"There is no topic that someone should feel ashamed to write about"
August 14, 2013 1:05 PM   Subscribe

"Isn’t it time for a women’s publication that puts world news and politics alongside beauty tips? What about a site that takes an introspective look at the celebrity world, while also having a lot of fun covering it? How about a site that offers career advice and book reviews, while also reporting on fashion trends and popular memes?" Bryan Goldberg, the founder of Bleacher Report, raised $6.5 million to build and grow a feminist website for women, Bustle.com. posted by meese (164 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
 
Bryan is a very strange name for a woman.
posted by Apropos of Something at 1:07 PM on August 14, 2013 [6 favorites]


As a man, I have to ask the tough questions like: What does Jezebel think?
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:12 PM on August 14, 2013 [7 favorites]


I don't think that women wear bustles anymore.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 1:12 PM on August 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


[Editor's notes: In Bryan's final version of this story, he included shout outs to other major women's sites he admires. We mistakenly uploaded the wrong version of the story and have added it back in since. We apologize to Bryan for grabbing the wrong version.]
Yeah, right.
posted by grouse at 1:13 PM on August 14, 2013 [8 favorites]


@anildash: "Goldberg gets funding for robot arm to automate patting women on the head; Self-interview reveals: "I am awesome"."
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 1:14 PM on August 14, 2013 [32 favorites]


grouse: "Yeah, right."

1. "Shouts out".
2. Why not just name your website "hysteria.net" or etc.
posted by boo_radley at 1:15 PM on August 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Well I guess he (and the website) can only go up from here...
posted by DynamiteToast at 1:15 PM on August 14, 2013


@anildash: "Goldberg gets funding for robot arm to automate patting women on the head; Self-interview reveals: "I am awesome"."

I enjoyed that.
posted by sweetkid at 1:15 PM on August 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


I don't think that women wear bustles anymore.

Not even in their hedgerows? Alarming.
posted by malocchio at 1:17 PM on August 14, 2013 [50 favorites]


Well I guess he (and the website) can only go up from here...

Based on Bleacher Report, I'm pretty sure he can find a whole lot of sideways.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 1:17 PM on August 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


I really enjoyed The Hairpin's take on things.
posted by troika at 1:17 PM on August 14, 2013 [13 favorites]


Bustle. Bustle. Bustle? Buuuuuuuuuuustle!!!???
posted by Squeak Attack at 1:18 PM on August 14, 2013


Nothing like naming your site after a 19th century piece of women's clothing designed to make their booty look really distinctive.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:18 PM on August 14, 2013


I hate most things "created for women," like it's this revelation - Hey guys, we could make a similar thing for WOMEN! Like pink power tools, for fuck's sake.
posted by agregoli at 1:19 PM on August 14, 2013 [16 favorites]


The editor of Bustle and all the writers, currently, are women. The owner is a dude. So far as I can tell, the only difference between this site and Jezebel is that the CEO is quite tone-deaf. Oh wait.

Personally, I don't think the world needs another Jezebel.com, but then again I don't read Jezebel.com, so clearly I'm not in Bustle's target demographic.
posted by muddgirl at 1:20 PM on August 14, 2013 [9 favorites]


Also, it's mentioned in a few of those articles, but it's worth pulling out that according to the job postings for writers, Bustle would only pay $100/day for 5-6 articles, which reads to me as obvious content farming, not the intelligent, thoughtful writing this guy is boasting about.
posted by troika at 1:20 PM on August 14, 2013 [16 favorites]


Oh thank god for this. Now I will switch my prayers over to a woman-focused version of MetaFilter. I'm tired of being shut out. Down with The Blue! Up with The Pink!
posted by prefpara at 1:20 PM on August 14, 2013 [7 favorites]


Oops. Now I feel like I just ruined a perfectly good April fools bit.
posted by prefpara at 1:21 PM on August 14, 2013 [10 favorites]


Matt, can we women only favorites?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:22 PM on August 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


On the other hand, I may have stumbled onto a priceless title for what I envision as a maritime-exploration themed porno: Up the Pink.
posted by prefpara at 1:22 PM on August 14, 2013 [5 favorites]


If the main problem is that (1) Goldberg is a man and (2) initially denied the existence of similar sites - Jezebel, xojane, etc - then Bustle has a reasonable chance of becoming a successful media site. Their version of feminism - watered down with little ambition to create real social change - isn't that much different from Jezebel et al. Also, I would like to read more about the editorial staff being all women and having equity in the business:
To get there, he's employed an editorial staff of women, all who have an equity stake in the company.

"Every single one of them is a partial owner of Bustle. I wonder how many of Vogue's editors own equity in their company," Goldberg says.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 1:24 PM on August 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


Their version of feminism - watered down with little ambition to create real social change

By definition, that's not feminism at all.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 1:27 PM on August 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


I laughed pretty hard when I read this earlier today.

Then I cried. He managed to get people to give him that much money for that much of a terrible, condescending, sexist piece-of-shit idea.
posted by rtha at 1:28 PM on August 14, 2013 [19 favorites]



@anildash: "Goldberg gets funding for robot arm to automate patting women on the head; Self-interview reveals: "I am awesome"."

I enjoyed that.
posted by sweetkid at 4:15 PM on August 14 [1 favorite +] [!]


When I saw someone had favorited that I was sure it would be anil dash.

It wasn't.
posted by sweetkid at 1:30 PM on August 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Why don't people give me this much money for my shitty ideas?

Clearly I either need richer or dumber friends. Possibly both.
posted by Aizkolari at 1:32 PM on August 14, 2013 [10 favorites]


Equity by itself means nothing. They could hold a small amount of shares, or more likely, be last in line for liquidity preferences meaning their shares are likely worthless.
posted by 2bucksplus at 1:32 PM on August 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


The main problem, in my eyes, is that this guy seems to be laboring under the impression that he's making something new and different. He obviously isn't, but it's incredibly difficult for women to get funding for similar projects, and then this guy waltzes in and gets $6.5m to create something that already exists in many forms. All while saving his own bro image by proclaiming that he doesn't know anything about makeup.
posted by troika at 1:33 PM on August 14, 2013 [32 favorites]


Isn’t it time for a women’s publication that puts world news and politics alongside beauty tips? What about a site that takes an introspective look at the celebrity world, while also having a lot of fun covering it? How about a site that offers career advice and book reviews, while also reporting on fashion trends and popular memes?

Congratulations! You have just invented People magazine! Très révolutionnaire!
posted by Sys Rq at 1:33 PM on August 14, 2013 [5 favorites]


And of course, this all reminds me of The Onion.
posted by 2bucksplus at 1:34 PM on August 14, 2013 [9 favorites]


"Isn’t it time for a--"

I have to question the judgment of anyone who ponies up for a site run by someone who starts a sentence like this in earnest these days. This is the Internet. Yes, it probably is time for your idea -- and it was time for it when someone else started it three years ago.
posted by Etrigan at 1:34 PM on August 14, 2013 [6 favorites]


$6.5 million? And they said the dot.com bubble had popped!
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:35 PM on August 14, 2013


Bustle. Bustle. Bustle? Buuuuuuuuuuustle!!!???

