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Feminist Consciousness and the Production of a Contemporary Women's Section
Unformatted Document Text:  Tracking number: ICA-12-11416 24 newspapers to dissolve these gendered sections. But to call these pages a backlash is to be overly simplistic. Savvy, and the re-emergence of women’s sections, is much more complex. There is certainly evidence of ways in which Mertz has promoted feminist ideologies within Savvy’s pages, and it is unclear whether these stories would have been published elsewhere in the paper. But, of course, they were situated in a section designated for women and this alone may be enough to keep a male audience from reading them. This not only segregates women, it isolates issues associated with women. The boundary drawn promotes an idea that men need not be concerned with these issues and this, in turn, often means that women are alone responsible for dealing with them. Rather than segregate women’s news and risk this outcome, newspaper editors should integrate issues of importance to women into all sections of the newspaper. And hiring more women in decision-making positions could only help. 1 Some feminist and media critiques argue newspaper editors continued to construct pages for women but that they just quit naming them as such. 2 A handful of books offer greater depth into the history of women’s pages, as well as women, in U.S. newspapers. For a more extensive account of the initial introduction of women’s sections, see Lont (1995); Marzolf (1977), pp. 205-207; and Schudson (1978). For detailed accounts of the history of women’s work in newspapers, see Belford (1986); Marzolf (1977); Mills (1988); Ross (1936); and Schlipp & Murphy (1983). 3 For a more comprehensive discussion of content in traditional women’s pages, see Mills (1988). 4 Miller categorizes the content into eight areas: lifestyle, consumer, food, fashion, social, entertainment/arts, syndicated features and politics. 5 The debate extends beyond the borders of the U.S. too. In “The Women’s Page: Godsend or Ghetto?” four media practitioners from around the world were asked a series of questions about women’s sections. Their conversation exemplifies the two perspectives. Anita Anand, director of Women’s Feature Service in New Delhi, India, argues “Until women can claim equality in the media, especially representation in significant numbers in decision-making positions, women will have to try to maximize all the spaces made available to them in the media” (Media and Gender Monitor, 1998). Pat Made, the regional director of Inter Press Service in Africa, argues gendered sections “Wrongly give the impression that women can be separated from the rest of society” (Media and Gender Monitor, 1998).

Authors: Harp, Dustin.
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Tracking number: ICA-12-11416
24
newspapers to dissolve these gendered sections. But to call these pages a backlash is to be
overly simplistic. Savvy, and the re-emergence of women’s sections, is much more
complex. There is certainly evidence of ways in which Mertz has promoted feminist
ideologies within Savvy’s pages, and it is unclear whether these stories would have been
published elsewhere in the paper. But, of course, they were situated in a section
designated for women and this alone may be enough to keep a male audience from
reading them. This not only segregates women, it isolates issues associated with women.
The boundary drawn promotes an idea that men need not be concerned with these issues
and this, in turn, often means that women are alone responsible for dealing with them.
Rather than segregate women’s news and risk this outcome, newspaper editors should
integrate issues of importance to women into all sections of the newspaper. And hiring
more women in decision-making positions could only help.
1
Some feminist and media critiques argue newspaper editors continued to construct
pages for women but that they just quit naming them as such.
2
A handful of books offer greater depth into the history of women’s pages, as well as
women, in U.S. newspapers. For a more extensive account of the initial introduction of
women’s sections, see Lont (1995); Marzolf (1977), pp. 205-207; and Schudson (1978).
For detailed accounts of the history of women’s work in newspapers, see Belford (1986);
Marzolf (1977); Mills (1988); Ross (1936); and Schlipp & Murphy (1983).
3
For a more comprehensive discussion of content in traditional women’s pages, see Mills
(1988).
4
Miller categorizes the content into eight areas: lifestyle, consumer, food, fashion, social,
entertainment/arts, syndicated features and politics.
5
The debate extends beyond the borders of the U.S. too. In “The Women’s Page:
Godsend or Ghetto?” four media practitioners from around the world were asked a series
of questions about women’s sections. Their conversation exemplifies the two
perspectives. Anita Anand, director of Women’s Feature Service in New Delhi, India,
argues “Until women can claim equality in the media, especially representation in
significant numbers in decision-making positions, women will have to try to maximize all
the spaces made available to them in the media” (Media and Gender Monitor, 1998). Pat
Made, the regional director of Inter Press Service in Africa, argues gendered sections
“Wrongly give the impression that women can be separated from the rest of society”
(Media and Gender Monitor, 1998).


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