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Feminist Consciousness and the Production of a Contemporary Women's Section
Unformatted Document Text:  Tracking number: ICA-12-11416 6 Amends or backlash? An article published in the Washington Journalism Review and titled “Women: Special Again,” explains why newspaper editors brought women’s pages back: a declining female readership. While in recent decades newspaper readership has declined for both genders, the decrease of women readers has been more dramatic. The Newspaper Advertising Bureau released a study showing that between 1970 and 1990 adult women daily newspaper readers dropped by 18 percent. While there had also been a decline among male readers during the same two-decade span, that drop was only 12.5 percent (Hansen, 1992, p. 23). The percentage point differences may seem relatively small but it translates into millions of readers. Another report explains, “Had we maintained our appeal to women equal to what it was in 1970, we would have 17 million more readers” (Knight-Ridder, 1991, p. 8). The same argument against women’s pages that brought about their elimination 30 years ago has now been countered with a new perspective. Yang (1996) highlights the current debate, explaining supporters “argue that women’s sections address concerns of female readers often neglected in the male oriented news profession” (p. 364). Critics continue to call the solution separatist and sexist. 5 American feminist writer Susan Faludi has been quoted as saying: “The whole idea that women’s news and issues are special or subordinate to men’s is implicit in the creation of these sections” (Cox 1992, p. 8). While this particular controversy focuses on how newspapers treat women, the concern is related to broader and more complex debates about gender equality and the marginalization of women. In Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women, Faludi (1991) details contemporary American social, political and economic institutions to reveal a covert movement “to remind women to embrace

Authors: Harp, Dustin.
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Tracking number: ICA-12-11416
6
Amends or backlash?
An article published in the Washington Journalism Review and titled “Women:
Special Again,” explains why newspaper editors brought women’s pages back: a
declining female readership. While in recent decades newspaper readership has declined
for both genders, the decrease of women readers has been more dramatic. The Newspaper
Advertising Bureau released a study showing that between 1970 and 1990 adult women
daily newspaper readers dropped by 18 percent. While there had also been a decline
among male readers during the same two-decade span, that drop was only 12.5 percent
(Hansen, 1992, p. 23). The percentage point differences may seem relatively small but it
translates into millions of readers. Another report explains, “Had we maintained our
appeal to women equal to what it was in 1970, we would have 17 million more readers”
(Knight-Ridder, 1991, p. 8). The same argument against women’s pages that brought
about their elimination 30 years ago has now been countered with a new perspective.
Yang (1996) highlights the current debate, explaining supporters “argue that women’s
sections address concerns of female readers often neglected in the male oriented news
profession” (p. 364). Critics continue to call the solution separatist and sexist.
5
American
feminist writer Susan Faludi has been quoted as saying: “The whole idea that women’s
news and issues are special or subordinate to men’s is implicit in the creation of these
sections” (Cox 1992, p. 8). While this particular controversy focuses on how newspapers
treat women, the concern is related to broader and more complex debates about gender
equality and the marginalization of women. In Backlash: The Undeclared War Against
American Women, Faludi (1991) details contemporary American social, political and
economic institutions to reveal a covert movement “to remind women to embrace


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