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Slumber parties and sisterhood
February 5, 2012 2:55 PM   Subscribe


 
im just here to say i miss salon's broadsheet
posted by joannqy at 3:06 PM on February 5, 2012 [6 favorites]


I'm not done reading the Jezebel article but this sentence seems to sum up Jezebel's entire history:
Jezebel: "They fumbled with Solo cups, slouched, and shouted down hissing audience members."
posted by bleep at 3:13 PM on February 5, 2012


I may just be cranky because I have a massive migraine, but I'm not entirely sure I understand the complaint. The only one of those blogs that I read regularly is The Hairpin, and I enjoy that. I don't think it's a feminist blog. I don't think it assumes that all women share interests or that there's some sort of "sisterhood." I think it's aimed at a group of people, most of whom are women, who share some interests and a sensibility. And I mean, what's wrong with that? I read other things for feminist analysis or politics or whatever. Does everything have to have some deeper meaning, or can women occasionally just read some shit because it's fun?
posted by craichead at 3:25 PM on February 5, 2012 [9 favorites]


Maybe I'm weird but I read the Hairpin everyday and kind of tend to forget its ladyblogness.
posted by shakespeherian at 3:25 PM on February 5, 2012 [6 favorites]


I have had to explain so many times to female friends this thing where no, I don't read Jezebel, and somehow that seems in a certain under-30 segment to mean that I'm not actually serious about being a feminist, and I don't need a whole screed about this, I just need the words that are plastered at the top of their page:

"CELEBRITY, SEX, FASHION FOR WOMEN"

That is not a "comfortable space we can all inhabit".

I'm not bothered at all that it exists, but I am deeply bothered by how many young women I know personally who don't know anything about women's issues outside of that sphere, who see that as being the face of women's issues. And so the face of women's issues is... celebrity, sex, and fashion? That's terrifying.
posted by gracedissolved at 3:36 PM on February 5, 2012 [36 favorites]


Men blog like this, but women blog like this, am I right?
posted by Jimbob at 3:36 PM on February 5, 2012 [9 favorites]


I've been banned from Jezebel so many times--finally just stopped reading. It's an echo chamber in the comments, and Hairpin is much superior. Rookie is even better, but it's not aimed at grown-ups, thus the appeal.
posted by Ideefixe at 3:39 PM on February 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


jezebel has done yeo(wo)man's work on the Komen/Planned Parenthood scandal. My opinion of the site has gone up significantly.
posted by spitbull at 3:39 PM on February 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


One thing that is weird to me about the Hairpin is what exactly is it's relationship to the Awl? Because it seems that the male to female author ratio on the Awl is maybe 8:1 or so. So is the Hairpin like the women's auxiliary or something? Or I guess I could consider the Awl the male auxiliary to the Hairpin, except the Awl is ostensibly not gendered (which, as usual, means male dominated). Sad to me because the Awl dudes do seem to support feminist ideals in theory.
posted by latkes at 3:59 PM on February 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


I read the n+1 article, and was with it until it came time for it to draw conclusions.

I've been reading The Hairpin since their first Ask an Abortion Provider was linked here. Perhaps that first exposure colors my perception of their scope, but I think they cover topics that would generally be considered "serious." N+1 seems to be making a tone argument, then -- The Hairpin is too likable, too friendly. Too ... feminine, maybe?

On the up side, Autumn Whitefield-Madrano linked her response article from The Beheld on the comments on The Hairpin's mention of the n+1 piece, and now it looks like I've got another blog to follow.
posted by rewil at 4:00 PM on February 5, 2012


And I mean, what's wrong with that?

Just to be clear, sites like this are games that exist for no other reason than to sell crap. That they would pretend to any notion of sisterhood or solidarity only emphasizes that modern marketers will truly do and say anything for a few bucks. No, there's nothing wrong with 'that' as long as we're clear about what 'that' is.

I am deeply bothered by how many young women I know personally who don't know anything about women's issues outside of that sphere, who see that as being the face of women's issues.

Games don't really replace reality they just make it all a bit easier to go down. Ultimately 'ladyblogs' are probably harmless; they're definitely worse ways for young women to spend their time on the net. But it's important for young people to know that these sites are part of the same relentless, mindless consumerism they see absolutely everywhere else despite their pretensions. Frankly, as it's so easy for modern writers to be fooled into peddling propaganda I'd actually be more concerned if these sites did anything more than make themselves likable.
posted by nixerman at 4:00 PM on February 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ok, I stopped here.
Gevinson has a right to her tastes, but the eagerness of adult women to share them was disconcerting. “I am 30 years old and still very proud to be a sticker collector,” a reader commented on a post about stickers. “STICKERS 4 EVER WOO.”

