…because men don’t get to see the articles.
I want to revisit my criticism of Daily Life (Fairfax’s site for women), in light of a conversation I had on the weekend about taking parental leave when you’re the relationship’s highest earner. I have no doubt that my friend talks about this with her partner, but it got me thinking about how public conversations around parenting are always put in women’s spaces.
I stand by my first impression of Daily Life. It was disappointing that the editor, Sarah Oakes, left it up to her freelancers to defend the site from substantive criticism on twitter. That’s very poor form. (Also poor form was Oakes’ boyfriend Pete coming on here to tell us we were wrong, without declaring his relationship.)
Anyway, have a look at the topics on the site, and the other Fairfax sites at the bottom of any given page on Daily Life:
I know they’re a little hard to see, but I’m squeezing the bottom (giggle) of the website into a third of the page.
Now look at what’s promoted at the bottom of the national news section:
And at the bottom of the business section:
Now, I’m going to tell you something really shocking.
Are you ready?
MEN ARE PARENTS TOO.
I know, I know, ASIO will open a file on me for saying something so subversive on the internet.
And this is the main problem I have with Fairfax’s decision to put all articles about relationships and parenting in a section where men are highly unlikely to see them. If an article about heterosexual relationships is worth publishing, then it’s worth making at least a tiny effort to put that article where some male eyeballs might see it. After all, it involves them too. And until articles about parenting are promoted across all sections, it will continue to be considered a women’s issue, and we’ll continue to have this problem:
Men + work + family = completely normal
Women + work + family = wanting to “have it all”, followed by “being unreasonable” and “probably selfish”
(More on those equations here.)
Likewise, articles about how men demean women should not be filed away in a section for women so that only women will read them and nod furiously. For example, Why women still can’t enjoy sex by Clementine Ford should be in a place where everyone will see it. Particularly those eeediots who call you a slut when you say you don’t want to have sex with them:
“In order to diminish women in our culture, we accuse them of enjoying sex. Worse, we accuse them of wanting it. We talk about them as looking ‘used’, or having ‘done the rounds’, or needing a ‘solid pounding’. It’s no coincidence that the majority of criticisms made towards Yumi Stynes had to do with how much sex she’s supposedly given away for free.”
The article is a week old – I found it today via twitter – but to my knowledge it wasn’t promoted on the smh.com.au homepage.
(I do have to mention Richard Glover’s contribution, All men think all women are beautiful, which comes down to ‘it doesn’t matter how women feel about themselves because all that really matters is that men think they’re hot’. That’s a contender for the David Penberthy Award for Dumbest Contribution to Body Image Discussions. I have no problem with articles about men finding women attractive. Just as I have no problem with articles about women finding men attractive. And women finding women attractive. And men finding men attractive. But I do have a problem when these articles frame body image problems in terms of ‘women are too silly to know that men find them hot’.)
I’m not saying that it is Fairfax’s responsibility to make Australian society a better place. Fairfax is a business, not a group hug. But wouldn’t it be nice if they showed just a little bit of imagination when it comes to getting eyeballs on content that relates to most of their audience?