Unstyle Me

Dear Media:

Please take your coverage of women’s issues and feminist out of the “fashion and styles” section. It’s a pretty simple request, and I’m fairly sure it shouldn’t be that hard for you to honor. It would also make a huge difference, and if you happened to be the first to do it, you might get extra style points. So, you know, please consider it. Better yet, actually do it. And if you think I’m kidding about how widespread this problem is, go check out some of your competitors, and you’ll see what I mean.

Women’s issues should not be relegated to the same section of the paper which handles things like the latest in nail polish, or the scene on the runway in Milan. Coverage of feminist topics should not be sandwiched between articles about luxury homes and flatware. It belongs in news, or politics, or maybe the section of the paper most relevant to the topic under discussion, such as technology for articles about women and technology.

Your coverage of feminist issues is already pretty poor, and maybe that’s why your bury it in the most demeaning section you can possibly think of. But can you see how women might find it irritating and patronizing to be forced to turn to the style pages for coverage about issues which matter to them? It suggests that you find the feminist movement unworthy of serious attention, and indicates that you just like to write about “the wimmins” when you find them amusing.

Women, biological and otherwise, make up around half the population. It is not appropriate to shove news articles about women’s issues into the back alleys of the paper. Similar articles on men’s issues are never in the style section, which illustrates the gender disparity pretty clearly, in my opinion. Even when you do occasionally muster up the ability to write something insightful, meaningful, and interesting, you ruin it by relegating it to the style section.

Take a radical leap, and recognize that women are people, and we like to read about news of interest where it belongs, which means that when you write an article about women in politics, it should go in the politics section. If you do serious investigative journalism on the exploitation of women, it should go in the news section. If you write about radical women artists, it should go in the arts section. If an article discusses a topic in women’s health, it should go in health. When you publish the results of a survey which shows that girls are every bit as talented at math as boys, it should go in the sciences, or perhaps the news section, depending on whether or not you think that the fact that girls and boys are equally good at math is “news.”

I realize that this is a sexist world we live in, but could you please at least try to do your part to make it a little better? All that I ask is a little respect. Take us out of the damn style section so that I don’t have to gag through articles on topics which I am not interested in to find actual journalism. Tell me, please, that you value my patronage every bit as much as a man’s. For the love of Pete, stop publishing women’s news in the style section, so that when I buy your print version (which is rare), I can toss the style section right in the trash where it belongs, along with the sports section and the classifieds.


s.e. smith