July 28, 2008

NYT: women bloggers are sooo fashionable!

Posted in activism, double standards, gender, New York Times, news at 2:00 pm by LB

Yea for The New York Times reporting on BlogHer’s annual conference.

Boo for printing it in the Fashion and Style section, as woman-related stories routinely are.

It’s pretty pathetic that I should be so thrilled that the recent news about gender-parity in math scores was actually reported by the Times in the U.S./Education section. Yes, it’s awfully nice that the Times was actually able to put a story about females in its proper place in their paper. But actually doing their job doesn’t get them any cookies.

So, dear readers, I write letters:

Dear New York Times Editors:

Overall, I appreciate the quality of your paper and it is one of my primary sources for obtaining news. However, your history of inappropriately filing news items that involve women is obscene and, quite frankly, is unacceptable, especially for a new source of your report.

The most recent example is the coverage of the 2008 BlogHer conference, printed July 27, 2008 in the Fashion and Style section. Other articles about bloggers and blogging are printed in more substantial sections like the Technology or U.S. Politics sections. I understand that your placement often relates blogging to another topic (i.e. business, the election) but the “default” category for blogging (or any topic) women is not Fashion and Style. And since the article specifically addressed women blogging as a political act, it does not belong in the Fashion and Style section.

On July 13, 2008, you also ran the joint review of books by feminist author and blogger Jessia Valenti and journalist Kathleen Parker, which adressed contemporary gender-based political issues. It belongs in the Books section, not the Fashion and Style section.

Other female bloggers have written about your story misplacement when it comes to stories about women. May 13, 2008’s story about the lack of gender diversity in the sciences (obviously) belongs in the Science section, not the Fashion and Style section. And the list goes on.

It’s great that you’re writing about gender issues, exciting studies debunking harmful gender myths, feminist writers, and women’s activism. But putting these stories in Fashion and Style, rather than where they’d be put if they were about men, is nothing short of insulting and condescending, as if issues facing and addressed by women are somehow frivolous and irrelevent to society as a whole.

Issues and news related to women do not by default belong in the Fashion and Style section of your paper. Fashion and Style is not inherently a “female” topic and gender analyses are not periperal, light, fluffy, innocent, and inconsequential. Do not insult us and degrade us by treating women who are active in politics, do science, are participating in technology, and the like, as mere “style.”

Sincerely,

LindaBeth

author, don’t ya wish your girlfriend was smart like me?

And I encourage you all to do the same. No copyrights on my letter, either: steal away!

executive-editor@nytimes.com

managing-editor@nytimes.com

3 Comments »

  1. beth said,

    Ooh, snap! Very nice. I hadn’t seen that article on women in the tech fields in the style section, but honestly! PhysioProf has a similar post on Feministe last night, but your linkage does the pointer-finger very, very good. The coverage is great. And, fuck it, I really like the Style Section. And, sure, more women probably read that section than men. But that doesn’t mean every article about the female sex goes there! Come on now, people. Perhaps you’ve whipped me into enough frenzy to do some letter-writing of my own.

  2. […] Ha! Today the New York Times has an article about women in the section that is actually belongs (unlike their history). […]

  3. […] a first!  I think I have some sort of “special powers” regarding the NYT, because I also recently wrote about how they consistently place stories about women in Fashion and Style (I also sent the editor […]


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