Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Would you like a side of guilt with that? (Or, women, the internet, and the modern publishing industry)

In the past few years, the Atlantic has published several provocative articles about women, singleness, and professionalism.  This review brilliantly captured what I oft have thought, but ne'er so well expressed, i.e., "Wow, these articles are really manipulative."  And so, argue the editors of n+1, they are.  Many thanks to John, Friend Of This Blog, for passing the story along.

"Every time a plane flies over New York, we think, 'Oh my God — is it another Atlantic think piece?' We mean, 'an Atlantic think piece about women.' The two have become synonymous, and they descend upon their target audience with the regularity and severe abdominal cramping of Seasonale. 'Why Women Still Can’t Have It All,' 'The End of Men,' 'Marry Him!' These are articles intended to terrorize unmarried women, otherwise known as educated straight women in their twenties and thirties, otherwise known as a valuable market, if not for reliable lovers then at least for advertisers....

What do women have to do with the internet? We submit that, at least in the eyes of media executives, women are the internet. Women, we mean the internet, are commanding a larger share of the traditional print market. The internet, we mean women, is less responsive to conventional advertising than to commenting, sharing, and other forms of social interaction. Women, we mean the internet, are putting men, we mean magazine editors, out of work. The internet, we mean women, never pays for its content — or for their drinks! The only dignified solution for publications like the Atlantic is to die, alone and unread, in the ghost town of the printed word. But the Atlantic has chosen the survivalist alternative: abandoning the old settlement for the domestic, we mean digital, realm, where it gives women what they want and, even more than what they want, what they fear."

Go on, read some more. You know you want to.

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