I was surprised to read Ben Yagoda’s accusation of plagiarism—er, “borrowing”—regarding my piece about “ladies,” especially because there are so few concrete details cited and because I have received no request for comment from Jim Romenesko. [**SEE UPDATE BELOW.] But politely responding in my own space seems to be the ladylike thing to do, so here goes.

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As New Republic editor Frank Foer pointed out, the title of my piece is a reference to the Beastie Boys song that’s embedded in my article and not mentioned by Yagoda in his. As for Yagoda’s comment that my piece “made many of the same points,” I can only assume he’s referring to the fact that we both discuss the term’s use on women-oriented websites like The Hairpin (to which I am a contributor). I’ve been writing for and about ”ladyblogs” for years, and even created one of my own in 2011. I can attest that I did not first learn of their propensity to use the word “lady” in Yagoda’s 2012 article. I also did a considerable amount of reporting—including interviews with the editors of those blogs, older feminist writers, and a linguist—that in no way “copies" Yagoda’s dialogue with his daughter.

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I am, however, guilty of using a Girls anecdote as a lede on a trend story. I’d wager that a full third of all think pieces on female twentysomethings now begin with a reference to Lena Dunham. Next time I opine on modern womanhood, I promise to try harder.

**UPDATE: Apparently Romenesko tweeted at me. I didn’t see the tweet, which was quickly buried among dozens of at-replies linking to the original piece. His post went live less than two hours later. I never received an email from him, despite the fact that my gmail address is prominently displayed at the top of every page on my personal website.

  1. annfriedman posted this