theogeo critiques a new magazine called Skirt! (yes, the banger is part of the title) with which she is obliquely associated:

Tell me you’ve got a publication for strong, successful women and I’ll usually be all, “Okay, right on,” thinking we’ve got a political-minded, informative, thoughtful outlet on our hands. Tell me it’s called “Skirt!” and my brain will start shutting down. Suddenly you’ve introduced fashion and feminine markers into the premise. Not to mention the secondary verbal definition of “skirt,” which means to avoid or work around. It’s indirect; it’s passive.

The whole premise is bewilderingly patronizing. And it’s not like I don’t subscribe to fashion magazines — I do! several! — but I subscribe to them to follow fashion and admire clothing design. I know what I’m getting into when I open a copy of InStyle, and believe me, I don’t read it expecting to encounter thoughtful essays written from a feminist perspective. Those types of publications simply have no credibility with me for that sort of content. But when I want those feminist essays (Bust, perhaps, or Off Our Backs? I admit I don’t subscribe to either — blogs provide me with ample content), I don’t expect to be condescended to with fashion and beauty advice. And here the credibility issue works basically in reverse: include fashion and beauty advice in your progressive women’s publication, and, for me, you cease to be a progressive women’s publication.

This sort of mental partitioning may be uncommon, but I sort of doubt it. That’s not to say that a cross-market magazine (or even cross-cross-market, if you think fashion-feminist-local) can’t work, but this appears to be the reason to undertake such a venture with extreme caution.

Femininity and feminism, and a magazine called Skirt!

One thought on “Femininity and feminism, and a magazine called Skirt!

  • March 30, 2007 at 5:21 am
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    I’ve never worked in magazine publishing, but I have worked in book publishing.

    And I’ve gotten the SERIOUS impression that the general clique of magazine publishing is highly geared toward the fashion/beauty realm. Any progressive articles are the granola in the yogurt.

    Myrna Blythe’s Spin Sisters is a valuable book about the topic, if you can leave aside the political agenda. (It purports to be an expose of ‘liberal media bias’ in women’s magazines. I got more that women’s magazine publishing is a sort of groupthink that exists well beyond the realm of the political.)

    Reply

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