“Speaking up every. Fucking. Time”

Elizabeth Spiers
Matter
Published in
22 min readJul 9, 2014

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How one feminist publisher is taking on the worst of Silicon Valley (and some of her allies, too)

By Elizabeth Spiers
Illustrations by Victo Ngai

The last time I heard directly from Shanley Kane, it was by email.

“Leave me the fuck alone and don’t ever contact me again,” she wrote, before launching into a two-day Twitter barrage demanding that I stop harassing her, her friends, and her family, and calling me a stalker. It might have been fair, or at least accurate, if I were doing any of the above.

There are a few of my recent life experiences that I’d put into a category of “almost more trouble than it’s worth.” Training for a long distance race in single-digit weather; attempting to get Time Warner Cable to explain how it had double-charged me for six months of service; and now, writing about an up-and-coming website and its intriguing but controversial founder. All of these things have redeeming value, though unless you enjoy the idea of freezing slowly while still moving, or are a connoisseur of soul-destroying hold music, the first two have some obvious downsides.

The negative side of the third only became apparent when the subject in question, Shanley Kane, alerted anyone who was following her that my story was in the works, and attributed all manner of bad faith—and a few colorful adjectives—to me, my journalistic process, and my ethics.

Kane is the 27-year-old cocreator and now sole proprietor of Model View Culture, an indie website and print quarterly that publishes essays and interviews about tech culture and diversity. When Matter approached me about profiling Kane, I was already familiar with her site’s long, thoughtful articles, a few of which I’d read and passed around myself. I knew less about Kane, mainly that her name had surfaced in some controversies on Twitter. She often met with disagreements by using various profanities to describe her opponent, which seemed like an odd contrast to the tone and style of the site she ran. Her anger was part of what made people…

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Elizabeth Spiers
Matter

Writer, NYU j-school prof, political commentator, digital strategist, ex-editor in chief of The New York Observer, founding editor of Gawker