Schadenfreude: The Rebecca Black Story

Session Type: Discussion
Session Category: Creative
Session Leaders:
Greg Dorsainville (NYU ITP)

Elisa Kreisinger
(Pop Culture Pirate)

Day: Sunday
Time 3:30—5:00
Room: WA10

Session notes


What happens when a 13 year old girl who loves to sing is granted the dream of a lifetime and makes a music video that is seen the world over, covered by her musical heroes and transforms her into an overnight star? Lots and lots of hate.

Internet video allows us to create cultural products with vast reach, but as media creators we have the opportunity to be sensitive to how that media encourages the worst parts of our culture: bigotries like racism, sexism, and misogyny. Ignoring this will limit the free and open expression we hope open video can foster on the web. You may feel that this is just another moment of internet snark at its finest, but it is not.


In this session, we’ll identify the issue, using the example of the internet phenomenon Rebecca Black. We’ll then contextualize this example with other historical analogs of misogyny in media and illustrating the gender double standard. Finally, we’ll try to answer some key questions moving forward: How can open video exacerbate or improve this situation? What kind of tools or tactics can we create to help people (possibly young people) express themselves, promote diversity, and tolerance on the web. Can we create ways to combat prejudices?