the ch!cktionary

I'm Lena Chen, a writer, activist, and media producer who's been called a "skank" (by Bill O'Reilly) and "a small Asian woman" (by The New York Times). My favorite part of my workday is the hate mail.

For the unlikely story that is my life, read on.

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irregular features
Ask Lena: Reader Questions Answered
Anatomy of an Outfit
Bad Feminist Confessions
Freelance Friday: Career Advice for Young Writers
Hate Mail
Gratuitous Photos Of My Bulldog
Notes & Snapshots from Abroad
Recent Tweets @lenachen
Chen said she does not aspire toward a career in writing about sex. In recent posts, she has moved away from the controversial topic. “It’s really hard to keep the separation between my online life and my real life,” she said. “It’s good to have a certain distance. I don’t want what I start writing about to start impacting my personal life.”

Harvard Split on Campus Sex Scene | The Daily Free Press

This is an article that appeared in a Boston University student newspaper back in 2007. I don’t know whether to laugh or to cry. I can’t believe I ever thought it was possible to move away from writing about sex once I’d been pigeonholed as a sex writer. And even back then, I never wanted to be a Carrie Bradshaw. I thought the fact that I was writing about my sex life was just so secondary compared to everything else I was confronting as a not-wealthy, not-white odd girl out at Harvard. (Feel free to count the number of sex scenes that appeared on Sex and the Ivy over the course of its two-year run. I assure you that you’ll be disappointed.) But the sex part has always been what people want to concentrate on.

The 2007 version of me who was interviewed for the above article was still optimistic. The 2007 version of me didn’t think that the slurs I occasionally got in my comments section could ever escalate to a full-fledged campaign to destroy not only my reputation but the reputation of anyone who ever demonstrated any sort of support for any of my work, sex-related or not. I have spent the last three years advocating for comprehensive sex education and contraceptive access and fighting against the marginalization of women and queer people. I have tried to write less and less about myself. I’ve been actively distancing myself from Sex and the Ivy. I haven’t even reread the old blog since I stopped updating it. I haven’t finished an entire piece of personal writing in over a year.

I hate this. I hate the constant worry that someone new has been slandered today. I hate the guilt I feel for fucking up god knows how many people’s Google results. I hate that I can’t blog anything anymore, not even anonymous things from anonymous readers, without worrying about the implications. I hate that no one can do anything about this. And I hate the writer’s block, I hate that this entire ordeal, which has been going on for years and years and years, has completely eliminated my ability to examine my past or the person I used to be. I don’t want to read writing that reminds me of trauma when that trauma is on-going and exhausting and impeding my ability to produce writing today.

I love writing and I love my readers and I love my friends, but my god, I do not love blogging or the Internet anymore.

So here I ask, to no one in particular, when do I get to have my peace of mind? What am I supposed to do to convince everyone who hates me and pursues my loved ones relentlessly that it’s enough now, that I get it? What do you want me to say? That I am, in fact, a slut? That I am wrong? That the way I conduct my life is morally reprehensible? Because if that’s what it takes, if that’s all you wanted to hear - a hallow and resigned acceptance of your judgment of me - well, I could’ve given you that years ago if you’d just asked.

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  7. iamjegs said: I’m so sorry you have to deal with this. Have been a fan of your writing for years now. I really hope things get better
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