Slate’s new women’s website disappoints

13 05 2009

Slate just launched a women’s website, Double X, and so far it’s been very disappointing.  There’s been much written about this on the feminist blogosphere, and the sentiments of disappointment and frustration seem to be shared, so instead of regurgitating what’s already been said, I’ll pull out some quotes from others’ thoughts and comments on Double X:

Jessica at Feministing says:

Well, let’s take a look at the headlining pieces that the magazine chose to kick off with:

Whine, Womyn, and Thongs: How feminism has failed.

What’s the Problem Now? Feminism’s Dilemmas

Yes, Virginia, Feminism Really Is Dead.

and the slightly more optimistic…

How I Got Bored With Feminism: And why it still matters.

Oh, and the quote of the day? “‘Feminism’ had come to seem, well…just the teeniest bit tiresome.” – Terry Castle

It seems my excitement was a bit premature! Here I thought that Double X might be a site for forward-thinking conversation about feminism and women’s issues – alas, it’s just a sounding board for warmed-over stereotypes and an oh-so-tired “those darn kids” take on younger women.

…Double X as a whole seems to reflect an increasing trend in online women’s and feminist media – and frankly, it is making me tired. Tired of the manufactured feminist “cat-fighting,” tired of the hating, tired of the notion that the only way to write about feminism is to smugly (and incorrectly) point out where it is failing. I am all for an accountable feminism and constructive criticism; I think it’s necessary in order to make our work as writers and activists better. But the never-ending bullshit masquerading as good faith critique is simply exhausting. And we can do better.

Bashing feminism has always been trendy and fun for our ignorant opponents, but to do so in a “safe” space that is supposed to be feminist or at least feminist friendly?  All the Haterade that’s going around is irritating and juvenile.  It’s not beneficial to feminism or the feminist movement if feminists keep on bashing each other, slut-shaming, or having silly “I’m more feminist than you are” contests.  Is this really the most productive and efficient way to use our energy?

Over at feministe, Jill writes:

I was pretty excited for the launch of Double X, Slate’s online feminist magazine. They have some thoughful writers, a great editorial staff and a big platform, so I was hoping for good things. Unfortunately, the magazine seems to have kicked off by hosting a feminist pissing contest — because what’s more fun than telling other feminists that they aren’t quite feminist enough?

…I’m not arguing that feminism should be a movement of No Judging, or that we can’t criticize anything women say or do. I’m not arguing that because Jezebel is a feminist site, hands off. But I will argue that how women deal with surviving sexual assault should not be a deciding factor in evaluating whether or not they qualify as feminist. I will argue that a feminism which requires perfection from all women is not something I can be a part of. And I’ll also just throw it out there that one probably should not pull the “You’re a bad feminist” card when one writes for a feminist website that launches with front-page articles like “Whine, Womyn and Thongs: How feminism has failed” and “How I Got Bored With Feminism.”

Echoing what Jessica said, Double X’s front page articles “Whine, Womyn and Thongs: How feminism has failed” and “How I Got Bored With Feminism” were very offensive and infuriating.  There are enough anti-feminists out there arguing that feminism is over, or that we live in a “post-feminist” world, so it’s unacceptable and unnecessary for feminists to run around validating their points.

I’ll close with a quote I saw on a bumper sticker once: “Feminism has done much for you.  What have you done for feminism?”



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