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Feminist Consciousness and the Production of a Contemporary Women's Section
Unformatted Document Text:  Tracking number: ICA-12-11416 15 cartoon called “Cathy” ran on the cover. She described the cartoon this way: “That was a constant stereotype. Every cartoon was aren’t you fat, the mother was always saying ‘When are you going to get married?’ It was always about shopping, too much chocolate.” Mertz went to her editor-in-chief requesting to pull it but it was not until after he asked some of his women friends that he gave her permission. She explained, “He said, ‘I just want to see what the general consensus is.’ He came back and said, ‘Nobody likes Cathy’.” While Mertz certainly showed a concern about stereotypes – even if one complicated with contradictions – lead Savvy writer Carr-Elsing said she does not worry about promoting stereotypes. When asked, she simply said, “No, because I think we’re so diverse.” The publisher, Frink, explaining that Savvy has certainly expanded its content beyond the traditional “society” sections, makes no apology for the stereotypical “fluff” found within its pages. He said it is not “quite as fluffy [as traditional women’s pages], although there’s obviously still room for fluff. Martha Stewart wouldn’t be rich beyond all our wildest dreams if there wasn’t a market for this kind of stuff, right?” Frink points to a valid argument. Readership studies show that many women value lighter topics in their newspapers and Frink’s acknowledgement of this lends validity to women’s desires. In other words, he acknowledges the importance of these topics. As Savvy’s editor Mertz is given full credit for how this “contemporary” focus materializes on the pages of Savvy. All of her senior editors agreed that Mertz shapes Savvy. Mertz, however, gives credit to her reporters too. Unlike a news department, the features department in a newsroom has the luxury of time and is able to plan ahead. This difference in pace, along with the relatively small size of The Capital Times and the

Authors: Harp, Dustin.
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Tracking number: ICA-12-11416
15
cartoon called “Cathy” ran on the cover. She described the cartoon this way: “That was a
constant stereotype. Every cartoon was aren’t you fat, the mother was always saying
‘When are you going to get married?’ It was always about shopping, too much
chocolate.” Mertz went to her editor-in-chief requesting to pull it but it was not until after
he asked some of his women friends that he gave her permission. She explained, “He
said, ‘I just want to see what the general consensus is.’ He came back and said, ‘Nobody
likes Cathy’.”
While Mertz certainly showed a concern about stereotypes – even if one
complicated with contradictions – lead Savvy writer Carr-Elsing said she does not worry
about promoting stereotypes. When asked, she simply said, “No, because I think we’re so
diverse.” The publisher, Frink, explaining that Savvy has certainly expanded its content
beyond the traditional “society” sections, makes no apology for the stereotypical “fluff”
found within its pages. He said it is not “quite as fluffy [as traditional women’s pages],
although there’s obviously still room for fluff. Martha Stewart wouldn’t be rich beyond
all our wildest dreams if there wasn’t a market for this kind of stuff, right?” Frink points
to a valid argument. Readership studies show that many women value lighter topics in
their newspapers and Frink’s acknowledgement of this lends validity to women’s desires.
In other words, he acknowledges the importance of these topics.
As Savvy’s editor Mertz is given full credit for how this “contemporary” focus
materializes on the pages of Savvy. All of her senior editors agreed that Mertz shapes
Savvy. Mertz, however, gives credit to her reporters too. Unlike a news department, the
features department in a newsroom has the luxury of time and is able to plan ahead. This
difference in pace, along with the relatively small size of The Capital Times and the


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