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Feminist Consciousness and the Production of a Contemporary Women's Section
Unformatted Document Text:  Tracking number: ICA-12-11416 23 for women. But because it is her job to produce this section, she stops short of disagreeing with its premise. My analysis illustrates how Mertz’s individual perspective about Savvy – not the least of which is based on a background in women’s studies – becomes less important at an organizational level. She simply does what she can within the constraints of an organization that has decided for marketing purposes to implement this gendered section. Yang’s (1996) study points to a similarity between the Washington Post’s women’s pages editor in the 1950s and Mertz – both with aspirations to make their section more serious but working within the confines of a news organization that presents certain constraints. Even the newspaper’s publisher, who at an individual level questions whether producing Savvy is correct, moves forward with the section because his job is to consider the financial well-being of the newspaper. Essentially extra-media influences – revenue sources – play a larger part in his decision making than his personal background and experiences, which tell him that making women special again is not necessarily the best solution to newspapers’ problem of primarily editing for a white, male audience. Ultimately, this choice to create women’s pages was influenced by a dominant capitalist and not feminist ideology. Is Savvy a backlash; a reminder to keep women in their traditional places? There is little debate that feminism and the women's movement influenced newspapers to stop publishing gendered sections during the late 1960s and early 1970s. But what is the relationship of feminism to the re-emergence of women's sections? It is not a coincidence that women’s sections began to reappear at the same time that Faludi identifies a backlash in U.S. society. A cultural and ideological climate allowed newspapers to reintroduce women’s sections while a different ideological climate only decades earlier had forced

Authors: Harp, Dustin.
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Tracking number: ICA-12-11416
23
for women. But because it is her job to produce this section, she stops short of
disagreeing with its premise. My analysis illustrates how Mertz’s individual perspective
about Savvy – not the least of which is based on a background in women’s studies –
becomes less important at an organizational level. She simply does what she can within
the constraints of an organization that has decided for marketing purposes to implement
this gendered section. Yang’s (1996) study points to a similarity between the Washington
Post’s women’s pages editor in the 1950s and Mertz – both with aspirations to make their
section more serious but working within the confines of a news organization that presents
certain constraints. Even the newspaper’s publisher, who at an individual level questions
whether producing Savvy is correct, moves forward with the section because his job is to
consider the financial well-being of the newspaper. Essentially extra-media influences –
revenue sources – play a larger part in his decision making than his personal background
and experiences, which tell him that making women special again is not necessarily the
best solution to newspapers’ problem of primarily editing for a white, male audience.
Ultimately, this choice to create women’s pages was influenced by a dominant capitalist
and not feminist ideology.
Is Savvy a backlash; a reminder to keep women in their traditional places? There
is little debate that feminism and the women's movement influenced newspapers to stop
publishing gendered sections during the late 1960s and early 1970s. But what is the
relationship of feminism to the re-emergence of women's sections? It is not a coincidence
that women’s sections began to reappear at the same time that Faludi identifies a backlash
in U.S. society. A cultural and ideological climate allowed newspapers to reintroduce
women’s sections while a different ideological climate only decades earlier had forced


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