Condescending much?
Oh yeah, and aside from that, I saw an awful lot of vocabulary words and not much substance. (Though I may be in a particularly ornery mood.)
posted by Glinn at 4:01 PM on February 5, 2012


Feministing is an actual blog by women about feminist issues. Jezebel is just a gossip rag that sometimes talks about abortion and the Hairpin is blog with the occasional make-up tutorial.

Just one woman's opinion, I guess, but I don't really disagree with either thesis. It's really nice sometimes, to hang out somewhere where "I'd hit it" or bodysnarking is nuked from orbit, regardless of whether anything substantive otherwise gets said.
posted by crush-onastick at 4:05 PM on February 5, 2012 [15 favorites]


Just to be clear, sites like this are games that exist for no other reason than to sell crap. That they would pretend to any notion of sisterhood or solidarity only emphasizes that modern marketers will truly do and say anything for a few bucks. No, there's nothing wrong with 'that' as long as we're clear about what 'that' is.
Is that any more true of "ladyblogs" than of the Awl or Deadspin or other sites that are also (or mostly) read by men? And if not, then why should one call out blogs aimed at women, rather than blogs in general?
posted by craichead at 4:05 PM on February 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


One thing that is weird to me about the Hairpin is what exactly is it's relationship to the Awl?

The Hairpin began as a spin-off of The Awl. The intention was to deliver to advertisers the lucrative college-educated urban female demographic that was otherwise alienated by The Awl's regular testosterone-fueled fare of art-world gossip, poetry and gardening tips.
posted by Flashman at 4:29 PM on February 5, 2012 [19 favorites]


I found this assertion at the end of the n+1 piece a little bizarre: "Jezebel is too painstakingly inoffensive to hurt anyone’s feelings." O RLY? (To be fair, they also posted this.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 4:39 PM on February 5, 2012


Wait. The hairpin isn't aimed at thirtysomething gays?

can't believe this happened again
posted by roger ackroyd at 5:40 PM on February 5, 2012 [20 favorites]


I've tried the Hairpin and occasionally held my nose and looked at Jezebel (I have a bias against the Gawker house style of trolling for hits), but like joannqy, I haven't found anything that scratched the itch the way Salon's Broadsheet did.
posted by immlass at 5:53 PM on February 5, 2012


If Jezebel wasn't owned by Gawker, I imagine its editors would do better.
posted by k8t at 6:29 PM on February 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


I hate that Jezebel has a reputation with anyone for being a feminist blog. Although I have seen some feminist articles there on occasion, the majority of the articles are non-feminist or even anti-feminist in my opinion. (The unbelievably creepy article by the American guy living in France who thought Americans were too hung up on the idea of sexual consent still makes me go "Ew", for instance!)

There are great feminist blogs out there. And it's great that places like Jezebel and Hairpin want to do "cultural news for women" or whatever their niche is. I am just uncomfortable with the quick assumption some people make that anything by women is automatically feminist (even if the thing itself never says it is--did Jezebel ever say it was feminist? That word is certainly not in any of its public-facing brand copy). Feminism refers to (or feminisms refer to, or feminisms and womanisms refer to) specific sets of political goals and cultural analyses, not just anything women do and slap a big sparkly pink "GIRL POWER!" sign on.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:00 PM on February 5, 2012 [9 favorites]


I'm about the same age as the author, so I was 19 or so when I started reading Jezebel. It was the first website I'd gone to where the articles were written by women about women, and where most of the users were women. For all the editors handwaving about being called feminist, their critiques of media and such were what turned me onto feminism. I loved reading about the experiences of women in their late twenties and thirties. But once I started getting more and more into feminism and feminist theory, Jezebel seemed too tame for me. I grew up and moved on.

So yeah, they've still got the outrageous, pageview-generating stories that make me sigh, "Ohhh, Jezebel." But they had the first website where I really felt like a part of the community, and I'll always appreciate that.
posted by book 'em dano at 7:13 PM on February 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


The Hairpin is also an online community that hosts regular IRL meetups, so there's that.

I think we are experiencing a renaissance w/r/t lady-oriented content online. And not just super cozy, faux-exclusive Oxygen Network-style pandering. The writers/editors of The Hairpin (and I'm lucky enough to have contributed several items) are merely chasing their own pet interests, hobbies, and neuroses, and discovering that there's a wide enough network of people who share them that it's possible to have a big, fun party together while the world looks on yawning and scratching its bored ass.
posted by hermitosis at 7:19 PM on February 5, 2012


I'm interested in their take on pinterest. There is a bit of conspiracy theory going around right now that pinterest is purposefully ignored by VC and tastemaker types because its demographic seems to be older suburban ladies, and thus less desirable to marketers.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:29 PM on February 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


The unbelievably creepy article by the American guy living in France who thought Americans were too hung up on the idea of sexual consent still makes me go "Ew", for instance!

wait what
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:57 PM on February 5, 2012


There is a bit of conspiracy theory going around right now that pinterest is purposefully ignored by VC and tastemaker types because its demographic seems to be older suburban ladies, and thus less desirable to marketers.

