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Feminist Consciousness and the Production of a Contemporary Women's Section
Unformatted Document Text:  Tracking number: ICA-12-11416 5 personal views and minimizes possible conflict” (p. 511). The authors ultimately express concern about the move away from women’s sections. They call women’s pages “one of the few mass audience forums for information about women” and note that if content is simply moving in the direction of entertainment, then “the much heralded changes in women’s pages may be doing little to improve the scope of or ghettoization of women’s pages” (Merritt & Gross, 1978, p. 508-9). More recently, Yang (1996) examined the 1969 transformation away from a women’s section in the Washington Post, the paper credited with initiating the industry- wide move to eliminate traditional women’s pages. Yang emphasizes cultural elements related to the production of women’s sections, including advertising, professional values and gender beliefs. Through content analysis, interviews and correspondence (including with Marie Sauer, the Post’s women’s pages editor from 1946-1968), Yang describes how Sauer lobbied for a gender-neutral section in 1952 only to be turned down by her editors who later, in 1969, introduced a unisex lifestyle section. She reveals that the Post’s management originally chose to keep women’s pages against Sauer’s wishes primarily to satisfy advertisers’ desires. Yang illustrates how a feminist consciousness informed Sauer’s work. Yang explains: In contrast to the management’s perception of the readers of women’s pages as housewives with concerns limited to family responsibilities, Sauer perceived her readers as intelligent and aware women whose interests went beyond their private domain (p. 367).

Authors: Harp, Dustin.
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Tracking number: ICA-12-11416
5
personal views and minimizes possible conflict” (p. 511). The authors ultimately express
concern about the move away from women’s sections. They call women’s pages “one of
the few mass audience forums for information about women” and note that if content is
simply moving in the direction of entertainment, then “the much heralded changes in
women’s pages may be doing little to improve the scope of or ghettoization of women’s
pages” (Merritt & Gross, 1978, p. 508-9).
More recently, Yang (1996) examined the 1969 transformation away from a
women’s section in the Washington Post, the paper credited with initiating the industry-
wide move to eliminate traditional women’s pages. Yang emphasizes cultural elements
related to the production of women’s sections, including advertising, professional values
and gender beliefs. Through content analysis, interviews and correspondence (including
with Marie Sauer, the Post’s women’s pages editor from 1946-1968), Yang describes
how Sauer lobbied for a gender-neutral section in 1952 only to be turned down by her
editors who later, in 1969, introduced a unisex lifestyle section. She reveals that the
Post’s management originally chose to keep women’s pages against Sauer’s wishes
primarily to satisfy advertisers’ desires. Yang illustrates how a feminist consciousness
informed Sauer’s work. Yang explains:
In contrast to the management’s perception of the readers of women’s pages as
housewives with concerns limited to family responsibilities, Sauer perceived her
readers as intelligent and aware women whose interests went beyond their private
domain (p. 367).


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