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July 10, 2010

Why I don't want to read anything written for women

HegnarOnline, one of the Norwegian business newssites I don't work for, recently launched a "Women's" section on their site.

No, I don't see the point of a special selection of business and finance news stories specifically for girls. I checked out the women's section of this site, and it made me feel insulted. I don't go to a business/finance news site for fashion tips. Not when it's Fall couture season at style.com. And if a woman is interesting enough to be interviewed by a newspaper, men and women should be reading about her.

Trying to sell me media for women sends me the message that all the other media is for men. So since I'm a girl, I can play around in the women's section of business journalism, reading about hairdressers, sushi restaurants and cosmetics companies. That way, the men can be left alone with their technology, stock markets and of course any stories about men making lots of money. No woman would ever want to read about that.

This doesn't make me feel special. I just feel left out.

I enjoy looking through Vogue, because they write about fashion. Not "stuff women are supposed to like", but fashion, for those who like that. I'll also read The Frisky occasionally. It's a blog marketed toward women, but they have a loyal following of male readers who give their perspectives in the comments, and the writers actively encourage men and women to join the discussion.

Despite claiming otherwise, many for-profit websites written specifically for women, are actually just like traditional women's magazines, writes Emily Gould for Slate:

"Glossies make money by exploiting women's insecurities. The editorial content creates ego-wounds ("Do you smell bad? Why isn't he into you?") that advertisers handily salve by offering up makeup and scented tampons. (...) Instead of mimicking the old directly anxiety-making model—for example, by posting weight-loss tips and photos of impossibly thin models like a traditional women's magazine—Jezebel and the Slate and Salon "lady-blogs" post a critique of a rail-thin model's physique, explaining how her attractiveness hurts women. The end result is the same as the old formula—women's insecurities sell ads."

This just reminds me why I don't want to read anything that's "for women" at all. If no man wants to read it, how can it possibly be good enough for me?

When HegnarOnline quoted a story I wrote today, it was on the boys' front page. Hmmm...

Image: PostSecret

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Posted by Julie at July 10, 2010 9:18 PM

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I see your point, and I do agree. However, how do/did you feel about ELLE MAN?

Posted by: Aina at July 11, 2010 3:24 AM

Aina - ELLE MAN. Isn't that like calling a magazine she-male? Or at least "her-man". Hated the name so much I didn't feel like opening the magazine.

Posted by: Julie R. Andersen at July 11, 2010 9:07 AM

Hey, I never came up with the name. Also, it's normal you didn't open the magazine. It didn't appeal to your demographic. It worked.

Posted by: Aina at July 11, 2010 4:59 PM