How to write a “young women don’t care about feminism” article

Mommy, when I grow up I want to help smash the white racist, homophobic, patriarchal, bullshit paradigm too!Need some easy content for the Lifestyle section of your publication? Why not write about how young women don’t care about feminism! It’s quick and easy – people have been writing basically the same article for years now. Here, I’ll walk you through the steps, using this recent USA Today piece as an example.

Start out with the obvious – feminism used to be a big deal, but now young women don’t know about it. Make sure to follow this up with a mention of bra burning (USA Today did say this is a myth, which is really more nuance than is needed here). Quote an older feminist, in this case NOW president Terry O’Neill, talking about how young women have been scared off by the backlash. This article has a double whammy – there’s a dissapointing Michael Kimmel quote about young women thinking feminism is over, too. From here we move into an anecdote from a young woman about how she or her friends aren’t feminists. You just don’t see feminist activism today – avoid any mentions of the rallies to save Planned Parenthood, and only bring up SlutWalk if you follow that up with some quality slut-shaming.

The USA Today article ends with a discussion about how the problem is the word “feminism,” which is fine or whatever. But that space could be better used by arguing that young women today are just interested in being slutty sluts who slut. The accompanying photo is a missed opportunity, as well: it depicts a group of young women sitting around a table, eating and talking. They appear to all be white, so at least something’s right. But the appropriate illustration here is floozies and harlots out on the town in mini skirts and high heels, or a picture of boobs from SlutWalk.

Boston, MA

Jos Truitt is Executive Director of Development at Feministing. She joined the team in July 2009, became an Editor in August 2011, and Executive Director in September 2013. She writes about a range of topics including transgender issues, abortion access, and media representation. Jos first got involved with organizing when she led a walk out against the Iraq war at her high school, the Boston Arts Academy. She was introduced to the reproductive justice movement while at Hampshire College, where she organized the Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program’s annual reproductive justice conference. She has worked on the National Abortion Federation’s hotline, was a Field Organizer at Choice USA, and has volunteered as a Pro-Choice Clinic Escort. Jos has written for publications including The Guardian, Bilerico, RH Reality Check, Metro Weekly, and the Columbia Journalism Review. She has spoken and trained at numerous national conferences and college campuses about trans issues, reproductive justice, blogging, feminism, and grassroots organizing. Jos completed her MFA in Printmaking at the San Francisco Art Institute in Spring 2013. In her "spare time" she likes to bake and work on projects about mermaids.

Jos Truitt is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Development.

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  • http://cabaretic.blogspot.com nazza

    Jos, my friend, it’s USA Today. :-) I’m surprised they didn’t have a pie chart (in color, no less) to illustrate the point.

  • http://feministing.com/members/alp227/ Andrew

    This only furthers my belief that USA Today is worthless garbage with a readership of mostly travelers getting free complimentary copies at hotels.

  • http://feministing.com/members/gomordecai/ Lia

    I’m very confused about the issue here. The USA Today article isn’t very well written–it’s shallow– but it isn’t an unworthy discussion. I should say it is a worthy one! Feminism has been pushed to the sidelines (actually, it’s always been on the sidelines) and it would do well to de-stigmatize the whole concept.