Posts Tagged ‘Salon’

I was recently putting together a list of female journalists (no, not just for fun, although it was quite fun), and I’m reminded yet again of how much of a boy’s world journalism is. Except, these days it’s not so much that there aren’t any female writers out there, or that there’s just the one His Girl Friday smacking around the befuddled sexist male reporters in the newsroom. There are women – awesome, brilliant, gifted writers whose articles are always thought provoking and sometimes game-changing.

The problem is where you find them. If you go to the top newspapers, a large percentage of the women you will find there are writing in the Lifestyle sections: food, fashion, design, real estate, women’s issues. I’ll repeat that last one: Women’s issues are in the lifestyle sections. Because men’s issues are, what? Business, Tech, Politics – those all get their own section. But women’s issues are something other, and nebulous, so when you have someone writing on them at all she (and it’s always she) gets stuck in Lifestyle.

Salon, though I’m a fan, is one of the worst perpetrators of this marginalization of “women’s issues.” They have some of the best in the business writing on beats like gender, women in politics and global women’s rights – and they get stuck in the “Life” section. The brilliant Rebecca Traister’s pieces are lumped together with sex advice columns and TV reviews (ok, sometimes she wrote the TV reviews – but then again, TV reviews aren’t always crap.) Last month I spotted one of these juxtapositions that was so ridiculous I had to archive it.

Foreign affairs, violent anti-choice rhetoric, and…smelly beds? It’s like eating a box of Oreos and suddenly pulling out a graham cracker. Neither are bad, necessarily, but they don’t belong in the same box.

And this is their idea of “Life”?

Not to say that Salon is all bad on the women’s empowerment front. The editor-in-chief is Joan Walsh (at least until she steps down in the near future to pursue book projects – and is replaced by a man. Sigh.). They do have smart women writing on interesting and important topics. But compare the number of writers with a Y chromosome on the editorial staff of the Life section (one – the advice columnist, which is awesome in its own right – out of four) to the number of male writers on the News/Politics and Tech/Business sections (four out of four).

This, my friends, is where the rub lies. So, let’s get more women writing, more women being published in the “hard news” sections, and get “women’s issues” out of the Lifestyle sections. Who’s with me?


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