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#52828 - 06/01/00 11:15 AM Women's publishing on the Internet
deborah Administrator
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Ching Shih


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Okay, I was just rearranging some of my bookmarks and I stumbled across a site, Herspace, that I don't even remember marking, and clearly haven't visited in a dog's age. I read this jeremiad by the founder of the site as well as the one prior to it, referenced within the article.
http://www.herspace.com/scoop/

She bemoans the effects of greed, venture capital, and the who-wants-to-be-a-cyberbillionaire mentality on the women's sites that offer content and community instead of a place to buy cute T-shirts and cosmetics.

Was she naďve? Is she misguided? I think she makes a number of good points, and yet a lot of the complaints are familiar to me from infighting I've witnessed in feminist and activist groups for many years. A lot of division comes from different ideas people have about what constitutes success, about the acceptability of a profit motive, and about the "purity" of the "vision" (also known as rigidity of adherence to ideology). Because I have heard these types of complaints and problems in another context so frequently, I am not inclined to believe it's something inherent to Web publishing. The Internet is just another backdrop for this type of conflict to play itself out...right?

Or maybe I'm naďve. I will admit, as the owner of a site that's barely a day old, her rants make me a little nervous.

Comments? Voices of Experience? Voices of Doom?

[This message has been edited by deborah (edited June 01, 2000).]

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#52829 - 06/02/00 12:07 PM Re: Women's publishing on the Internet
JetGirl
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To be honest (really, really honest) I thought it was defensive, self-pitying crap.

I don't know why, but I knew I would hate her when I saw her picture next to the article. She just looks like someone I'd despise.

Edited to say, I guess part of it is that I don't think a photo is totally appropriate there. I don't mind pictures being included in a site, but I don't like to see the author's mug on every page. So, uh, that's part of it. That probably doesn't make much more sense.

[This message has been edited by JetGirl (edited June 02, 2000).]

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#52830 - 06/02/00 03:23 PM Re: Women's publishing on the Internet
Kivrin
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Registered: 06/01/00
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Her site motto is "Fun for fearless females." It doesn't seem like she is having any fun at all. That poor girl's got a big ol' chip on her shoulder it seems to me.
I'm in agreement with JetGirl. It is rather self-pitying.

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#52831 - 06/02/00 09:23 PM Re: Women's publishing on the Internet
Wing Chun
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Speaking as someone who's seen the "women's network" to which her sites belong evolve into a very different entity than it was when her sites joined...I can kind of see where this woman is coming from. There are tons of sites online that somehow manage to get gobs of start-up money that I think are crap ideas ( Inside.com , are your ears burning?), and very often the people behind them are crooked.

Chick Click is evolving into a "place to buy cute t-shirts and cosmetics." Or, it's trying to. I think it did a lot better when it was just a clearinghouse of links to cool sites, and my hope is that its owners will figure that out, soon, too.

To me, it's not a question of women vs. women; it's corporations vs. imagination, and in that sense, what deborah says is true -- that conflict does play out in every arena in which money is involved (Sassy magazine, much?).

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#52832 - 06/03/00 10:37 AM Re: Women's publishing on the Internet
Kivrin
Ching Shih


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Oh, I agree. I re-read Stephanie's "Scoop" and I'm not discounting what she says. I remember Amazon City and Herspace in their previous incarnations. I guess what bothers me is the tone of her writing. She sounds so bitter and whiny, but at the same time, I admire her tenacity.
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#52833 - 08/05/00 01:57 AM Re: Women's publishing on the Internet
Christine
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I used to love Chick Click, back when it was Estronet, but it's been taken over by commercialism. Part of the trouble is that it started to market itself more and more towards young teens, when previously it had been full of intelligent, opinionated women.

Quite a few people left for Hissyfit; another splinter group formed She-Net, at http://www.she-net.com

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#52834 - 09/21/00 08:13 PM Re: Women's publishing on the Internet
deborah Administrator
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Ching Shih


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Here's a long and somewhat annoying article from Salon (where else?) on the subject:

http://www.salon.com/tech/feature/2000/08/25/womens_web/index.html

I'm not sure I like the dichotomy she tries to set up between "women's" sites and "feminist" sites, if for no other reason than I don't think it's smart to trivialize or compartmentalize things this way, nor do I normally conceive of "women's" spaces as being inherently separate from, different from, or opposed to, "feminist" spaces. The less of that sort of divisiveness that is promoted, the better.

I also dislike it when she throws out generalizations such as "It's no wonder that every women's site offers horoscopes..." Not every women's site. This one doesn't and never will. I can name many others that don't, either.

Finally, I don't know why women come in for special criticism for being even slightly interested in fluff. It certainly seems like plenty of men* are online doing little else besides downloading porn and playing computer games, but no one craps on them for being insufficiently revolutionary.

Okay, I'm starting to go off on a bit of a tangent so I should probably shut it...any comments?

*Edited this word. Previously it said "them," which made no sense.


[This message has been edited by deborah (edited September 22, 2000).]

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#52835 - 09/22/00 03:32 PM Re: Women's publishing on the Internet
Reine
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Ok, so I only skimmed the article because it was making me mad. I really don't think they dug deep enough. For the record none of the sites I frequent daily offer horoscopes or dating tips and all of them would be considered women's sites.
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#52836 - 09/24/00 11:02 AM Re: Women's publishing on the Internet
Julen
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The fundemental problem is the perception that men are the default and women are the special other group. Many people take this to mean that they're a group that has to be pandered to. Most of the panderers are US TV networks, advertisers, politicians, and dumb-ass publishers, who specialize in uninformed pandering.

