Feminist critique of Slate’s Double X

May 14, 2009

American Prospect’s Ann Friedman has an interesting critique of Slate’s Double X, a new “women-centric” web site launched this week.

The proliferation of woman-centric sites raises the sorts of questions that keep a feminist editor up at night. If Slate saw a demand for more content about women, why didn’t it start publishing more articles for and by women on its main site? The decision to devote micro-sites to groups that aren’t white men — The Root for black readers, Double X for women readers — implies that Slate recognizes the need for more coverage that caters to women and people of color. But it doesn’t want that coverage mucking up its main product.

I’ll be reading Double X out of professional curiosity if nothing else, but Friedman says that’s not the point.

Thanks to the feminist movement and evolving notions of gender, Double X may indeed get its fair share of male readers. (Jezebel boasts a nearly 50 percent male readership.) Even if men are interested and clicking, the problem with branding certain types of articles “for women” is that it still advances a false gender divide. We can all agree that men parent, too. Men andwomen care about fashion and follow Hollywood gossip. Yet when these articles are primarily housed under a logo that refers to female chromosomes, it perpetuates the false idea that women are interested in Forever 21 and Facebook but not torture hearings or health-care reform.

Here are a few of the Double X pieces I’ve looked at:

I’m sure for anyone versed in feminist history Friedman’s critique is an obvious one, which means there’s an obvious rebuttal, and a counter-rebuttal, and so on. Anyone care to enlighten me what a 3.5 Wave feminist would have to say about all this?

via.

Update: Double X responds.

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3 Responses to “Feminist critique of Slate’s Double X”

  1. Chrusty Nostrilson Says:

    “Yet when these articles are primarily housed under a logo that refers to female chromosomes, it perpetuates the false idea that women are interested in Forever 21 and Facebook but not torture hearings or health-care reform.”

    Women are interested in Forever 21. Period. Men are fucking bored as hell in Forever 21. Period. And I’d argue that nearly everyone will agree women are interested in torture hearings and health-care reform. Unfortunately her chosen example is weak (there are plenty of better ones…Like women are into menstruation pills and not into man caves.) But that aside…the existence of “Cosmopolitan” and other similar pubs does nothing to change that. Yes, of course, these pubs may enhance or influence the gender divide, but their greater purpose is a “following from,” rather than a “leading to”…for crying out loud.

    After dismissing extreme feminism in 1992, and living a varied and well-traveled life, I’ve concluded that the best thing about the opposite sex is just how opposite they are.

    To confuse you further: on my first Double X read it’s too women-y for me, personally, and too much of a muchness. (But that’s because I’m interested in reading about men, and men&women, not because of any anti-feminist bullshit.)

    Last night’s discussion among science journalists of Double X concluded that it isn’t nearly as good as the Jezebel of two years ago…which apparently inspired Double X in the first place (as a counter/slam.)

  2. JR Minkel Says:

    Interesting. Where can I purchase one of these “man caves”?


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