Eurgh...very tinny sounding! "Peplum" is much more woody sort of word.
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:37 PM on August 14, 2013 [6 favorites]


Greg_Ace: "Bustle. Bustle. Bustle? Buuuuuuuuuuustle!!!???

Eurgh...very tinny sounding! "Peplum" is much more woody sort of word.
"

"Salad floor".
posted by boo_radley at 1:39 PM on August 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Why don't people give me this much money for my shitty ideas?

Clearly I either need richer or dumber friends. Possibly both.


Based on Goldberg's actual friends who ponied up money for this, you need friends who sell "The Hawaiian shirt for your quads".
posted by Copronymus at 1:40 PM on August 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


The main problem, in my eyes, is that this guy seems to be laboring under the impression that he's making something new and different.

I don't think that's true. His PR-speak is quite clear: he's laboring under the impression that he can make money by paying people to content-farm the right mix of links to maximize ad-impressions. The second sentence of his press release already uses the phrase "high revenue."
posted by muddgirl at 1:41 PM on August 14, 2013 [2 favorites]



Based on Goldberg's actual friends who ponied up money for this, you need friends who sell "The Hawaiian shirt for your quads".


I don't hate that as much as I wanted to.
posted by sweetkid at 1:43 PM on August 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't think that's true. His PR-speak is quite clear: he's laboring under the impression that he can make money by paying people to content-farm the right mix of links to maximize ad-impressions. The second sentence of his press release already uses the phrase "high revenue."

Exactly. As horrible as the Bleacher Report is, it's apparently made gobs of money for its investors, which is why Google Ventures (among others) are ponying up the big bucks. The guy may be tone-deaf, but he's apparently good at content farming for profit.
posted by cell divide at 1:43 PM on August 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


I don't hate that as much as I wanted to.

Guessing you didn't get to, "The Ladies of Chubster Nation."
posted by rhizome at 1:44 PM on August 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


We will post the raddest photos on this page - if we use your photo, we'll send you a SOTO Tank. Each entry is also entered to win Chubbies Chaser of the Week and get a free, custom Chubbies Chaser of the Week Tank Top.

*uncontrollable VOMITING*
posted by Think_Long at 1:53 PM on August 14, 2013 [5 favorites]


As long as its got a Page 3, amirite ladies? Hah?! Up high!

Ay, how you doin'
posted by petebest at 1:53 PM on August 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't think that women wear bustles anymore.

So, we can finally declare steampunk over?
posted by Thorzdad at 1:54 PM on August 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't hate that as much as I wanted to.

Guessing you didn't get to, "The Ladies of Chubster Nation."
posted by rhizome 10 minutes ago [1 favorite +]


Ok, now I'm there.

You'd guessed correctly, now I hate it.
posted by sweetkid at 1:55 PM on August 14, 2013 [11 favorites]


So the shorts my dad wore in the '90s are back in style?
posted by 2bucksplus at 1:56 PM on August 14, 2013


WASSUP

CURRENTLY SEEKING FUNDING FOR METAFILTER4LADIES.COM (NAME TENTATIVE NOTE CHECK GODADDY)

SUGAR DADDIESANGEL INVESTORS HIT ME UP
posted by klangklangston at 1:58 PM on August 14, 2013 [7 favorites]


* quietly founds Zubaz-alike startup *
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 1:59 PM on August 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


I just had a flashback to shorts I wore as a kid in the '90s, which had an extra tuxedo-like "tail" on the bottom of each leg. I searched for "shorts that are longer in the back" but found nothing. Internet, you have failed me.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:59 PM on August 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


that's because there wasn't any such thing as that.
posted by sweetkid at 2:00 PM on August 14, 2013 [6 favorites]


shhhh no there wasn't
posted by sweetkid at 2:00 PM on August 14, 2013 [6 favorites]


Oh goodness, the $6.5 million link is painful. I read the thing with the image of a cool-guy white-boy 1990s retro rapper guy.
Yes, we believe that a partner-track attorney can be passionate about world affairs and celebrity gossip. On the same day. During the same coffee break. And there is nothing wrong with that. Welcome to the year 2013.
Yeah boy-ee! Uh, I meant "oh yeah, girl-ee!"
posted by filthy light thief at 2:02 PM on August 14, 2013 [5 favorites]


that's because there wasn't any such thing as that.

shhhh no there wasn't


Oh, you know them! YESSSS!
posted by filthy light thief at 2:02 PM on August 14, 2013


I just had a flashback to shorts I wore as a kid in the '90s, which had an extra tuxedo-like "tail" on the bottom of each leg.

I was too young for this amazing thing. Please enlighten me.
posted by Think_Long at 2:03 PM on August 14, 2013



Oh, you know them! YESSSS!

I am actually really not sure.
posted by sweetkid at 2:03 PM on August 14, 2013



I was too young for this amazing thing. Please enlighten me.
posted by Think_Long at 5:03 PM on August 14 [+] [!]


Epony-longshorts-steryical.
posted by sweetkid at 2:04 PM on August 14, 2013


I said YESSS
posted by filthy light thief at 2:05 PM on August 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


well then that settles it.
posted by sweetkid at 2:05 PM on August 14, 2013


Is it worse than CafeMom?
posted by mkb at 2:05 PM on August 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Isn't CafeMom all "Fifteen year old found in a giant Mason jar on the side of the road in Arizona eating seaweed!" and similar crazeball stories?
posted by sweetkid at 2:07 PM on August 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wait, CafeMom accepts submissions from Mike Mignola?
posted by zombieflanders at 2:08 PM on August 14, 2013 [6 favorites]


And to be fair, BleacherReport has long been mocked as the absolute worst of online sports journalism (though they've gotten a little better lately, going from excruciating slideshow torture to merely consistently terrible), so a HAY LADIES I HEARD YOU LIKE LINKBAIT is probably the most progressive, valuable thing he's ever done.
posted by klangklangston at 2:11 PM on August 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


well Bleacher Report is still just crowdsourced fan stuff right?
posted by sweetkid at 2:12 PM on August 14, 2013


Nah, they hired a bunch of actual writers last year. They made some mouth noises about being the next Grantland, then realized it was hard and gave up. But most people writing for them get paid (a pittance) now.
posted by klangklangston at 2:14 PM on August 14, 2013


Good grief Grantland is orders of magnitude better than BR. Many orders of.
posted by sweetkid at 2:15 PM on August 14, 2013


I enjoyed Bitch Magazine's take on the situation.
posted by box at 2:17 PM on August 14, 2013 [13 favorites]


I so hate it when I follow a Google News link to a sports story that sounds interesting, and on clicking through I see it's on Bleacher Report. Then I'm like "Pictures? I don't want fucking pictures. I wanted more information about that headline you wrote."

I kick myself every single time for not checking the source first.
posted by mudpuppie at 2:18 PM on August 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


"Good grief Grantland is orders of magnitude better than BR. Many orders of."

