Cultural biases run deep.
Look for the Netroots conference and you’ll find coverage in the New York times Politics section. Look for BlogHer and you’ll find it in the women’s pages, the New York times Fashion and Style section.
Erin Kotecki Vest has already commented on this in her own space, Queen of Spain, and via the Huffington Post, but I thought I’d try to amplify her observation. Erin is, after all, a woman and so she is likely to be a bit shrill about these matters. (The humor impaired are invited to leave now.)
Kara Jesella, author of the New York Times piece on the 2008 BlogHer conference writes for Fashion & Style. Her March 27, 2008 article centering on a vegan strip club in Portland and addressing larger issues of sexism in the vegan/vegetarian community was in Fashion & Style, not Entertainment, Politics, or Health. Her article about MomsRising, Mom’s Mad. and She’s Organized (2/22/2007) did NOT appear in the Politics section.
Her article about librarianship (that linked to Jessamyn West’s librarian.net) did not appear in the Arts section, the Technology section, nor the Science section. It appeared in Fashion & Style. And her article about women’s clavicles did not appear in Health. Ms. Jesella’s work is bound for the Women’s Section at the New York Times, a section that they have renamed “Style” in a bow to political correctness without a gesture of respect for the cultural shift that mandated the name change.
Eventually, of course, the women’s movement dribbled off the back pages and into the news. Women at major papers and magazines filed class-action sex-discrimination suits. The ever-dependable housewife market collapsed. And so, in 1969, The Washington Post transformed For and About Women into the much-copied Style section. The Los Angeles Times introduced View in 1970, The Chicago Tribune started Tempo in 1971, and The New York Times made the transition with its Style pages several years after that. [emphasis added]
I’ve written about this subject here recently… “The New York Times on Web Girls.” Not much has changed since then. Writers on “the women’s beat” (usually women themselves) place their work in the Style section of the New York Times. BlogHer attracts writers on “the women’s beat.” A good NYT Politics story could have come out of BlogHer. A good NYT Technology story could have come out of BlogHer. A good NYT Business story could have come out of BlogHer.
Of course a NYT Business story did come out about BlogHer on July 17th. Headline: NBC Universal Posts $5 Million on BlogHer.… And another NYT Business story contained references to BlogHer: Slumber Parties Go Digital. In fact BlogHer public relations has managed to position their press release material in a lot of publications, but there remains the nagging question of why the serious business and technology writers aren’t in the room covering the BlogHer story as it unfolds. Could it be because the women tech writers don’t want to cover women per se, and the men tech writers might feel less than comfortable in the room? Perhaps, but if that’s the case then there are a lot of writers missing some dynamite feature stories.
[tags]blogher, jory des jardins, lisa stone, elisa camahort, gabrielle anwar, kara jesella, erin kotecki vest, healthy clavicles[/tags]