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Feminist Consciousness and the Production of a Contemporary Women's Section
Unformatted Document Text:  Tracking number: ICA-12-11416 4 women” (p. 646). Miller expresses concern that while in these newly named sections the content may address areas of interest for both men and women, advertisements most often address women and women primarily occupy the photos. She writes, “If the first thing a male reader sees are photos of women and ads for women, he may not stick around long enough to examine the content and tone of the stories” (Miller, 1976, p. 646). These findings help explain why many readers and journalists still think of lifestyle sections as women’s pages. Also examining content, Guenin (1975) hypothesized that newly named and re-designed lifestyle pages offer more relevant content to a wider variety of readers than did the traditional women’s pages. But after assessing content during April 1973 in six newspapers with new gender-neutral sections and three papers with traditional pages, Guenin found that entertainment stories replaced traditional content – advice, astrology, beauty, brides, fashion, food, home and society – in the updated pages. This emphasis on stories about movies, books, theater, travel, arts and entertainment left little space for content topics reader surveys noted as important. Merritt and Gross (1978) looked at gender differences in editors of women’s pages/lifestyle sections (conflating the two) to learn “ways in which professional and personal characteristics of editors influenced what was available to their readers” (p. 509). The authors surveyed 242 editors at papers with a circulation over 50,000 and 461 editors at papers with a circulation less than 50,000. Of particular interest, the authors found that women editors were more likely than their male counterparts to include stories about the women’s movement, while men allocated more space for entertainment. Further, Merritt and Gross (1978) suggested that “women have internalized professional expectations about appropriate section content that takes precedence over their own

Authors: Harp, Dustin.
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Tracking number: ICA-12-11416
4
women” (p. 646). Miller expresses concern that while in these newly named sections the
content may address areas of interest for both men and women, advertisements most
often address women and women primarily occupy the photos. She writes, “If the first
thing a male reader sees are photos of women and ads for women, he may not stick
around long enough to examine the content and tone of the stories” (Miller, 1976, p.
646). These findings help explain why many readers and journalists still think of lifestyle
sections as women’s pages. Also examining content, Guenin (1975) hypothesized that
newly named and re-designed lifestyle pages offer more relevant content to a wider
variety of readers than did the traditional women’s pages. But after assessing content
during April 1973 in six newspapers with new gender-neutral sections and three papers
with traditional pages, Guenin found that entertainment stories replaced traditional
content – advice, astrology, beauty, brides, fashion, food, home and society – in the
updated pages. This emphasis on stories about movies, books, theater, travel, arts and
entertainment left little space for content topics reader surveys noted as important.
Merritt and Gross (1978) looked at gender differences in editors of women’s
pages/lifestyle sections (conflating the two) to learn “ways in which professional and
personal characteristics of editors influenced what was available to their readers” (p.
509). The authors surveyed 242 editors at papers with a circulation over 50,000 and 461
editors at papers with a circulation less than 50,000. Of particular interest, the authors
found that women editors were more likely than their male counterparts to include stories
about the women’s movement, while men allocated more space for entertainment.
Further, Merritt and Gross (1978) suggested that “women have internalized professional
expectations about appropriate section content that takes precedence over their own


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