All-Male “Golden Age” of Print Media Inspires #WomenEdsWeLove
2:15 pm, June 13th | by Colette McIntyre
Port magazine, a London-based men’s lifestyle publication, wants everyone to know that print media and magazine publishing are a-ok; in fact, according to the quarterly’s latest cover, we have entered a “New Golden Age” of print publishing. Yet, if you take just one glance at Port‘s cover, you’ll see that the new golden age looks a heckuva lot like the last golden age and every golden age, silver age, wood age, and fruit and flowers age before that. All six of the editors selected by Port to tout their New Golden Age are white men. In fact, Ann Friedman had the “dubious honor” of being the lone woman quoted in the article. So, just to reiterate: not only were there no female editors pictured on the cover, there was just one female editor quoted in the entire piece. White maleness constitutes a new golden age in publishing? If you’ve even just skimmed through a VIDA press release once, you’d know there’s nothing new or “golden” about that.
Port can’t make the argument that there are no women leading major magazines to picture or interview since there are. Quite a few, actually. As Slate’s Alyssa Rosenberg writes:
If you want to celebrate print magazines, why not feature Janice Min, who is turning the Hollywood Reporter from a dying trade into a thoughtful, glossy exploration of everything Hollywood—from legal issues and legislative fights to the creative challenges of creating prestige television—with a crackling, obsessive website to boot. What about Mother Jones‘ Monika Bauerlein and Clara Jeffery, as well as the magazine’s publisher Madeline Buckingham, three women who have demonstrated that you can publish a feisty political magazine, reignite a brand, nurture longform writers like Mac McClelland, and do it all on a nonprofit budget, a model more publications might want to consider as advertising revenues continue to dry up?* Why not talk to Elynn Russell, the president of Texas Monthly, about how state and local magazines have stayed rich, relevant, and visually gorgeous even in a recession? And while I understand the impulse to focus on print, it’s also worth lauding people who are doing innovative magazine-style work that’s primarily online, like Rachel Rosenfelt, who co-founded and edits the New Inquiry..
But it’s not just that the team behind Port forgot to include women like Anna Wintour, the artistic director of Conde Nast, or Tina Brown, of Newsweek/Daily Beast. In her open letter to the six male editors pictured on the Port cover, Ruth Franklin, book critic and contributing editor at the New Republic, points out that the article’s oversight offends and minimizes all of print’s women:
You know why I’m upset? It’s not just because there are so few women at the highest levels of magazine publishing — after all, I just reminded you that some of us have broken through that old glass ceiling. It’s because your magazines owe their success to the labor of women as well as men. Come on — we know you have at least a few women as your deputies, your managing editors, your copy chiefs, your assistants. Not to mention your writers! It’s not okay to ignore them and act like you deserve all the credit. (There might even be a few people of color somewhere in the mix, too.)
In order to right this egregious wrong, writer and editor Amy Wallace started the #WomenEdsWeLove hashtag on Twitter yesterday and it has been blowing up ever since. Check it out and be sure to add some of your own favorite ladytors!