Feature

The rise of the faux-feminist

Female bloggers' trash glossy women's magazines for playing on women's insecurities, says Emily Gould at Slate.com. But they do the same thing, only in a sneakier way

Women's blogs, such as Jezebel, are supposed to be the feminist's answer to traditional women's magazines, says Emily Gould at Slate. Feminist bloggers regularly bash the likes of Cosmo, Vogue, and other glossies for playing on their readers' insecurities with weight-loss tips and "photos of impossibly thin models." Instead, Jezebel, Slate's XX, Salon's Broadsheet, and the rest of the "lady blogs" tell it like it is, posting critiques of a rail-thin model's physique, "explaining how her attrativeness hurts women," or blasting "The Daily Show" for being a "boys' club." The outrage gets readers fired up, and generates the page views websites need to survive. But the blogs really are just tapping into the same winning formula as the glossies — grab readers by tweaking their insecurities, then sell them something — they're just doing it in a new, roundabout way. An excerpt:

"When Jezebel was founded, it proposed itself as an explicit alternative to traditional women's magazines. As any first-year women's studies major will tell you, these 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. But Jezebel must also sell ad space, and its founders knew that they are marketing to a generation that knew the score about how they'd been marketed to in the past, which meant those old-fashioned print tactics weren't going to work. Page views are generated by commenters who are moved to speak out, then revisit the comment thread endlessly to see how people have responded to their ideas. Ergo, more provocative posts tend to generate far more page views, and the easiest way for Jezebel writers to be provocative is to stoke readers' insecurities—just in a different way."

Read the entire article at Slate.

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