Which is hilariously misguided, given how much of America's consumer spending is controlled by those older suburban ladies. Is there any cite for this theory? I want to see who's in on it, purely so I can point and laugh.
posted by sobell at 8:01 PM on February 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


Sticherbeast, this is the article Sidhedevil was referring to. (Warning: SUPER GROSS.)
posted by bewilderbeast at 8:38 PM on February 5, 2012


It's really nice sometimes, to hang out somewhere where "I'd hit it" or bodysnarking is nuked from orbit, regardless of whether anything substantive otherwise gets said.

This to a thousand. A comment section that isn't going to rip you apart for being too fat/skinny/old/ugly/pretty/smart/stupid to be a real girl, and where that's pretty secondary anyway, is a big deal. Just having a space where none of that is important is good. It's why I'm on Metafilter, and it's why I read Hairpin.
posted by Jilder at 8:38 PM on February 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


The Hairpin seems well-written to me, and has broad enough appeal that I've frequently, as a man, enjoyed their articles (not that that makes it inherently good). Jezebel seems tailored for brosephines, and every time I've read one of their articles I've though "this is supposed to be a feminist blog?"
posted by threeants at 9:02 PM on February 5, 2012


Hereis a recent take on what is driving all the pinterest detractors. The theory is that by locking in to a niche market they are limiting their appeal to a wider audience. Wether it is straight up sexism or good business sense I don't know, but pinterest's detractors have a bit of a mean edge to them.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:07 PM on February 5, 2012


Woah, Ad hominem, that was interesting. I use pinterest a lot and had noticed (and not cared) how many people seemed to use it for wedding-planning. I had no idea that there was so much vitriol directed toward it because of the wedding-planning. I mean, I hate the wedding-industrial complex as much as the next person, but there are better reasons to discount Pinterest than fairy-princess-fantasies and in the end it is actually a fairly interesting tool. I had never really put any stock in the whole "dream board" method of achieving a goal or "color board" method of planning a room/wardrobe/event (and it's still not really for me), but Pinterest is great for you if you think that way. If you think of "dream boards" as silly woo, then I guess Pinterest is goofy, but not hateful.

Of course, it's also great if you just want to keep track of stuff and enjoy doing it with a pretty picture instead of text link. And honestly, the internet is one giant shopping mall already; why shouldn't Pinterest help us organize it to our own satisfaction?

Huh, learn a new way to hate women every damn day.
posted by crush-onastick at 9:35 PM on February 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


I do not have the kind of brain that could ever make sense of pinterest. I went to look at it out of curiosity and had to flee screaming. It's chaos with pretty colors and macro pictures.

Also 'brosephines' is the best word for the jezebel target audience I've yet encountered.
posted by winna at 9:58 PM on February 5, 2012


'Ladyblog'? Fuck off.
posted by Summer at 1:23 AM on February 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Thank god I ain't no lady
posted by infini at 1:56 AM on February 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, like many others, I started reading Jezebel when I was in college (and dropped it after the articles started being uninteresting pieces of gossip mashed into an outrage burger, all in that horrible nuGawker layout.) The Hairpin and Feministe are pretty much what I read in this category on a regular basis-- trying to remember why I stopped reading Feministing, but I think maybe it was the lack of comments? The Hairpin is pretty great, though I am frustrated by the divide between the Awl and the Hairpin, which seems to only exist to sequester "lady issues" like, say, abortion. But the Hairpin's commentariat is amazing, whether it's on the best sales for heirloom clothing or reflections on breast reduction surgery-- comments that could not exist outside of a comfortable, moderated space. I'm super comfortable in being a lady and in being a well-educated lady who reads news and blogs voraciously, but there is no way I would ever engage in the comments anywhere but Metafilter and the Hairpin ( and sometimes the Atlantic when I can't help myself...) If it means putting up with cutesy titles like "ladyblog" to get comments that aren't fifty percent political whining, 23% comments about ladies needing better boobs/faces/sex lives, and 17% misspelled notations on the actual article....so be it. I can handle mascara better than I can casual misogyny.
posted by jetlagaddict at 1:56 AM on February 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


That article on 'Good' -- whatever the holy hell that site is -- about Pinterest is really quite poor. The author cites exactly one item (a hastily thrown together pie chart straining toward snarky but only managing lame) and uses that as the platform from which to assert that there's some sort of movement against Pinterest.

