Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Missive From The Pink Ghetto

The Op-Ed Project's report titled 'Who Narrates The World' is excellent reading, and the first time I came across the term 'pink topics.' Namely stuff that women have traditionally written about: family, food, health, gender and style. Before the politics and social commentary took over this blog, it was decidedly more pink in content. I don't consciously draw distinctions between topics that way, so I'm chewing through the implications of the article's findings.

It's nice when there's numbers to illustrate some of the realities of this gendered world that we live in. Are female American journalists in legacy and traditional media not writing about 'general' interest topics like the economy, sports, technology, international relations etc because these topics do not interest them? Or is it because female participation in these areas of life are still relatively low? Or are there active barriers to entry in journalism in those areas? What does that say about the intellectual life of that country? I would love to do something similar for Tanzanian print media, and maybe I'll get around to it next year.  

What I'm really curious about is the trajectory of women who end up in the media industry- the experience of that 30-something percent of them working in male-dominated newsrooms both real and virtual. I was inducted to the media industry by women, my first editor was a woman and I suspect that I don't have a bead on the typical female experience.*

It has been a while since TMR tried one of it's trademark disastrous surveys, so here goes. I'd like to invite women in legacy or traditional media who read this pink post to share their experience of working in the industry. Submissions are welcome in the comments section, which has a handy anonymous option to protect your identity should you feel so inclined. Also feel free to email me at elsieeyakuze at gmail dot com. If enough stories crop up, and you permit me to, I'll share some of the information on the blog. In your responses, please don't forget to cover the following:

1. how did you get started?
2. how long have you been working?
3. what topics do you write about?
4. has your gender been a major factor in your work?
5. where are you from/where are you based?

Hope to hear from the sisterhood in media. (and y'all have no excuse, since you write for a living!). 

*Well, that's not strictly true but I'll get around to sharing some of those stories in exchange for some of yours...


  1. As the parent of a young daughter, I object to the universal insistence on pink as the colour of everything for girls. You can't buy a unisex child's bicycle any more, they're all either pink and covered in some combination of fluffy clouds, princesses and butterflies, or they're black and red/blue/green and covered in trucks and monsters, or monster trucks.

    Which makes me wonder why the "pink topics" are called "pink". Shouldn't an essentially feminist idea try to avoid perpetuating such daft associations?

  2. @Anonymous; In a nutshell: yes. While I think that the authors of the articles chose that term to flag the general issue they are addressing, perhaps they could and should find a better term. I would be most interested to hear your suggestions.

    And because color-gender associations are ridiculous (even though science apparently shows that men really do prefer a lady in red, here's a little nugget for you: once upon a time, little boys wore white dresses.

    Enjoy. Best of luck keeping your daughter from a life bounded by ribbons, princesses and fluffy clouds... unless that's what she wants, of course :)

  3. As someone who has reclaimed the power of pink (I was very much like you, Anonymous, when my girls were born), I quite enjoy confounding those who expect some fluffiness and get quite the opposite! It's fun.
    But, back to the request at hand, would a certain Goddess niece qualify for this request, E? I think she would enjoy it as a burgeoning blogger.

  4. @Jetsetter: Yes, yes, yes. And Yes. I would LOVE IT if the Goddess wrote in. LOVE. IT. I hope that answers your question :)


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