Yeah, it was one of those, "We spent an extra $50 on these clubs, so watch your back Tiger Woods!"
posted by klangklangston at 2:22 PM on August 14, 2013


"because we recognize how many diverse interests are shared amongst the next generation of women"

In conclusion, females are a land of contrasts.
posted by jetlagaddict at 2:22 PM on August 14, 2013 [37 favorites]


The name "Bustle" makes me think they were hoping people would confuse them for Bust, but added the -le suffix to avoid copyright issues. Like how the Bangles started out as the Bangs, but changed their name once they found out there was an extant band with the same name. Except the Bangles are good and actually have women in their lineup.
posted by Metroid Baby at 2:25 PM on August 14, 2013 [8 favorites]


Atlantic Wire: Dude Mansplains His New Website For Dames
posted by box at 2:25 PM on August 14, 2013


From Bryan Goldberg's own Q & A in the first link [emphasis added]:
My job, as CEO, is to hire the right people. My job is to know a lot of engineers, editors, venture capitalists, and salespeople — and to bring them together. Knowing the difference between mascara, concealer, and eye-liner is not my job.
Golly, he sure has his finger on the pulse --- the fragile, febrile, delicately beating pulse --- of women's interests!
posted by Elsa at 2:25 PM on August 14, 2013 [7 favorites]


Oh god it actually gets worse:

"Today, I had to google 'IUD,' because it was on the front page of our site."

There's so much failure in this sentiment that I can't even.
posted by jetlagaddict at 2:27 PM on August 14, 2013 [52 favorites]


The name "Bustle" makes me think they were hoping people would confuse them for Bust, but added the -le suffix to avoid copyright issues.

Close, but not quite; it actually started as a rage cartoon about "le Bust", but they were worried the reddit vibe would problematize their otherwise rock-solid biz plan.
posted by cortex at 2:28 PM on August 14, 2013


"I hate most things 'created for women,' like it's this revelation - Hey guys, we could make a similar thing for WOMEN! Like pink power tools, for fuck's sake."

Yeah, that's what's wrong with this. Not that he's male. And not the entirely true proposition that there's a bias that sees things that typically interest men as "serious" and things that typically interest women as "trivial". It's that he's so egregiously clueless and condescending and basically perpetuating the very biases that he's criticizing.

It's exactly like some male executive of a power tool company saying something like "women use power tools, too, and we should be designing and marketing power tools to them — so let's make a line of tools that are pink and with flower decals!"

As opposed to "women use power tools, too, and we should be designing and marketing power tools to them — so let's be sure that the tools are comfortable for women's hands, which are on average slightly smaller, and advertise using both male and female models and actors using our tools, and try to get some of our products in stores moved out of the deep 'masculine' sections and into the general house & home sections, and, yeah, maybe tweak the color schemes on some items a bit to move away from shouting 'this is a big, manly tool that demonstrates machismo".

Goldberg is making the mistake that many men make — when they think they're "understanding" women, they're actually just attempting to "understand" a caricature of people who they fundamentally think of as alien. Women do this about men, too. It has everything to do with the essentialist thinking of the "men are from Mars and women are from Venus" thing. That worldview attempts to understand the opposite gender while fundamentally conceiving of it as alien and in some deep sense, ultimately incomprehensible.

It's not at all the same thing as recognizing that, on average, men and women have some different experiences and some different interests and trying to understand what those are. If you don't start from the assumption of essentialist alienation, you actually can understand things (inasmuch as we're ever able to understand experiences we've not had ourselves) about the experiences and interests of people different than oneself.

In more specific terms, where Goldberg went wrong was not starting from questioning his assumptions about what serious news is — that is to say, he should question his intuition about "normal" journalism and what it means when he's thinking of it being of interest to people like himself. If he had successfully questioned and became aware of the male bias, the sense that "serious" articles are written for people like him (men), then he would have had a much greater latitude for gaining some awareness of how this conception of journalism was ignoring the interests of women. Instead, what's he done is just go with his intuitive stereotype of women and their interests, and he believes that doing so is "feminist". I'd like to say that this is rare, but it's sadly quite common. It's just another form of that creepy "I love and respect women" piety.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 2:29 PM on August 14, 2013 [72 favorites]


CURRENTLY SEEKING FUNDING FOR METAFILTER4LADIES.COM

Sorry, no way this will be able to compete with my new venture, menstrualfilter.com.
posted by snofoam at 2:33 PM on August 14, 2013 [25 favorites]


When I saw Bitch's post on this show up on my FB wall, I seriously thought it was another Onion take (like the one linked by 2bucksplus).

Then I come to MeFi and find out dude raised 6.5 million.

Sigh.

I'm a paid subscriber to Bitch, so this bit on their writeup hit home:
"Since you didn't ask, I will fully cop to being jealous. Bitch, and every progressive women's publication and website out there, could do a fuck of a lot with 6.5 million. What we could particularly do would be to bring the feminist news-and-pop-culture combo that Goldberg seems to think is his own special mindsploding recipe but which we've been doing for 18 years, to a larger audience, with a bigger staff and far more resources. Which brings me to the fact that Bustle is currently advertising for a Freelance News Writer, who will be paid $100 per day for 4 to 6 posts, "3 of which would be ready for edit by 10am EST." That breaks down to about $16/post, which, as Jessica Hopper pointed out on Twitter this morning, is less than half of the rate paid by all the sites Goldberg thinks Bustle should be able to leave in the dust. (It should also be noted that this rate is less than what Bitch pays per post, and we're a nonprofit whose annual budget is probably what Goldberg has earmarked to pay for food at Bustle's holiday party.)"
Dude's loaded, calls himself a feminist, and then pays the women writers he claims he proudly hired, crap. *headdesk*
posted by fraula at 2:44 PM on August 14, 2013 [37 favorites]


I was too young for this amazing thing. Please enlighten me.

I am too old to know about this horrifying thing. I am ok with that.
posted by emjaybee at 2:45 PM on August 14, 2013


My job, as CEO, is to hire the right people. My job is to know a lot of engineers, editors, venture capitalists, and salespeople — and to bring them together. Knowing the difference between mascara, concealer, and eye-liner is not my job.

And, apparently, neither is knowing a goddamn thing about his audience. Well, no, that's probably wrong - his "audience" is not his readers, but his funders and advertisers. All he needs to know about his readers is enough to know what to sell them.
posted by rtha at 2:48 PM on August 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Bleacher Report? That's the site that "Top 36 blahblah of blahblah" lists about sports spread over 40 pages with pop up ads galore, right? If that's what he's famous for, there is no way this was ever going to end well.
posted by Hoopo at 3:07 PM on August 14, 2013


Everything about this reminds me of "binders full of women".
posted by kiltedtaco at 3:08 PM on August 14, 2013 [22 favorites]


I hate most things "created for women," like it's this revelation - Hey guys, we could make a similar thing for WOMEN! Like pink power tools, for fuck's sake.

Slight derail but I would totally buy hot pink power tools.

(Also, I think that bright yellow excavators and bulldozers are awesome)
posted by ambivalentic at 3:14 PM on August 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


He tweeted that "Having a company full of girls is great —they snuck into my bedroom and filled it with balloons!"


Wwwwow.
posted by petebest at 3:20 PM on August 14, 2013 [7 favorites]


Sounds like a really horrible idea and execution. I wager it'll be a big success.
posted by edgeways at 3:21 PM on August 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


6.5 million dollars ago, the age of the dinosaurs had not ended. Nothing happened to change that.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 3:35 PM on August 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


petebest: He tweeted that "Having a company full of girls is great —they snuck into my bedroom and filled it with balloons!"