Feminists had to separate and focus on women in order to get fundemental changes made. The problem is that women do not exist in a vacuum, disconnected from the world, and that each woman is also a human being and an individual and have layers independent of their gender.

The construct "People like this" and "women like this" is therefore flawed at a very basic level.

These expectations of what women should do today are as damaging as the expectations of what women should do were 50, 70, 100 years ago. The expectations have changed, but the pressure hasn't. Part of benefit to humanity from the various rights movements should be the empowering of and the acceptance of the individual, regardless of gender, color, belief, orientation, and freedom from the little boxes of expectation we all are put into.

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#52837 - 12/02/00 08:57 PM Re: Women's publishing on the Internet
deborah Administrator
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Ching Shih


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Well, here am I having to partially eat my words...while Chicklit itself is not offering horoscopes, they are now part of the masthead for the ad network I've joined.

I'm not very happy about it, but I don't think there's much I can do about it, either.


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#52838 - 12/07/00 10:08 AM Re: Women's publishing on the Internet
Audra Estrones
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 Quote:
The fundemental problem is the perception that men are the default and women are the special other group.


Yes yes a thousand times yes.

And I'm in the same boat as Wing, re: Chickclick. Seeing links to month old "Are You A Good Flirt?" articles on their main page, when I've submitted blurbs for two pieces on Marigold about the Montreal Massacre is more than a tad frustrating.

[This message has been edited by Audra Estrones (edited December 07, 2000).]

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#52839 - 12/07/00 10:30 AM Re: Women's publishing on the Internet
deborah Administrator
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Ching Shih


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How frustrating, Audra. And insulting. Can't there be substantial content offered along with the fluff? Does an interest in mascara automatically mean you don't give a damn about massacres?

I hate the assumption that women and girls are all so one-dimensional. I mean, if I had to choose, I'd pick books over fashion as an interest, and there's no contest; I'd have not a second's hesitation. I just don't see why I have to choose. I don't see why networks trying to appeal to girls and women unnecessarily narrow the field. I don't see why things have to be more or less divided into camps of "fatuous appearance-obsessed ninny" and "dull frumpy geek" (or whatever the exact categories are). Are all these companies staffed by the former type? I doubt it. If it's about the advertising, shouldn't it come down to the disposable income factor? It's never seemed to me that women who don't spend money on makeup necesarily have less money to spend; they just spend it differently.

Well, I'm just ranting here.

I like this quote from Elizabeth Bibesco (1897-1945):

"You don't have to signal a social conscience by looking like a frump. Lace knickers won't hasten the holocaust, you can ban the bomb in feather boa just as well as without, and a mild interest in the length of hemlines doesn't necessarily disqualify you from reading Das Kapital and agreeing with every word."

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#52840 - 12/20/00 10:29 PM Re: Women's publishing on the Internet
Audra Estrones
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That's a GREAT quote! Thanks, deborah.
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#52841 - 02/13/01 07:49 AM Re: Women's publishing on the Internet
Bear
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Registered: 08/28/00
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Loc: Dublin, Ireland

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Jeus, iVillage and Oxygen are just so increadibly patronising. I recently registered with ivillage to use their recipe finder, and I was pretty appalled at the limited range of the questions they asked to find out your interests. Am I planning a wedding? Buying a car? Having kids? Into shopping non stop? Um, no. Obviously, there's nothing wrong with those questions per se, but it's the ones they didn't ask - are you into music? Or art? Or politics? Or pop culture? - that bothered me.

I mean, it's not like I don't buy make up or pointless girlie products - my mother just came home for a visit from the U.S. (my parents live in D.C.) bearing 70 quid's worth of Origins stuff for me because you can't get it here and I love their shampoo. But I don't want to read about it. I want to buy it, wash my hair with it, and that's it. I want to read about interesting, challenging things, and these major sites don't offer anything like that.

That Salon article is very annoying in its differentiation between 'women' and feminist' sites. And this
 Quote:
the two most popular sites on the network are, unsurprisingly, its most mainstream. There's eCrush, which lets girls send anonymous notes to their dream boys, and Mighty Big TV, an unapologetic daily synopsis of the trashiest TV on the planet.
shows that the article's author just doesn't get it. I mean, come on, there's a huge, huge gulf between crap like eCrush and something as smart and downright hilarious (did that writer actually look at the recaps?) as MBTV.

But I was interested to see that its original founders of supposedly progressive sites have left. I used to really like Chickclick when it began a few years ago - it's how I discovered plenty of my now favourite sites. And now, you're all right- it does focus more on 'relationship' articles, which are downright boring. The odd time there'll be something interesting in the society and politics section, or the 'home and craft' area, but the rest isn't worth reading. And I'm very sorry that the powers that be are ignoring things like Audra's piece on the Montreal killings in favour of more Ask fuckingSabrina. Is the Salon writer right? Is that what women want? Because it's not what I or my friends want, I know that much.

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#52842 - 06/06/01 05:28 PM Re: Women's publishing on the Internet
WriterGirl
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/06/00
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Maybe this is the place to ask: does anyone know what's up with The 11th Hour ? It is (was?) a fantastic site devoted to looking at sci-fi/fantasy/horror books/TV/movies/comics from a female perspective. (Giving ratings for "Strong Chick Factor," etc.) I loved it, but they don't seem to have updated in going on four months now.
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