Stop it, Ms. Albright, you’re ruining everything.

This past weekend, Madeline Albright, the first female Secretary of State and feminist icon, took it upon herself to introduce Hillary Clinton at a rally by implying that young women were going to hell if they didn’t support a female candidate for President. Playing a fast game between guilt-tripping and fundamentalist fear-mongering, Ms. Albright stated:

“We can tell our story of how we climbed the ladder, and a lot of you younger women think it’s done. It’s not done. There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other!”

How dare you, Ms. Albright? How dare you tell women that the only factor they should consider in a candidate’s qualifications is their gender? Isn’t that…well…sexism? Isn’t feminism supposed to be about becoming equal people, all of whom are judged upon their merits, not their sex? Would you seriously confirm the biases and misinformation of those who claim that feminism isn’t about equality, it’s about domination? What the hell is wrong with you, that you would imply young women cannot judge policy platforms and sincerity and intelligence and experience fairly between candidates for themselves, and should only heed the call of the vagina?

No. You recant your statement, and you do it right now. You apologize to all those young women, and to older women, too, who have fought diligently to keep feminism moving forward by sharing it with every new generation.

And while we’re at it, Ms. Gloria Steinem, I can’t even believe what you did. I’m speechless. I’m just going to let your quote stand for itself:

“When you’re young, you’re thinking: ‘Where are the boys? The boys are with Bernie,’ ”

You seriously just said no young woman would support Sanders if she weren’t chasing boys? How the hell does a feminist get to the point that she devalues her fellow women in such a wrongheaded and callous way?

No. You take it back, and you do it right now. Or you’ve lost your feminist creds forever.

We still need feminism. But we need feminist icons who actually respect the intelligence of our young women. You two women just proved you are no longer qualified. Get the hell off the stage.

The thin veneer of one-click approbation

Years ago, I joined LinkedIn because someone said it would be a crucial “networking” tool for my career. The Facebook of the workforce, as it were. And that was when I was just only beginning to realize the vapid futility of Facebook, so I took their advice, and have been receiving emails from LinkedIn ever since. The problem is that anyone who has ever engaged with LinkedIn for fifteen minutes and has even a shred of honesty left in their soul can immediately recognize the service as completely useless.

In my first weeks on LinkedIn, I friended connected with most everyone I “knew” from both my in-person and online life who had also already joined. In the many years since, I have added three times that many contacts. Most of these people I have never met, and certainly never worked with. Of the ones I have met, 3/4 are friends, family, or people I have only encountered in passing. Again…never worked with them. And yet, now every time I visit the site (sucker!), I am asked to vouch for their professional abilities. In a broad range of fields in which I am not qualified, and so cannot judge their aptitude. Assuming I had ever even seen their work. Which I almost never have. Which should make it an easy pass…and yet so many of them have endorsed me, it feels awkward. Note that: I have been endorsed for everything from Graphic Design to Storytelling, and I actually do both of those quite well, but more than 20 people have endorsed me for Graphic Design and no more than eight of them have ever seen my work. Honestly, most of my endorsements are from people who have never seen what I can actually do, and while I refuse to endorse anyone for anything for which I have not seen the proof of their work, it pains me to skip screen after screen of acquaintances who I know have already blurred that line for me.

The bigger problem is that this is systematic of our culture: we’re all so happily playing pretend online that we dilute any sense of truth when we try to apply online activities to the physical world. We have “friends” and “colleagues”, we “support” causes and give “gifts” with neither longevity nor meaning, nor even the value of our time and considered thought in choosing them. As someone who spends much of every day focused on the world online, I’m only too aware that social media is the new God. Everything we build, every effort we make in the online world is marketed to it. We gauge the value of our ideas by it. We make or break businesses based on it. And yet, at the end of the day, it doesn’t measure real opinions, real values, or careful thought…it measures whether something had enough punch to grab our short attention spans for long enough to hit “share” or “like”.

Social media, in all its forms, measures exactly one thing: poor impulse control.

It doesn’t have to be this way; online interactions in no way are defined by being shallow or full of false premises. But if we’re going to save ourselves from this slippery slope of one-click approbation, we need to rethink the way we view and use social media. We need to stop pretending that a click is anything more than a momentary impulse, and come up with better metrics of gauging interest, support, and value. Systems that require processes of thought and time spent in reflection or analysis. Putting the effort into building those next-wave interactive online tools is well worth the rewards in our physical world processes, and possibly even in our own characters and storylines. Imagine if we had tools that actually capitalized on the wisdom of crowds, increased understanding and tolerance, and promoted empathy and careful thought.

Perhaps you think this sounds like a faerie tale, and perhaps it is. Perhaps I just never got over those early, star-struck days of the Internet, when we were all going to become one enormous, interconnected family, with hope, tolerance, and opportunity for all. Or something like that. But the possibility of building an online world that nurtures some of the better human traits is not ridiculous, nor even out of reach. We just have to stop looking for the fast solution, the one-click answer, long enough to craft a better set of tools.