Given his pay scale (about $16/post), his reference to his writers as "girls," and the room full of balloons, I like to think his company hired teen girl squad. Hey gals, how's the website looking? SO GOOD!
posted by filthy light thief at 3:36 PM on August 14, 2013 [22 favorites]


I've been following discussion on XOJane on a snark site (shut up, it's that or eating colleagues' leftover birthday cake) and...well, I don;t know if it should be better than it is, or if I'm just too old for their demographic at 31. It seems to be half oversharing (which isn't always a bad thing) and half beauty/fashion articles by women who look like American Apparel models (which also isnt' a bad thing but it's not my style) and written in this weird faux-casual Tumblr-esque voice a lot of the time. They did bring out a UK version, but Jane Pratt isn't known here, so it didn't last.

There's two free magazines on the tube here. One is aimed at men, and is Stuff To Buy combined with Men We Wish We Were If We Weren't In Middle Management, but it's quite funny. The women's version is mostly Stuff To Buy with a side-order of What X Is Like From A Woman's Perspective and pages of thin teenagers in very expensive clothing.

I do feel that when someone wants to create a WOMEN'S THING, they forget that women have lots of interests that aren't per se Women's Interests. The women I know like Dr Who, cars, eyeliner, books about Spain, birdwatching and needlepoint. Most of that is mysteriously absent when some media bloke realises that there's a lot of money in them there women.

Besides, The Harpin does this really well. Scandals Of Old Hollywood are some of the most fascinating essays I've read online, because it's just someone who's interested in something writing about it without relating it to [cliched female thing x] or What It Means For Women. Do you get Grazia in the US? It's a running joke that a) every cover features Angelina, Jennifer Aniston, Victoria Beckham or Kate Middleton, because there's only four women b) one page has an article about what new nail varnish shades came out during fashion week, the next has an article about genocide, and it all seems weird and forced, a bit like I've opened up my emag app on my tablet and it's confused Allure with The New Statesman. The whole thing is kind of humourless and consumerist and I have the feeling this site will model itself similarly.
posted by mippy at 3:40 PM on August 14, 2013 [8 favorites]


I think the point made in the Bitch takedown is the one needing the most focus:

But perhaps the most depressing thing about the Bustle story so far is that it underscores the entire narrative of how gender functions in the world of startups and venture capital. Writing in Medium, Karen Schulman Dupuis notes that a woman bringing such a half-baked idea (and presentation—Goldberg bragged that he was able to hook investors using only two slides) to an investor's table would have been viewed as evidence that women have no place in Silicon Valley's "meritocracy." "When sites like Bustle get $6.5 million in funding from multiple VCs," she writes, "it is a glaring statement that as long as the same old same old exists in VCs, then the same old same old shit will get funded."

When an honest, in-depth look at that shit shows up on the front page of Bustle, I'll check them out. Until then, not interested, and definitely not giving them my traffic.
posted by deliciae at 3:43 PM on August 14, 2013 [23 favorites]


I hate most things "created for women," like it's this revelation - Hey guys, we could make a similar thing for WOMEN! Like pink power tools, for fuck's sake.

In case you haven't seen them yet, it's worth reading a few of the 1600 Amazon customer reviews of the BIC Crystal For Her ball pen.
posted by Killick at 3:45 PM on August 14, 2013 [5 favorites]


The annoying side effect of this is that I actually want colourful versions of things, because I am dyspraxic and I will leave my phone on the bus if it isn't a bright colour I can see. (I''m hoping someone will bring out a Ladies SLR Bag For Ladies soon because my black one makes me well nervous.) But all these things are BLOODY FUCKING PINK.
posted by mippy at 3:49 PM on August 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


This isn’t surprising because, as Goldberg says himself, he believes it’s not his job to “know the difference between mascara, eyeliner and concealer.”

If you don't know the difference between these things, then you will be walking round looking like either a raccoon or an emperor penguin.

Both of which, incidentally, should launch a women's site for women on the women's internet because I would read that daily. 'How to forage in a way your man will love' and 'Fish: this season's krill' are just waiting for my pageclicks, animal entrepreneurs!
posted by mippy at 3:53 PM on August 14, 2013 [6 favorites]


Bustle, Bustle, toil and trouble
Gawker burn and Hairpin bubble
Filet of a VC's dream
Across twitter snarkers scream
posted by googly at 3:54 PM on August 14, 2013 [5 favorites]


Another problem they're having is that feminism largely isn't for idiots, but Bustle is. Wanting smart readers means being smart, yo. Otherwise, it's like reading Dan Brown write about geniuses.
posted by klangklangston at 4:01 PM on August 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


Though I'll give Bustle points for flanking Jezzie and the rest on #Solidarityisforwhitewomen. Hopefully, this boondoggle ends up putting a fair wad in canny feminist pockets before the furniture gets sold off as set dressing for the Pets.com movie.
posted by klangklangston at 4:03 PM on August 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Man creates something he claims is feminist, refers to his employees - who are presumably women - as "girls" and "ladies" while underpaying them.

Are we sure this isn't just some huge Onion prank? Seriously?
posted by Deoridhe at 4:11 PM on August 14, 2013 [8 favorites]


"I'm very mad that a dude with a track record of creating wildly successful and profitable websites is starting a website for women that will compete with my website for women." - writers for websites for women
posted by downing street memo at 4:58 PM on August 14, 2013


It's true that this is annoying and problematic, but it's also REALLY HARD for me not to laugh. It's not his job to know what eyeliner is! It's just his job to recognize the content ladies need that ladies aren't getting from ladies! All that stuff, all that "Women! Are you tired of people assuming you can't like lipstick AND feminism?" Like welcome to the dorm meetings I attended in 1990.

It's not that it isn't offensive. It's offensive. But it really could NOT have been done better by The Onion. "Ladies! Have you been waiting for the founder of a sports site to save feminism using advertising strategy, and is it okay with you if he doesn't know much about eyeliner? HA HA, you're in luck!"

I don't know. Maybe he'll get rich. But if he doesn't, this is going to be the funniest failed announcement in history.
posted by Linda_Holmes at 4:59 PM on August 14, 2013 [12 favorites]


"I'm very mad that a dude with a track record of creating wildly successful and profitable cash grab mindless content farm websites is getting $6.5 million for starting a website for women that will compete with my website for women while demonstrating a condescending and ignorant attitude towards both his potential readership and all the existing competition." - writers for readers of websites for women
posted by jacalata at 5:15 PM on August 14, 2013 [30 favorites]


"I'm very mad that feminists are upset about something that I'm either too lazy or too glib to grasp" - lazy dude snark on mefi
posted by klangklangston at 5:17 PM on August 14, 2013 [29 favorites]


You know what the Web really needs? A site listing ALL the investments of the VCs behind Bustle, connected to a web app that blocks all of the sites they have money in to prevent accidentally giving them clicks. Of course this is not a new idea of mine; I've long wanted a similar web amp for avoiding the properties of Rupert Murdock (must... keep... out... of... Hulu...).
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:28 PM on August 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


Bust Magazine: Get Off Our Tit, Bustle.com!
posted by box at 5:34 PM on August 14, 2013 [5 favorites]


"I'm very mad that a dude with a track record of creating wildly successful and profitable websites is starting a website for women that will compete with my website for women." - writers for websites for women


hahaha, yes, definitely, that's exactly it! it's just protectionism and spite! it couldn't at all be because this dude's business plan is, seemingly:

1) ladies exist

2) ladies like mascara (??) and sex (??) but also maybe foreign politics

3) the economist is not for girls

4) PROFIT!!!!!!!

