is there’s this woman who posted a picture of her standing in front of a sign at Arlington Cemetery that was like, “No smoking, no foul language” in respect. And in the picture, she’s giving the middle finger, and she’s like fake smoking a cigarette. And this picture went viral, and she was attacked for not showing the right amount of respect to the deceased veterans who are buried at Arlington. But the picture was part of a series that she and her friend had been doing for a couple of years, where it was just them standing in front of signs doing whatever the opposite of the sign told them not to do. So if they were in front of a “no diving” sign, they would pretend to dive, right? So they had a whole series of these kind of things. 

And we can all imagine something like that, right, that kind of dumb joke that you and your friend have, and you put one of these photos up on a photo stream, whether it’s on Instagram, or it used to be on Flickr or on Facebook. And all of a sudden, it gets removed from that. And you’re looking at the video, and you’re like, oh, this young woman has no respect. How dare she smoke in this cemetery. How dare she give the middle finger. And then you’re kind of assuming motives that aren’t there, and then this poor woman got completely roasted on the Internet as a result. It is content that’s being created for a particular purpose, that when it move around, it loses that sense of purpose. Or it might take on another sense of purpose that’s totally antithetical to the origins. 

And this is where I think you get into some really problematic stuff around social shaming because often, social shaming is used, it’s not in any way always used for political reasons that I might agree with. It’s often just used to humiliate people, especially women. And it’s such a powerful technique, and it can have such devastating consequences on the people who experience it. And yet we seem to have almost no infrastructure in place for dealing with it. 

SOLEIL: Right. And this circles back to your original point that you made about how maintaining your personal, I guess, your outward face on the Internet is so, now it’s really, really important so that you avoid this huge, huge wave of just bad intentions that might crash down on you for something that, or a mistake that you made, or just something that is taken totally out of context. 

ALICE: And it kind of breaks my heart, honestly, because when the Internet was so new, like many other scholars of my generation, we all really did buy into it. We really thought this was like this amazing thing. I started my own website in 1995, and it was just me ranting about girl punk rock bands on the Internet— 

SOLEIL: [laughs] 

ALICE: —and me talking about how much I love The X-Files. And it was really just a place where I sat down and poured out my heart to this invisible, imaginary audience. And people would find it, and they would send me emails. And I would send them emails back, and then we would trade mix tapes or whatever. And the idea of that being possible for everyone, that people could just sit down and express themselves, and other people could find it, and if you were a weirdo, you could find other weirdos to talk to? I love that idea, right? I still love that idea. People are much weirder than mainstream culture would have you believe, and one of the things that has always bothered me about mainstream media, like mainstream television, movies, magazines, music, is that it takes a full spectrum of human experience and narrows it down to like a really small sliver of what is acceptable to convey, right? 

SOLEIL: Mmhmm. 

ALICE: And one of my favorite things about the Internet is getting to see these glimpses into worlds that I know nothing about and getting to see how other people live their lives in ways that are totally different from mine. And often, I don’t get it at all, or I think it’s super weird. But I love that because people are this weird, rich tapestry of individuals. And yet, because a) we’re worried about getting doxxed or socially shamed by this peanut gallery of people ready to jump on the first wrong word you say, and b) because we’re all scared we’re gonna get fired for putting something totally innocuous on the Internet that is then deemed not safe for work, we’ve had to box ourselves into these really, really rigid self-presentations. 

[warped electronica] 

SOLEIL: Now let’s turn to one of my favorite Internet weirdos. Helen Rosner is the food correspondent for the New Yorker, though she also writes about a lot of non-food things. A Twitter post she wrote about making roast chicken with the aid of a hair dryer went viral earlier this year. In a piece for the New Yorker—which included a recipe—she wrote about the reaction. “There was,” she said, “in particular, no shortage of men (why is it always men?) sneering at my incompetence.” So she knows what it’s like to be on the receiving end of this strange dynamic, to field the kinds of feints and condescension and harassment that come with the territory of being a visible woman on the Internet. 

For a long time, she kept a certain truism pinned to her Twitter profile that I think encapsulates that experience. 

HELEN: It was something like, “The right way to live life is to give no fucks but lots of damns.” 

SOLEIL: Right. Can you unpack that for me? What does that mean to you? 

HELEN: [laughs] I think that it’s important to have your internal compass or your several internal compasses, you know? Like there’s your moral compass and your emotional compass and your social compass and the compass of your goals and the compass of your self-conception. And all of those—the act of remaining true to your compass—all of that is giving damns, right? You give damns about people you care about. You give damns about people you might not even know, but you care about their well-being or the state of the world. But it can be really easy, I think, to get lost in the world of giving no fucks, to become so calloused and so bulletproof to anything the world throws at you, that you can lose sight of the fact that there are sometimes times and places in which being soft is being strong. In which being vulnerable and caring and giving is actually more powerful than being invulnerable. 

