I have to admit I was pretty irritated by the cover story of the New York Times Magazine this past week. Not that they featured a young woman blogger, of course, but that the article by former Gawker blogger Emily Gould – which was more of a juicy diary of sex, lies and blogging – that gave a pretty inaccurate portrait of what it means to be a female writer.
And why is that when women writers get attention in the mainstream media, they can only be portrayed in this sexualized and pleasing way in tousled bed sheets? (The NY Time Magazine cover picture to the right is only one of a few.)
Rebecca Traister had a great analysis of the piece yesterday, where she addresses the way that the media – largely controlled by men – not only allows a limited number of women writers to get their 15 minutes of fame, but the only time we’re given it is when we’re willing to expose something:
“When we are fed — and gobble up — stories by or about single urban working women, those exotic and potentially threatening creatures presented to us are often doing things like confessing their self-doubt, discussing their sex lives, lying on rumpled sheets looking pretty.”
But being personal is not what necessarily should be condemned:
We have to remember: There is nothing wrong with women writing about themselves, their youth, their indiscretions, their habits and values and personal development. Men have been writing about this stuff for thousands of years; they call it the canon.
And like their male contemporaries, a lot of this writing disappoints. When it does, there is nothing wrong with criticizing it. The thing that is wrong — really wrong — is when we forget that these kinds of stories are not the only ones that women have to tell. (Emphasis mine.)
The comments section of the article had to be shut down because of the severity of abusive responses towards Gould for writing about her experiences. Would she have received this kind of backlash if she was a man? Likely not.
What do others think?