If this guy had genuinely come in with a researched market plan that included smart, well-written articles in a framework designed to appeal to women, we wouldn't be having this conversation. Instead, he's a guy who thinks mascara is a resume-builder for women and who didn't know what an IUD was but now only cares because they were on "his" front page wrapped up in an archaic term for a fake dress butt that he got millions of dollars in VC for.
posted by jetlagaddict at 5:42 PM on August 14, 2013 [14 favorites]


Wainscotting.com
posted by charlie don't surf at 6:30 PM on August 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


bustle n something used to create the impression of a huge ass

Mission accomplished!
posted by Sys Rq at 7:04 PM on August 14, 2013 [30 favorites]


clearly I'm not in Bustle's target demographic.

What do you mean? You're a woman!!
posted by Miko at 8:29 PM on August 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Olympia Dukakis really nailed one of the best lines in Moonstruck: "What you don't know about women is a lot."
posted by argonauta at 8:51 PM on August 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Anyone have a screenshot of the offending website? I want to look, but I don't want to give them the pageviews.
posted by ocherdraco at 8:54 PM on August 14, 2013


This... will end well. *eyeroll*
posted by zarq at 8:56 PM on August 14, 2013


That link to Karen Schulman Dupuis is worth a read (from the Bust excerpt deliciae quoted above). I like the dig at "the incestuous, celebutante state of startups." She goes on:

Let me simply say this; anyone that uses quotes around “income gap” is NOT a feminist. It’s not an “income gap”. It’s a fucking income gap. Your air quotes don’t make it a fairy tale, it’s a real thing...

And speaking of assholes…

If you don’t think that there’s a bias in women led ventures getting VC funding, then you’re being willfully blind. It’s documented, ad nauseam that women only receive 4.2% of VC funding in the US. I seriously cannot think of another more perfect example than this one to animate how horribly wrong the VC eco-system is, and how every single one of the players that gave @BGoldberg money should be ashamed of themselves.

And you know why?

If a woman led initiative had come to any one of these VCs and pitched their business as piss-poorly as Goldberg obviously did, with this kind of tepid writing, and storify-ing stealing interface, they would’ve been laughed out of their offices. Soundly. And with good reason.

posted by mediareport at 9:33 PM on August 14, 2013 [13 favorites]


Wanting smart readers means being smart, yo. Otherwise, it's like reading Dan Brown write about geniuses.

Renowned entrepreneur Bryan Goldberg stumbled across the $15.4 million board room floor like a tiger slipping on four different banana peels. Behind him, a silent voice spoke. "Tell us what the secret is."

"To understanding women?!" rasped the thirty-four-year-old former Little League champion who had once eaten two whole hot dogs at a time. He thought about the phone call he'd had with an old friend two evenings hence – an old friend who was associated with one of the oldest genders known to man – and knew he would die rather than bequench his secret. "I'd rather die," he intoned defiantly.

"So be it," said the voice. It walked into the Versace-tiled archway and picked up a Vietnamese baseball bat – a baseball bat, Bryan knew, which was distinguished by the Vietnamese tradition of taping leeches to the hitty part of the thingy. His face went cold. Only four people alive knew the excruciating pain that a Vietnamese baseball bat could inflict, and the Vietnamese of course. Goldberg cursed the teacher who had gifted upon him such knowledge. How a thing which seems good suddenly seems less good in the right circumstances, he briefly mused.

The voice resounded again. "Before you go," it said sinisterly, "we know about Theresa." It grinned a bloodless, malevolent grin.

Theresa?! thought Goldberg. Shit! If the man knew about Theresa, then there wasn't much time. He would know the Secrets of the Other Gender. A thousand years of effort would be lost...

With the last breath he had, he focused on hacking off both his arms with the Prussian machete he had always loved for its letter-opening capacity. Robert Langdon would know, he thought. Robert Langdon would understand the subtle symbology that these brutes could never understand. His mind walked back to an old schoolroom, where a teacher pointed out statues—statues, he knew, of women, whose features he had studied oft since.

One statue occupied his mind right now. Venus de Milo, the famously armless lady. Robert Langdon would see his splattered limbs and start to understand the horrible truth.

Women are from Venus, he thought desperately, and then Bryan Goldberg entrepreneured never the more.
posted by Rory Marinich at 9:58 PM on August 14, 2013 [53 favorites]


That was horribly wonderful.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:35 PM on August 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


The writing is so bad, it's embarrassing.

From 'Don't Like Fashion? Guess What - It Still Affects You':

Through clothing and accessories, people are able to play with associations. For example, if you were to wear a pair of colorful chinos, a J.Crew button-down, a cardigan tied around your shoulders, and boat shoes, my first thought wouldn't be, "Oh. They're probably going to go on a boat." You're not wearing that outfit because you need the traction of a rubber sole or because it might get chilly on the yacht. That outfit does not evoke you hitting the high seas. Or maybe you're not dressed in boat shoes and chinos. Maybe you're wearing a Supreme snapback, wedge sneakers, and an Alexander Wang tank top. Or maybe you're wearing red lips, blunt bangs, and a '50s style dress adored with printed birds. The point is, each of these carefully planned outfits send signals up to the brain, telling the people who you meet about your financial status, interests, personality, and background. This is semiotics. These are the building blocks of cognition.

Kill me now.
posted by Salamander at 10:54 PM on August 14, 2013 [7 favorites]


I'll stick with vag magazine (previously) thanks!
posted by chapps at 11:08 PM on August 14, 2013


It strikes me as pretty sexist that people are piling on this guy because he's a man, and he must be mansplaining and all.

Anyway, to the point. The guy has boasted his pitch was short. I suspect he drew a Venn diagram with Jezebel on one side and Buzzfeed on the other and Bustle in the middle. And he looks right: there is space for a more gendered Buzzfeed.

The mixed messages about quality while also content farming are also directly reminiscent of the Buzzfeed model.

Now, whether he can execute it is another matter, but the thinking isn't as loony tunes as some commenters here are suggesting.
posted by MuffinMan at 11:23 PM on August 14, 2013


It strikes me as pretty sexist that people are piling on this guy because he's a man, and he must be mansplaining and all.

Yes. Clearly, it is the outraged women here who are being sexist. Just like, if you ever suggested that slavery hurt black people more than whites, you're the racist for categorizing people by race! Did you ever think of that, feminists?
posted by jacalata at 1:10 AM on August 15, 2013 [17 favorites]


Yes. Clearly, it is the outraged women here who are being sexist. Just like, if you ever suggested that slavery hurt black people more than whites, you're the racist for categorizing people by race!

Sarcasm noted, but the point of your hyperbole and strawman eludes me. Prevalent male sexism and the patriarchy doesn't magically excuse crappy sexism the other way.

