Slate Goes Feminist?

I’ve been seeing alot of chatter recently about feminism; even a male friend took the “which feminist are you?” quiz on facebook – and it all seems to be driven by the luanch of the new “feminist” blogzine Double X from Slate. The NY Times has an interesting take below.  I’ve spent some time on the site and not sure how I feel about it. As a child of the 70s I often tease my mom about being a part of the “bra burners” and setting the tone for “you can have it all” that has come under some backlash recently. So far while reading Double X there seems to be a decent amount of intelligent thought and discussion; but there is an undertone that i can’t put my finger on – parts of me feels it’s “angry” other parts feel it’s “in your face” too much; trying too hard. There has also been a decent controversy brewing over Double X versus Jezebel and whether either of them do well to portray current “feminist” thought. That Jezebel is taking us backwards in how women are viewed.

I definitely come from the generation that never would have decribed themselves as “feminist”. It was a word that always had the angry female connotation.  And perhaps it was because I was brought up in the land of equal rights. It was a given for me and many of my friends that we would always have the same opportunities as the boys we were around. When “Backlash” was published it definitely spoke to my generation. So now I’m wondering if Double X is supposed to even be for me? Is it for someone younger? It’s unclear.  Also I’m not sure that there needs to be a separation for political news and debate between the boys and girls; didn’t my mom and her generation fight hard to rid us of that?  Why can’t the current women centric sites raise the level of the debate amongst their already existing platforms and be taken seriously?  Does this mean that the original Slate is now a men’s mag? As someone who gets the niche marketing need – I just wonder about oversegmenting based on gender.  Hmmm perhaps I’m wrong – and maybe it’s time to start a Redbook for stay at home dads?

A Blog Geared to Women Yields a New Site for Slate


Article Tools Sponsored By By JENNA WORTHAM Published: May 11, 2009

The editors of a new Web site for women from the people behind Slate have Sarah Palin and Eliot L. Spitzer to thank. Their foibles, in part, supplied the gas to help transform a chatty blog into a full-blown Web magazine.

The new site, Double X, which is set to start publishing Tuesday, grew from a group blog created on Slate in October 2007 called The XX Factor, after the pair of X chromosomes in women. The blog featured commentary on politics, sex and culture from several women who write for Slate, including Meghan O’Rourke, Hanna Rosin and Emily Bazelon.

Driven in part by coverage of the presidential election from a woman-centric perspective, the blog consistently ranked as one of Slate’s top 10 features, leading the three women to propose that Slate turn the site into its own online hub.

“It became immediately obvious that a different kind of discussion happened when women were writing,” Ms. Rosin said.

“Women’s magazines never get it quite right,” Ms. O’Rourke added. “It seemed like an opportune moment to jump in and lead the conversation.”

The blog was performing well enough that the company agreed to the proposal, said Jacob Weisberg, Slate’s editor in chief. The three women are co-editors, and the managing editor is Jessica Grose, formerly an editor of the Gawker Media blog Jezebel.

“The appetite for women’s content has never been stronger,” Mr. Weisberg said of The XX Factor, which Slate says drew a million visitors a month.

To turn the blog into a full-fledged Web magazine, the site will draw from a number of contributors to include commentary and critiques of popular culture, film and television, home design and family life, along with features like personal narratives from women on surviving the recession. Double X has also formed a partnership with Google to offer a news feed focused on women on the site.

Although the editors describe the site as a savvy, intellectual, feminist antidote to glossy, celebrity-obsessed women’s magazines, it will not turn away male readers, which they say have made up 40 percent of the blog’s readership. The site has recruited several men to contribute essays about parenting and fatherhood as well.

Double X is the latest addition to the Slate Group, owned by The Washington Post Company, which has recently expanded its cluster of offerings to include a video site called Slate V, a financial analysis area called The Big Money, and The Root, a news and opinion site for black Americans.

Mr. Weisberg says he hopes that the steadily rising appetite for woman-centric content, which more than half of American Web surfers checked out in December, according tocomScore, will sustain the site despite the economic turmoil facing the media industry.

“It’s a nervous time to start anything new,” Mr. Weisberg acknowledged. But so far, he said, the response from advertisers has been promising. The site has been able to attract ad dollars from major consumer companies, including Sprint-Nextel.


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