This summer, the Huffington Post added a “Women’s” section. This caused a fair amount of consternation; in the digital era, does it make sense to still do gender-based niche publishing like this?
NICOLE: It’s interesting that you say that men do read women’s magazines, sites, etc. My boyfriend tells me he had a stealthy male roommate in college who worked in entertainment and used to take home stacks of women’s magazines because he wanted insight into what women were thinking. I guess I tend to assume those men are aberrations, but maybe reading or watching content marketed to women is just one of those things men don’t talk about out of fear of being emasculated? So assuming that’s true, then here’s a thought experiment for you: what is a “women’s issue”?
HUGO: The intent is to refer to a problem or a concept that disproportionately impacts one sex. Reproductive justice matters to everyone, but since only women get pregnant, women have more “skin in the game” as it were. But the fact that women are biologically more invested in issues around pregnancy and childbirth and contraception doesn’t mean that men aren’t interested and shouldn’t be concerned. Like women’s history month (of which I’ve never been a fan), I think this tactic of creating a separate space for talking about women’s issues can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it allows people to start conversations that often don’t happen elsewhere; on the other, it allows some very important issues to be marginalized by the assumption that they only appeal to a select group.