The theme from several posters at the top of the thread is that because he's a man, he has no place establishing a content business targeting women.

He's "neither the face nor the voice of Bustle" and an ironic and knowing opening statement about, gasp, what women are allowed to be interested in has been read far more literally than it was clearly intended.

His crime appears to be pointing out how patronising media targeted at women often is because it approaches them with a fixed view of their interests, rather than the [Buzzfeedish] model of giving the [female] contributors control over what they post.
posted by MuffinMan at 2:34 AM on August 15, 2013


Erm, it isn't what he is that's offensive, it's what he's said and done. *sigh*
posted by Summer at 3:15 AM on August 15, 2013 [7 favorites]


It strikes me as pretty sexist that people are piling on this guy because he's a man, and he must be mansplaining and all.

You know, this has been coming up since the announcement, and it's just not true. It's not the fact that he's a man that makes it hilarious/offensive/obnoxious. It's the fact that he's a man who either (1) doesn't know one damn thing about the online publishing environment for smart women or (2) doesn't understand online feminism enough to understand that pretending not to know one damn thing about it would come across the way it did.

There is a man explaining, and then there is mansplaining. I firmly agree with you that "mansplaining" is sometimes overused. But this is, like, the thing you would put in the dictionary beside "mansplaining." Seriously.

My theory, personally, is that what he actually believes is that existing sites for women suck at business and advertising, and he can do better at making money. Which isn't really offensive to me. But what he said was that existing sites for women suck at giving women the content they want and treating women's diverse interests with respect, and he can do better at understanding the needs of women. That's where the man hit the splaining, if I may.
posted by Linda_Holmes at 4:57 AM on August 15, 2013 [30 favorites]


Well you see, the problem was that he took a complex topic that many people (women and men included) have written a lot about, just sort of briefly skimmed enough to satisfy his pre-determined conclusions and stereotypes, then went and commented on the topic (online of course) in a manner that kind of insults his readers, female and otherwise.
posted by eviemath at 5:06 AM on August 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


Oh crap, I forgot to juxtapose my serious thinking with stuff women are interested in. How do I expect myself to ever listen to me or be interested in what I have to say without that?!

Mascara.
posted by eviemath at 5:09 AM on August 15, 2013 [7 favorites]


But what he said was that existing sites for women suck at giving women the content they want and treating women's diverse interests with respect, and he can do better at understanding the needs of women.

WHY NOT GOLDBERG?
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:14 AM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Linda_Holmes, I'll grant you he's left a fair bit of wiggle room for criticism.

If one knew he was was a woman and read his opening gambit, the criticism would be different. For one, what can be read as patronising now would be read with the ironic tone it was intended to convey ("Welcome to the year 2013" etc).

OK, but he is a man, so ignoring the hypothetical:

- His tone: clearly ironic in tone to my eyes, widely read as patronising
- His view on the state of online publishing for women: if he'd come out and said he was creating a Buzzfeed for women he'd have got less flack. I think he's spot on that there is a viable market space, even if there is plenty of competition already in online publishing targeted at women. Both Buzzfeed and HuffPo entered highly competitive spaces and their mix of aggregation and original content has prevailed.
- His intent that Bustle is feminist and/serious: well, OK. Sounds pretty laughable when initial posts were bubblegum lists. But people laughed when Buzzfeed announced its intent to get serious about long form journalism too.

In short: in people's rush to lynch him for an error of tone they are also lynching him for being arrogant, unknowledgeable and so forth. I don't think he is mistaken that the space he is targeting is both open and viable. He's copping a lot of flack precisely because he's a man running a female targeted business, which is leaving him open to the charge of mansplaining, arrogance etc.
posted by MuffinMan at 5:26 AM on August 15, 2013


CEOs do not make ironic press releases. His investors did not give him $6.5 million to create a startup-as-performance-art parody of sexism. I'd love to live in this world where a business man acting in an apparently sexist way is most likely just having his irony misread.
posted by gilrain at 5:41 AM on August 15, 2013 [21 favorites]


Can we not say "lynch" about a dude getting made fun of for a poorly written press release? I really cringe at that. I mean, obviously we don't agree, but I would love not to have every criticism redrawn as "lynching."
posted by Linda_Holmes at 5:43 AM on August 15, 2013 [15 favorites]


Yeah. Calling someone a sexist and ignorant jerk is not lynching.
posted by rtha at 5:45 AM on August 15, 2013 [9 favorites]


And also, god forbid anyone give women SIX POINT FIVE MILLION DOLLARS for this bullshit. Look, I run a small publishing company that publishes really niche-y content and in a little under three years we are pulling in six figures. I myself am not, yet, but to be profitable at all in an industry that is going through some serious weird right now is a pretty big deal.

You know what's getting VC money in my town? Twentysomething bros who built a fucking app to turn on the shower with your smartphone.

What. The. Everloving. Fuck.

I had to practically consent to a cavity search to get a line of credit at the bank and yet..... pretty sure I perma-broke something in my head when I read the rah rah article about that shower app bullshit.

I don't care if this manchild and his fratty fratboy friends know thing one about mascara or IUDs or whatever the hell. I very MUCH care that they are perpetuating a financial system (see also: the pittances they are paying their writers...people who work for me are actually making more than me right now because people need to be paid, and fairly, if you want to sustain good staff long term) that disadvantages the sort of innovative women who could bring something MUCH better to the table and not offend everyone in the process.

I can adopt a Daily Mail-policy of not linking to these idiots but I can't adopt a boycott of the business financial system. Well, unless I want to crowdsource my growth funding, and that is not a viable long term strategy.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 5:48 AM on August 15, 2013 [30 favorites]


I'm also confused by the idea that somehow we need a Buzzfeed for women, as if Buzzfeed weren't already a favorite site for many women. A CEO calling his senior staff members girls and laughing off his ignorance about sexual health is not ironic, and it's not amusing. Labeling it feminist? Man, that's just bad-- and that's what people are attacking.
posted by jetlagaddict at 6:10 AM on August 15, 2013 [8 favorites]


Considering you don't seem to have gotten pissed off at me yet, MuffinMan, I have to question your irony-spotting abilities.
posted by eviemath at 6:38 AM on August 15, 2013


Concealer.
posted by eviemath at 6:42 AM on August 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


Twentysomething bros who built a fucking app to turn on the shower with your smartphone.

I would back that if it would remind me which way around I need to turn the cold tap to make more cold come out. I forget every morning and end up scorching my fingers.

I also want them to invent an FM station consisting only of karaoke backing tracks so that I can have it on on my shower radio - that couldn't cost $6m, surely?
posted by mippy at 6:47 AM on August 15, 2013


If one knew he was was a woman and read his opening gambit, the criticism would be different. For one, what can be read as patronising now would be read with the ironic tone it was intended to convey ("Welcome to the year 2013" etc).... He's copping a lot of flack precisely because he's a man running a female targeted business, which is leaving him open to the charge of mansplaining, arrogance etc.

