Who run the world? Dudes

SPINMedia's Stephen Blackwell. Image via Twitter/Bust.
SPINMedia’s Stephen Blackwell. Image via Twitter/Bust.

This week over at Bust Kaleigh Wright laid out exactly how dudely your fav “feminist” media really is.

The rape-porn fangirls who run The Frisky answer to CEO Stephen Blackwell and six other men who head up the SpinMedia corporation.

Jezebel is owned by Gawker Media (i.e. Nick Denton) who also, it’s worth noting, founded Fleshbot, a porn blog that was sold first to Lux Alptraum (the woman who runs BinderCon and the highly influential networking group for female writers and journalists, Binders Full of Women Writers), then to SK Intertainment.

Bustle, as most of us know, was launched by Bryan Goldberg, who “raised $6.5 million from investors such as Google and Time Warner” in order to be able to bring us steaming hot garbage on the daily. Bustle, Wright reports, “has since become one of the most profitable women’s blogs out there.” Who knew a wild and crazy idea like getting women to write about things besides mascara could actually work!

As Wright points out, Bustle’s tagline reads “by & for women,” but would be more accurate if it read “by & for the pockets of one very rich dude.” Same goes for The Frisky, who not only pray at the altar of corporate male gods, but that of the porn industry as well.

…They aren’t alone.

A number of other “feminist” sites are listed in Wright’s peice, along with their male overlords, including xoJane and The Mary Sue. Not included are magazines that are vying for feminist cred, like Cosmo (owned by the dudely Hearst Corporation), who published a whopping 108 porn-related articles in 2014 and even more the following year (many of which appeared to be promoting porn giant, PornHub), and liberal sites like Mic. Not unlike the rest of the bunch, Mic was founded by two men, Chris Altchek (previously of Goldman Sachs) and Jake Horowitz. Mic actually partnered with PornHub last year to publish a study on what kind of porn “millennials” consume, essentially helping PornHub to generate even more profit and create more consumers by appealing to younger viewers. Mic lends a politically progressive kind of credibility to PornHub through this partnership as well, something the company has made central in terms of their branding as of late.

So. All these sites that dominate the conversation with regard to women, sexuality, and the feminist movement today are, 1) American, 2) Funded by men, 3) Owned by men. Many are funded by billion dollar corporations like Google and Time Warner. Is it any real surprise that these platforms seem not only have zero connection to the independent women’s movement, but also refuse to take a stand against prostitution and pornography? Particularly when many of them are partnering directly with the sex industry? (Lest we forget, Amelia McDonnell-Parry, the editor of The Frisky, hired rapist porn producer James Deen on as a writer but slandered me for questioning the idea that sexualizing and objectifying transwomen in the pages of corporate beauty magazines is somehow “empowering” or “groundbreaking”…)

Considering all this, it is kind of a surprise that Feminist Current has been able to keep up in a marginal way. This is a site actually run by women and supported by feminist readers… That is to say, without millions of dollars in funding (never mind of the corporate variety). We can’t compete with Cosmo, Jezebel, or Mic, of course, in terms of reach and content, but I am proud of how far we’ve gotten with so little. This all only serves to reinforce how vitally important independent media is. It’s also a helpful reminder that, no, you aren’t crazy — that so-called feminist media you’re reading that feels male-centered really is… Even when women are writing the content, men are still writing the cheques.

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Meghan Murphy

Founder & Editor

Meghan Murphy is a freelance writer and journalist from Vancouver, BC. She has been podcasting and writing about feminism since 2010 and has published work in numerous national and international publications, including The Spectator, UnHerd, Quillette, the CBC, New Statesman, Vice, Al Jazeera, The Globe and Mail, and more. Meghan completed a Masters degree in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012 and is now exiled in Mexico with her very photogenic dog.