The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Who Killed All the Feminist Blogs?

Posted on | December 10, 2019 | 3 Comments


Let’s throw a victory party to celebrate this good news:

Soon after Anna Holmes took on the job of building the website Jezebel, in 2007, she set it apart from established publications like Vogue and Elle with a post offering $10,000 to anyone who would send in the best unretouched version of a women’s magazine cover photo. And with that, Jezebel had marked its territory: feminist cultural criticism, with an edge. . . .
Within three years, Jezebel had surpassed its sibling publication,, the flagship site of Gawker Media, in monthly page views. . . .
In the aughts and the earlier part of this decade, other online feminist publications sprang to life — Feministing, The Hairpin, The Toast and many others — covering everything from paid leave to the Kardashians in a conversational voice that was sometimes rude, sometimes funny and never didactic.
Now many of those sites are dead or dying, and Jezebel is under new management, part of a stable of publications run by the hedge fund-controlled ownership group, G/O Media, that recently set off a staff exodus at the sports site Deadspin. Feminist media has been especially hard hit by the financial turbulence in the news industry.
Samhita Mukhopadhyay, a former executive editor of Feministing and now the executive editor of Teen Vogue, said she missed the years when those publications were connecting with readers, calling it “the heyday” of independent feminist media. . . .
The gradual collapse has continued into this year. Feministing, an independent blog founded in 2004, plans to shut down in the weeks to come. At its peak, the site had 1.2 million unique monthly visitors, with most revenue coming from ads and reader donations. The co-executive editors, Lori Adelman and Maya Dusenbery, said Feministing helped popularize the term “slut shaming,” ran early interviews with chart-toppers like Lizzo and pushed for coverage of Gamergate, a cybermob that targeted women.
“It was unclear how we could have such a ferocious audience and not be onto something,” Ms. Mukhopadhyay said. “Many of us involved in the feminist blogosphere are now in mainstream media, and that’s exciting. That said, we need independent media because they’re an important check.”
The Establishment, an independent blog focused on gender and race, stopped publishing in April with a farewell post bemoaning the “Sisyphean” difficulty of making money with a site focused on “intersectional feminist media.” In May, Vice Media’s women’s site, Broadly, was folded into the larger Vice brand.
The Hairpin, with recurring features like “Ask a Queer Chick” and “Interview With a Virgin,” shut down last year, as did Lenny Letter, the newsletter and website started by Lena Dunham and her producing partner, Jenni Konner. Rookie Magazine, the diarylike site started by the fashion-blogger-turned-actress Tavi Gevinson when she was 15, also ended its run. XoJane, known for first-person essays like “My Rapist Friended Me On Facebook (And All I Got Was This Lousy Article),” signed off in 2016.

Now, as much as I’d like to claim credit for destroying all these feminist blogs, the truth is that none of them were ever really successful enough to be self-sustaining. I mean, Feministing’s editors want to brag about 1.2 million uniques a month? That number sounds more impressive than it actually is, and it certainly could not have justified a full-time staff based on potential advertising revenue. No, those blogs were always a money-draining vortex, which chiefly owed their existence to (a) contributions from tax-exempt liberal non-profits like Planned Parenthood, and (b) the willingness of Gender Studies majors to write for free (or for minimal fees). And, it must be said, after Hillary lost the 2016 election, several of the Left’s moneybags evidently re-thought the wisdom of their investment in feminist Internet propaganda mills. For some reason, this New York Times feature ignores the demise of the very worst of the lot, Everyday Feminism, which now exists in zombie form — they don’t seem to have posted any new articles since 2016, although the site is still online. I never could figure out who was paying the bills at Everyday Feminism, but was under the impression that they must have some kind of deep-pockets sugar daddy willing to shell out a six-figure annual subsidy for all that “queer” intersectional insanity they published.

Whatever the case, the decline and fall of the feminist empire is good news — glad tidings! joy to the world! hosanna in the highest!

You don’t have to give me credit. All I ask is that you remember that the Five Most Important Worlds in the English Language are:




3 Responses to “Who Killed All the Feminist Blogs?”

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