Tuesday 28th March 2017,
Televisual

Me on Jezebel, or “Women Who Don’t Work”

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So Jezebel has done a riff on my article in Splice Today (“The Death of the Working Woman?”), and cited it again in another post this week! Thanks, Jezebel!

To be honest, the article was not my finest work. I was merely reacting to some personal observations: there are a lot of productive, innovative and super-talented women working in and outside of Hollywood, and only a few of them get the glam cover treatment of popular women’s magazines. But this wasn’t an academic study, just anecdotal observation; it may not even be true.

I am afraid — and was concerned about this before I sent it in — that the tone of the piece was too condescending. After all, who am I to speak about women, anyway? And what kinds of work am I valuing and devaluing? There’s also the issue of selection; after all, Tina Fey’s landed at least three covers over the years, and Michelle Obama, a great role model, probably has over a dozen under her fabulous belts.

Still, I do think there’s a difference between Kate Winslet and Lauren Conrad, or even Beyonce, who is crazy productive, and Jessica Simpson. But, eh, these are just my opinions, and I’m not an editor, nor am I the target market, so how do I know what sells (or should sell)!

Mostly, I’m conflicted about the article because I try not to police media images too much. Yes, I do it often. Not going to lie. These are fun articles to write. But in general I think it’s kind of boorish, even if exciting and scandalous. I think I came off particularly shrill in the Splice piece, and I’m not one to take such a hard line on the state of female employment. Oh well, c’est la vie. No takesies-backsies.

Oh yes, and I don’t have a problem with stay-at-home moms, if that wasn’t clear. Of course not! That paragraph is a distilled version of an ongoing academic discussion that I’d be happy to have with anyone who emails me.

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About The Author

Aymar Jean Christian is assistant professor of communication at Northwestern University. He writes about media and society for a number of publications. For more information, click the "About" tab at the top of the page.

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