If we look at an analogous incident, it's easy to see that this isn't as cut-and-dried as you seem to think it is. I'm thinking of the time maybe 5-6 years ago when American Airlines (I think it was) launched a new front page for women (oddly, the URL is still there but it seems to redirect to their charity page. RrrRR?). It was a stupid and demeaning page. We had a thread about it here (which I can't find for the life of me, maybe I'm actually thinking of the one on MetaChat), and I and many others wrote directly to American about it. One of the responses I/we got was to the effect of "our female VP/many female executives thought this was a good idea!" Using the involvement of women as a cover for a lousy and bad-faith idea does not make that idea better.

They're copping a lot of flack not for being male, but for pandering, tokenism, clumsily grasping, and thinking of women as an interest group rather than a simple majority of consumers whose tastes vary far more widely within the gender than across gender lines. The web will better serve women when businesses on the web realize that women are as varied and complex and idiosyncratic as men, cluster in their own interest-driven communities along with other men and women, and that editorial content and user experience design needs to address itself not just to men as the default and women as a special audience, but to men and women given equal weight. The web doesn't need a special-for-women portal. It needs to be more inclusive of women across all other portals.

That's the problem with this plan. The added dynamic of this guy setting up a structure that is essentially the Charlie's Angels of pop/news websites is an interesting fillip, but not the reason he's drawing criticism.

This kind of thing is something women have observed happening in their lives for a long time - that's why it's silly to take this one episode and be all "girls, girls, he's just trying to help!" This isn't a new approach in general, and it's not a surprise for anyone here, which is why you see "Oh not again" instead of "what a provocative new idea!" We've had our own attempts at segregated girls' everything forever, and the central reason that they fail is that all women are different. You can't just color it pink/ talk about makeup / stick a purse hook on it / whatever and say "now it's for women." You can't make something "for women" successfully unless you are truly being inclusive about giving women the same individual/community-based targeted attention and basic dignity male audiences get.
posted by Miko at 7:02 AM on August 15, 2013 [30 favorites]




Oh boy! SOMEONE'S PR flacks have been working overtime. Methinks they probably got paid more than $16 to write this post.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 9:10 AM on August 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


What's really interesting is how little of a response there's been from the actual editorial staff. I clicked through to the twitters of the people in the "masthead" (I guess) and only one or two are engaging with the criticism at all. I thought the response post was interesting, but I want to hear from the staffers themselves about why this is an awesome and different publication-- which is one of the reasons I loved the Hairpin's launch and the Toast too.

And as a side note, if he's still highlighting the writers?
Many of our writers are young women who admire those publications. By not mentioning these sites in my blog post, I undermined one of the major reasons why these women are inspired to write in the first place.
I note he hasn't increased the pay scale and that unsolicited submissions are still unpaid even if they're used. Maybe if he really wants to find good young writers, he should spend a little more capital on them.
posted by jetlagaddict at 9:28 AM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I was surprised myself that in the initial post, he sold the writers he was getting on the basis of "attended good colleges" (which: WOW, nobody cares) and "can't get jobs in publishing." There are tons and tons and TONS of great writers who can't get jobs in publishing, don't get me wrong. But that's not how you sell them. You say, "I have hired the absolute best writers I could find," not "you should congratulate me for giving $16 a post to people who can't get jobs anywhere else." While you may feel great (and should feel great) about the opportunities you give young writers -- I am sometimes that way myself about people I publish and pay and pull along -- that's never going to be why other people come to your site and read them.

It's absolutely better than being paid nothing, but when you're trying to sell your editorial, you have to say something about your writers other than that they needed the work.
posted by Linda_Holmes at 9:54 AM on August 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


The Hairpin picked up this Goldberg quote from Forbes.
What fascinates me as I spend a lot of time talking about women with what they want to read… I used to have this attitude of ‘Oh, a woman who likes beauty probably likes fashion, probably likes interior design, probably loves pop culture, and health and whatnot.’ But that’s not accurate. My girlfriend is really into health and yoga and fitness but she’s not into fashion. And I know women who are really into fashion but not into beauty. So, my cousin is obsessed with fashion but she’s not one of these girls who spends an hour putting on her face. And yet I know women who spend an hour putting on their face but don’t really care that much about yoga. And I know women who are really into interior design but don’t care about fashion. And it seems crazy. You say, how can someone love interior design but not care at all about fashion. And that’s what’s awesome about it. If you can make a publication that’s strong in all of these disparate areas and bring together all these interests no one else is doing, I think you have a winning idea there.
Dude. Duuuuude.
posted by rewil at 11:03 AM on August 15, 2013 [26 favorites]


You say, how can someone love interior design but not care at all about fashion.

wait until someone tells him some women have love only for nachos, what will he do then
posted by jetlagaddict at 11:11 AM on August 15, 2013 [14 favorites]


$100/day for 4-6 stories is sharecropping.
posted by rhizome at 11:15 AM on August 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


And I know women who are really into interior design but don’t care about fashion. And it seems crazy. You say, how can someone love interior design but not care at all about fashion.

It's hard to justify even taking the time to respond, but...

And I know men who are really into lacrosse but don’t care about hockey. And it seems crazy. You say, how can someone love lacrosse but not care at all about hockey.

HOW. HOW??

I know, this is a grossly imperfect comparison - power differentials not least among the reasons. Still.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 11:18 AM on August 15, 2013 [7 favorites]


I assume the intended audience for his original announcement was the investment community and large advertisers... which he assumed would be more interested in how Bustle's business model is differentiated from other sites ("Raising a large round of venture capital is one such difference in approach. Partnering with a major media company like Time Warner is another.").

But now he's kind of trapped, because the women who are Bustle's target audience read it, too, and they don't really give a shit about his ROI, or being the naively monetized eyeballs that fund it, and they have reason to take issue with his claim that they, the "people who are still reading Cosmo... are not used to seeing the Egyptian Revolution side-by-side with Fashion tips." So now he's trying the "but some of my best staff are women!" thing, and attempting to backtrack that Bustle "won’t just be about our content mix. There are a lot of sites with an interesting content mix. Our mission is about voices — trying to find great voices who have yet to achieve mainstream recognition...." and it just sounds so very disingenuous.

His launch release didn't provide any compelling reason why women would want to read Bustle versus any other website or print publication. All that he has really managed to communicate is the deterrent that his site will have MORE ads than the sources women currently have for all of the content that interests them.
posted by argonauta at 11:18 AM on August 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


Is that Forbes quote verbatim? Because...

What fascinates me as I spend a lot of time talking about women with what they want to read… (emphasis mine)

That's got to have been a slip of the tongue, right? Right??

Also, from everything I've read so far, I can tell he's coming from an advertising background, because his idea of womankind seems directly lifted from commercials. He probably also believes that women constantly crave lowfat yogurt, and every so often suddenly turn away from conversations to declare "Remember, Seasonale is not effective against HIV or STIs. Talk to your healthcare provider about whether Seasonale is right for you."
posted by Metroid Baby at 11:23 AM on August 15, 2013 [8 favorites]


but the point of your hyperbole and strawman eludes me. Prevalent male sexism and the patriarchy doesn't magically excuse crappy sexism the other way.

The point of my hyperbole was that it is not intrinsically sexist to comment on a persons gender. It is not sexism to say that one of the reasons he is failing so badly here is because he is male.

