Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sex Segregation -- The Return

Ruth Rosen has written an excellent article on the new sex segregation in media:

Forty years ago, feminists demanded that special "women's pages," which featured fashion, society and cooking, be banished from newspapers. Instead, they insisted, newspapers should mainstream serious stories about the lives of women throughout their regular news.

Forty years later, the new media have re-segregated women's sections. The good news is that they are no longer about society, cooking and fashion. Most are tough, smart, incisive, analytic,and focus on events, trends or stories that the mainstream online news still ignores. The bad news is that they are not on the "front page" where men might learn about women's lives.

Read the whole thing, as they say.

I have noticed this trend when writing about serious matters concerning women. After finishing the post I make sure that the links work properly and that's when I tend to realize that I'm linking to "Fashion" or "Lifestyles!" It's so bad that I recently wondered if the obituaries of famous women will from now on be found on the Fashion pages in the NYT?

The Guardian in the U.K. does the same thing. Maybe I should rename this blog something like Lifestyles of the Poor And Not-Yet-Famous? Or What Goddesses Wear This Season? (the answer: scales)

More seriously, a good case can be made for separate women's pages. They allow a focus on news about women, they allow those news a serious reception (because the readers are not there after some accidental surfing) and they also keep many journalists fed and with a roof over their heads.

But it's depressing that matters having to do with women are still put into that subcategory that so beautifully fits into my series on why feminism is still needed.

A long time ago I wrote an article just for myself (I have books and books full of those) about sex segregation. It is doubtful that REAL sex segregation has ever existed. What goes on in Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan is not real sex segregation, because the only people who can travel in all the zones are men, as long as they are men related by blood or marriage to the women they are guarding, and because the women's world consists of itsy-bitsy rooms scattered here and there inside the vast men's world, and naturally because it is the men who rule over the world of women.

A real sex segregation would mean two equal and parallel but separate worlds, one run by men and consisting of men, and another run by women and consisting of women. They would probably trade with each other (sperm being sent in one direction and boy babies in the other), but the rulers of the men would not rule over women and vice versa. We don't have that and probably have never had that unless the Amazons were real.

Doesn't my version sound like science fiction? That the other one (the much more horrible one) doesn't sound like science fiction should make your ears stand up and the rest of you take notice.