Before this morning, I didn’t even know The Cut’s “Sex Diaries” existed.
The regular column is essentially an outsourced Sex and the City Carrie Bradshaw piece, inviting anonymous New Yorkers to chronicle their “comic, tragic, often sexy, and always revealing” sex diaries for a week.
Something about it seems vaguely quaint, but whatever. Content is content I suppose.
The reason I stumbled across the “Sex Diaries” this morning, however, is because its latest installment, published Sunday night, was making the rounds on social media for all the wrong reasons.
The title, “Nanny Considering a Sex Cleanse” was meant to describe the writer of the post—and was, in some ways, intensely misleading. The story wasn’t really about the nanny, the sex she was having, or the cleanse she was considering; in actuality, it was a long, tiresome and cringe-inducing plunge into racial fetishization.
It comes out in her periodic hyper-awareness of her whiteness (She observes a black man checking out her “curvy white thighs,” and laughs about being “an average white girl listening to trap and hip-hop on the way to yoga.” Later, she unsurprisingly notes that she hails from a small, predominantly white town).
It comes out in the way she continually draws attention to the race (and perceived racial markers) of her sexual partners. In the way she nicknames a black man—a full-grown, sentient human being—“Swag” rather than addressing him by his name because it so happens to be her father’s. (What, were “Dope” and “Wavy” already used?)
It comes out in her drawing attention to one black partner’s “nice, huge dick” and “primal” sex, or how another partner, a short rapper with a grill, has a “Lil Wayne vibe.” It comes out in her repeated insistence on including particular “I’m down AF” details like referring to the child she cares for as “baby girl” and noting that she can’t hear a man who approaches her at the gym because “I’m blasting Teyana Taylor’s ‘W.T.P.’” (to be honest, my main issue with that particular confession is how terribly on-the-nose it is).
Details like this are so over the top they almost feel fake: like a terrible web series rip-off of Girls starring an even more terrible, even less-self aware version of Lena Dunham.
But here’s my real beef: There’s no way an editor read this and didn’t notice the overt sexual fetishization here. I refuse to believe the editor of a sex diary on a major feminist blog can have that amount of racial obliviousness, considering how inextricable race is from feminist experiences (and how tangled racial and sexual issues can be in a world where “cuck” is a thing).
In fact, the issue at play here is the very one Jezebel’s Megan Reynolds illuminated when she wrote about Refinery29's “Money Diaries.” The Cut’s “Sex Diary” series is very much a blog ripped from the same cloth: a voyeuristic peek at a taboo topic that does less to enlighten than it does to invite judgment. And what better way to invite judgment—and clicks—than to trot out a blog that leans heavily into a racial fetishizing.
It’s possible that editors at The Cut didn’t know what they were posting when they threw up this anonymous Brooklyn nanny/yoga teacher’s blog. It’s also possible that they knew exactly what would happen. The latter is arguably more disturbing because it trades in the promise of an inclusive, progressive feminist blog at a cost to its readers—some of them, undoubtedly, women of color—who have to squirm through a cross-faded Becky listing her studs-du-jour.
Like I said, before this morning, I didn’t even know “Sex Diaries” existed. After today, I certainly won’t be going back.