To explain further, if a woman managed to put out this pathetically ignorant press release I would assume that actually, she did find herself incapable of taking in news from sites like Gawker, Slate, etc, and she had extrapolated that experience to many women, and I would pity the fuck out of her. When a man says it, I can't give him that benefit of the doubt, that he is working from his own sad experiences. I have to assume that he believes this of women because he is a sexist, ignorant, steaming pile of asshole who has just attempted to build a business on the idea that 'women are different to men! But not different enough that I should do any market research or use anything except my own assumptions to figure them out, because they're so simple and obvious in their differences like liking that dumb makeup stuff'. So yes, this is worse when a man does it. And no, I don't believe he is being ironic.
posted by jacalata at 11:28 AM on August 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


From Bustle's About page:
What others might call a big tent, we prefer to think of as a giant skirt.
Groan.
posted by argonauta at 11:40 AM on August 15, 2013


What others might call a big tent, we prefer to think of as a giant skirt.

I know it's not really satire but COME ON.

It's like Michael Scott starts a lady's magazine.
posted by sweetkid at 11:43 AM on August 15, 2013 [17 favorites]


. If you can make a publication that’s strong in all of these disparate areas

Dear God, what a maroon. This is like the basic "women's media" formula from, like, 1889 onward.

He has clearly never picked up an issue of a woman's magazine like Elle, Allure, Glamour or Vogue. Not once. And, in fact, all of those cover some dimensions of politics, literature, and business as well. To start with.
posted by Miko at 11:44 AM on August 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


The VC and modern bizdev environment is such that there is not a lot of imagination and innovation available to build businesses upon, so what we have here is merely a puffery-powered version of the old saw, "if you can't change the product, change the packaging." The pitch we read here being the packaging for the money side of the business. Funding achieved, now pop into underpaid underlings startup mode and pay yourself $400K.
posted by rhizome at 12:04 PM on August 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Dear God, I'm reading the pieces now. Like An Explainer Of What's Been Happening in Egypt Since Mohammad Morsi's Outing [is that English? Was it ...edited?].

This interview with the originator of the #SolidarityForWhiteWomen hashtag is pretty good, but it's the only thing I've found that was like that.

Then there's Mad Scientists are Going At It - Scientists Are Working on Lab Grown Hamburgers, Livers, Retinas and More Crazy Stuff. Onion-worthy.

More crazy stuff indeed.
posted by Miko at 12:08 PM on August 15, 2013


Also, from everything I've read so far, I can tell he's coming from an advertising background, because his idea of womankind seems directly lifted from commercials. He probably also believes that women constantly crave lowfat yogurt, and every so often suddenly turn away from conversations to declare "Remember, Seasonale is not effective against HIV or STIs. Talk to your healthcare provider about whether Seasonale is right for you."

Oh man, I really, really am craving Target: Women right now. Where are the flying pandas with smokes of yesteryear?
posted by jetlagaddict at 12:11 PM on August 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Man, these venture capitalists are just slavering for pitchmen (yeah, the gendered noun is on purpose) to sell them something, anything, man, they need a pitch real bad!

Are they aware that carnival barkers are still available at every county fair across the country? And they'll pitch you hard for just $4 spent trying to win a dodgily-licensed giant Snoopy.
posted by gilrain at 12:18 PM on August 15, 2013


There is something I have observed many times about certain sorts of older men with money. They love young men that seem hip and cool, and will give them a lot of money, sometimes for not very good reasons.
posted by Miko at 1:18 PM on August 15, 2013 [6 favorites]


So basically young moron startup dudes are to old dudes with money as fancy cars are to dudes with slightly less money? Awesome. I feel so much better thinking about that.*

* no, I don't. Sigh.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 2:31 PM on August 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


That Forbes quote (and this whole debacle, really) leads me to believe he went to all-boys schools his entire life, and has lived in a monastery ever since.

It's like he has never even seen a woman in real life, let alone spoken to one.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:50 PM on August 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


Oh god that Forbes quote. Oh wow that's cluelessness. Or something.

Seriously wow.
posted by sweetkid at 3:00 PM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh man, I really, really am craving Target: Women right now.

FYI, Sarah Haskins is the co-creator of a comedy that will be on ABC this fall. It's called Trophy Wife, but don't take that at face value.
posted by Linda_Holmes at 4:10 PM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


And I know women who are really into interior design but don’t care about fashion. And it seems crazy. You say, how can someone love interior design but not care at all about fashion.

"It seems crazy"? WHAT THE EVERLOVING FUCK!?

What others might call a big tent, we prefer to think of as a giant skirt.

Like, in a Tin Drum way? Because that's just gross.
posted by Squeak Attack at 5:59 PM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Really, the big problem with women criticizing Bustle is we need to wait for Bryan Goldberg to tell us how to do it. We can't even manage to like interior design AND fashion at the same time even though they're TOTALLY the same thing, so clearly our brains aren't fit for this "thinking" thing. That's why people have to come into this thread and tell us it's sexist to judge men for "mansplaining" things - we're just thinking about everything wrongly, clearly, because if we were thinking clearly we'd think men getting 95% of the venture capital is totally a meritocracy as it naturally must be.
posted by Deoridhe at 6:49 PM on August 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


At least some good snarks have come out of this project. So that's something, right?
posted by daybeforetheday at 3:16 AM on August 16, 2013


Despite what many believe, I'd really prefer a world which never prompted me to snark about gender stereotypes.
posted by Miko at 7:12 AM on August 16, 2013 [3 favorites]




oh that is so good.
posted by sweetkid at 1:00 PM on August 16, 2013


This keeps getting better!
posted by naoko at 3:00 PM on August 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh, wow.
posted by rtha at 3:08 PM on August 26, 2013


What the. I couldn't even finish the article naoko posted. What a clueless jerk.
posted by sweetkid at 3:55 PM on August 26, 2013


From the article naoko posted:
"He told me that his contract, when he sold Bleacher Report, stipulated that he couldn't make another site targeting the same demographic (i.e. males 18-34). So that was why he decided to make a site for women... he said he was hoping to make "the biggest site for women" on the web, because he couldn't target men anymore...."
That explains SO MUCH.
posted by argonauta at 5:09 PM on August 26, 2013 [4 favorites]


He told me that his contract, when he sold Bleacher Report, stipulated that he couldn't make another site targeting the same demographic (i.e. males 18-34).

Wow. If that's true, he's even dumber than I thought. Who in their right mind would agree to such terms?
posted by Sys Rq at 5:53 PM on August 26, 2013


Yeah, the bit about not wanting smart writers was pretty, uh, predicted, too. I don't think you have to be all that smart to be a feminist, but I do think you have to be at least somewhat smart to write about feminism — there are a lot of subtleties in feminism that stupidity compresses, and the patriarchy wants nothing more than dumb, lazy consumers, so there's a real risk of fucking things up (even for the smart ones #solidarityisforwhitewomen).

To be fair, I'd support a Bustle that was gonna Feminist All The Things from Gucci bags to Gucci Mane to "Gucci Gucci" even if it took the same moron-by-weight approach that BleacherReport did toward sports, but fuck a halfass girlzone.
posted by klangklangston at 5:56 PM on August 26, 2013


Phewwww. I will say, as bad as this site's own concept is, the reporting on it is awesome.
posted by Miko at 7:07 PM on August 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


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