SOLEIL: Yeah, and it seems, on the flip side though, I think, especially on Twitter and social media and sort of places where your thoughts rub up against the public in a very frequent way, giving a damn and being sincere often gets criticized as being really sensitive, you know? And people are people. All kinds of people are really adamant that people like us give fewer fucks and fewer damns and kinda, I don’t know, cowboy up, I guess. And so what do you think is the end point of that? What do they actually want when they say that you or I are too sensitive about things? 

HELEN: Yeah. Oh. I think that it’s very easy to be scared of sincerity. Sincerity isn’t cool, you know? And I think that there are these vectors of sort of morality and ethics: being a good person or being a bad person. And then there’s these whole different axes, right, these totally different axes of being cool and not being cool. And the way that those interact with each other, you know, cool means you don’t react, right? Cool means that nothing matters. Cool means that nothing makes an impact. And that means that sincerity and vulnerability are uncool. And so I don’t know. I mean I think that on one hand, you can get this message from people who are on your side for whatever definition of “your side” matters. It’s not just trolls and assholes who are out there being like, “LOL. You had an emotional reaction. You totally lost.” 

SOLEIL: [chuckles] 

HELEN: It can come from your friends or your loved ones or from yourself to just be like, “Buck up. Don’t take it so seriously. Don’t let yourself get into this.” Because it can be uncomfortable to see someone feeling feelings. It can be uncomfortable to see someone capitulating to their sincerity, especially in the sort of constant performative cocktail party of something like Twitter or Tumblr or any other online community where it’s totally verbal all the time; it’s like this hyper-verbal thing, and it’s rapidly moving, and it’s so much more about humor and quickness than it is necessarily about the kind of emotional impact that can knock you out of the rhythm of that sort of engagement. 

And I’m totally that person, right? I am a million, billion percent someone who is like, “Oh my god. Get the fuck over it.” Or like, anything for the sake of the joke. I think that I’ve tried really hard to learn how to accept these moments of giving a damn, to learn how to lean in on vulnerability and to understand that vulnerability is actually strength. But it’s been a process, you know? I think it’s not immediately apparent to everyone. And even to people for whom it is apparent, vulnerability is strength, but it’s also vulnerability, you know? I think that acknowledging that you care about something or acknowledging that you’re uncomfortable or acknowledging that you’re unhappy or that you feel insufficient can be empowering, and it’s honest, and it is an open-hearted way of living within the world. But it also opens you up for people who are maybe not your friends and loved ones but like the other version of the “them” in this scenario, like the assholes and the trolls and the people who are interested in shutting down genuine response because it doesn’t fit within the format of the discourse that they are operating within. 

SOLEIL: Yeah. When you say that vulnerability was a process for you, can you talk more about just what brought you to that? What even got you to start that process? Because I agree: it’s really easy to just stand apart and be ironic and just let your engagement with discourse and the Internet just rest with that. But why put yourself out there? 

HELEN: That’s a great question. [chuckling] I don’t know if I have an answer for it. I mean you and I have talked before about how the ways in which the Internet raised us, it all happened within this vernacular of irony and humor and sort of, I don’t wanna say cruelty, because it wasn’t—maybe it was cruel at times—but it was sort of this idea that cruelty was a form of humor, that demonstrating how invulnerable you were to taboo and violence and disgustingness and all of these things was a way of showing your power. And that has certainly shaped my brain, right? I still think that seeing someone’s face when they see goatse for the first time is the funniest thing in the entire world. 

SOLEIL: [laughs] 

HELEN: But I also recognize that there are deep, fucked up things underneath both the existence of that and the act of showing it to someone without them knowing what they’re getting into, and the fact that I find it funny. So, like— 

SOLEIL: Don’t google “goatse.” 

HELEN: —unwinding all that inside my head was a process; it’s something I’m still doing. I think that for a lot of people who spent a lot of time on sort of the early, dirty Internet—and it still exists, though it sort of metastasized in terrible forms today—there’s such a difference between the posture and the language of who you are online and then who you have to be when you actually, genuinely interact with people in your life. You can’t make the kinds of jokes at someone’s expense around the dinner table that you could in a forum where you were all posting behind handles. And I can’t think of a specific instance when I realized that the angry, funny, edgelord-y kind of persona that I had tried to cultivate when I was in my late teens and early 20s as a woman on the Internet also, I mean, which adds so much more to the performance of hardness that I felt like I needed to do. It would bleed over into my life with people who were not obsessive Internet people, and they were like, “Oh my god! What did you just say? Who are you?” 