I guess gathering data and sources is exhausting, or something.
posted by gsh at 5:43 AM on February 6, 2012


Just one woman's opinion, I guess, but I don't really disagree with either thesis. It's really nice sometimes, to hang out somewhere where "I'd hit it" or bodysnarking is nuked from orbit, regardless of whether anything substantive otherwise gets said.

Yeah, this.

I don't really read Jezebel, because even when I agree with them I find their style grating, but I read the hairpin. And it's less that I want a ladyblog as much as I just want places where being female on the internet isn't this huge, alienating thing. Still, after all these years. It's also why I hang out on metafilter a lot more than I hang out on reddit.
posted by dinty_moore at 6:47 AM on February 6, 2012


adults are some of [Tavi] Gevinson’s biggest fans.

It's funny how you can sometimes say more in half a sentence than a dozen fawning profile pieces.
posted by B-Boy Limping at 7:03 AM on February 6, 2012


I agreed with much of Autumn Whitefield-Madrano's response in Slate -- it's a good thing to cast a critical eye on what's published under the category of "women's writing," and I agree with some of her points about what we're saying about the modern state of womanhood, here, but...what's the recommendation again?

She also uses a technique that I find to be one of the chief hallmarks of the type of writing that she's criticizing -- the insertion of a sentimental self-portrait focusing on her memories (typically the second paragraph) before returning to her critique. This suggests a sort of accommodating escape route of "if you don't agree, well, that's okay, I've made it clear that I'm only talking about myself."
posted by desuetude at 7:51 AM on February 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter: I can handle mascara better than I can casual misogyny.
posted by luckynerd at 8:45 AM on February 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Jezebel started out great - I was reading it from the beginning and I thought it had a Sassy feel. It gradually devolved into People-but-we-talk-about-abortion. I go and check in on it every now and then and pretty much check right back out again.
posted by jocelmeow at 8:48 AM on February 6, 2012


(I liked Jezebel when it was Heather Champ's site back in the late 90s.)

I can't figure out how we went from riotgrrl stuff to wherever/whatever the hell we are now both online and offline.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 8:53 PM on February 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


I had no idea there was a Heather Champ link to Jezebel! I loved Heather Champ back all those years ago! Was it her site or did she just once own the domain and then give it up?
posted by crush-onastick at 9:31 PM on February 6, 2012


She had the domain and her blog on there, and (google google) sold it to Gawker directly it seems.
posted by furiousthought at 9:38 PM on February 6, 2012


Wow, that n plus 1 article was nasty and makes all women sound bad. Goody.

You know, most of these are a mixed bag. I've seen some good discussions/posts on Jezebel in between the chaff. Hairpin has some well thought out articles and some interesting range. Most of xoJane seems to be stupid beauty blogging and Jane's iPhone (please, please, stop blogging about your effing phone, NOBODY CARES), but the "It Happened To Me" articles are usually well thought out, stunning, and heartbreaking. I don't know what it is about Jane Pratt--she generally seems like kind of a dimwit, but she somehow has this ability to at least recruit some awesome writers around her.
posted by jenfullmoon at 2:11 PM on February 7, 2012


I've been reading the Awl for 6 months or so, but this post made me finally RSS the Hairpin, and you know what? The Hairpin is like 20 times better than the fucking Awl. I had dismissed the Hairpin as being the women's auxiliary of The Awl but in fact it totally surpasses it.
posted by latkes at 9:53 PM on February 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


vocabulary words

What the fuck is a 'vocabulary word'? I have lots of words in my vocabulary. Unless by this term you're saying that polysyllaby is a bad thing? Which is weird.

I love Tavi -though she makes me jealous that the internet wasn;t around for me at her age so I could write about music and colour and design (I wasn't into fashion as she was when she started blogging). It didn't surprise me that a while ago she started writing about the zine/riotgrrl era. She's a very smart girl and I wonder where she'll end up once she's old enough to be treated less as a novelty.

Personally, though, I prefer blogs to women's magazines. The only decent women's mag I've read recently is Oh Comely, which while still being a bit fey and Instagrammy, features articles on building coracles in between the fashion shoots. Picking up Cosmo now makes me miss Just Seventeen (which in the '90s was trying to ape Sassy on this side of the Atlantic) which is depressing. If I want to read about fashion or beauty, I prefer to hit the blogs which will show real women using products or wearing clothes, not models in their early teens with different bodytypes and skintones. And the best ones don't take any of it seriously (I too find the Jezebel masthead a bit disheartening).

And The Hairpin is great. Reminds me a lot of Bust, which is near impossible to get here now since Borders went, erm, bust. I like me a bit of Tiger Beatdown as well.
posted by mippy at 8:17 AM on February 8, 2012


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