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May 10, 2006

Gender and Identity Politics

Posted in: Blogosphere

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I was going to add this as an update to the previous post on the importance of women in the punditocracy but decided it deserved its own space.  From Garance Franke-Ruta of The American Prospect, in the comments:  

[O]nce Amy Sullivan leaves the Washington Monthly toward the end of the month, I will have the peculiar honor of being the only female more than half-time political writer left at any of the liberal magazines in Washington. (Michelle Cottle at TNR being the other one, and part-time.) Sigh.

No women staff writers but me and Michelle in Washington at: TNR, TAP, WaMo, MoJo, The Nation, or Salon.

Plenty of women in middle-management, though.

The problem of women being shut out of opinion media, even progressive opinion media, is related to the one you describe of women not voting. Anna Greenberg has done research into this and discovered that a major reason these women don’t vote is they feel like they’re not well-informed and therefore aren’t qualified to vote. One reason they probably don’t feel well-informed is that they don’t keep up with political media as much as men, and I’d wager that one reason they don’t do that is when they turn to it they don’t see anyone who looks like they do or is talking about their concerns in a way they can relate to.

To her critcs I’d just say that Jane is not addressing a problem of identity politics; she’s addressing a problem of politics, period. Joe Trippi said after the last election that if Kerry had been able to get 3 million more single moms to vote he would have won. But good luck trying to get an 85 percent male progressive punditocracy to recognize the importance of such voters to their favored candidate’s electoral success or failure. Men prefer what they prefer and overlook what does not interest them.

This is a problem. 

(Update:  Kevin Drum writes to say that The Washington Monthly has hired Rebecca Sinderbrand as a new editor.)


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