SOLEIL: [chuckles] 

HELEN: And that’s not a great feeling, you know, to realize that maybe my sense of norms and my sense of generosity and my sense of politeness—but politeness in sort of the true sense of the word, right, not politeness as a series of rules and structures that enforce class roles and things like that, but politeness and etiquette as a thing that kind of truly comes from a place of you should behave in a way that allows other people to be as comfortable as possible—that had been upended by learning a totally different code. I mean it was code switching in a very foundational kind of way, but it wasn’t code switching for reasons of racial power dynamics or sexual power dynamics; it was literally code switching from being an Internet dirt bag to being a functional human being. And it wasn’t sustainable. 

SOLEIL: Yeah, I totally agree. I feel like I used to just troll Rotten.com when I was a teenager, which is like ridiculous. Why would you do that?! If my mom knew what I was doing, I’m sure she would be just shocked entirely. But I think it was a sort of attempt to seek out knowledge on my own and develop my own way of processing things that were difficult. I think especially after 9/11, actually, for me, that was the thing that really brought me into Internet culture because the way— And people say that 9/11 kind of brought on a new sincerity, right? Like there’s the sort of emotional cascade that happened in American culture after 9/11, I think bothered me a lot, and I didn’t know how to process it and reconcile that with militarism and all these things. And so I went to the Internet. And like we were talking about before, the day of, people were cracking jokes about it and making funny videos about the Twin Towers and all of this stuff. And for me, at the time, that felt at least easier to understand, which sounds kinda fucked up, I guess. 

HELEN: But it’s a form of armor, you know? I think that— 

SOLEIL: Yeah. Mmhmm. 

HELEN: I mean gallows humor is always important, and I think that it certainly was tasteless, all of the stuff that sprang up in the wake of that immediately. But—and I feel weird saying “but,” like I feel super weird defending this—but within the subcultures that we were moving around within, that was how you communicated pain, right? That was how you communicated fear. That was how you communicated confusion or being overwhelmed. Every emotion was communicated through a filter of ironic remove with the most edgelord-y edgy aspect of humor on top of it that you could possibly put there. 

SOLEIL: Things have changed so much, and it kind of feels like this logical extension of the jokey culture where, if everything’s a joke, how do you pin someone down on an ideology? Where joking about Hitler and Nazi stuff, if that’s fine, how do you parse reality versus oh, this is just an in-joke; it’s not like we actually mean this? And that seems to be the nature of a lot of just these very problematic, troll-y conversations on social media where people are trying earnestly to have these discussions about politics or caring about each other, but the joke seems to just really insert itself in there, the sort of snark, irony culture. And it can be really hard to have a productive conversation. 

HELEN: Yeah. I mean I think that in a lot of ways, snark culture is the sort of more socially palatable version of edgelord culture. 

SOLEIL: [laughs] Yeah, yeah. 

HELEN: You reach this point in nihilism, which is kind of what so much of this boils down to, right, like the “LOL, nothing matters” thing, where you become desperately hungry for something to matter. I think that in so many ways, it’s preemptive defense, right? Like saying you don’t care about society or you don’t care about being liked or you don’t care about being successful or you don’t care about what ever thing it is in the world, is a way of rejecting it before it can reject you. I mean certainly, that was the case for me, and I…. You know, we build these nests around ourselves to protect us from the ravages of the world, and sometimes you get to have fun doing it. And then you lose sight of the fact that what you’re doing is keeping you farther and farther away from who you are and what you want. 

[pensive ambient music] 

Learning how to be comfortable with your own emotions and how to recognize your feelings and how to respect them and respect yourself and accept that things like sincerity and vulnerability and giving a damn are not flaws. They’re not bugs. They’re features, right? It’s what makes you who you are is all of this stuff. It’s what makes you different and strong and great. And then for people like you and me, who are writers and podcasters and creators, our job is to then figure out how to turn that into fuel to translate our work into something even better than it could be. But I think that for everybody, it’s a practice of becoming comfortable with yourself. Of not needing to wear those masks. 

SOLEIL: Thanks to Dr. Alice Marwick and Helen Rosner for talking with me for this episode. And thanks to you for listening. 

This episode was produced by Alex Ward. Our jingle is by Mucks & Owen Wuerker. Thanks to The Microphones for their track, Get Off the Internet. Additional music was provided by Blue Dot Sessions.  

[theme music] 

If you have thoughts or feelings or feedback on the show, please feel encouraged to send me an email to soleil@b-word.org. Or as always, review us on iTunes. 

You can help make Popaganda possible. Become a pollinator. Pollinators receive a special mug, a subscription to Bitch magazine in print and digital, and other great benefits. Become a pollinator today at bitchmedia.org/pollinators. 

by Soleil Ho
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Soleil cooks for a living and writes sometimes. When she was in kindergarten, she reviewed a book for Reading Rainbow that she didn’t actually read. She cohosts Racist Sandwich, a podcast on food, race, class, and gender.

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