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Monthly Archives: February 2012

Wait, so can you clarify what this is about?

Through every medium there are publications meant to appeal to women, from the thick flimsy Fabio covered paperback of the grocery store to the slick colorful pages of Ladies Home Journal.  With the expansion of the Internet, Jezebel.com has worked to establish itself as a “women’s blog.”    However, the newness of the Internet makes this distinction lack a great deal of clarity, as there is no precedent of standard to understand what that distinction means.  This entails analyzing its part in Gawker media, its structure and tone, and the different aspects of its tagline “ Celebrity, Sex and Fashion For Women. Without Airbrushing.”

In order to understand what the vague term “ a women’s blog” means, the different aspects of Jezebel.com must be pulled apart and analyzed, in order to create a more understandable whole.  Without understanding the components and context of the site, there is no way to understand the impact and meaning of the site itself.   An important part of the context of Jezebel is its part in Gawker media. Like Jezebel, each Gawker media blog has been successful by micro targeting its content to a specific segment of the population.  It is in alignment with this business model that Jezebel has come into play. It is important, especially given the distinctive tone of Gawker works to analyze how Jezebel fits within these works. It is also important to frame Jezebel within the history of female-targeted works in different media forms, and how it has taken on the mantel of this genre for the digital age.

Jezebel has also been called a feminist blog, in almost every description but their own. Since feminism is such a loaded word, this distinction is important. In order to determine if Jezebel is a feminist site, it is important to understand about feminism more broadly and specifically its expansion into the digital world.

The different elements of the tagline also indicate how Jezebel might break down how it is a “women’s blog.” Picking these topics could be no accident, and looking at each of them and their digital history could unlock what Jezebel means.  Celebrities, including gossip and gossip blogs are a flourishing element of the Internet and integral to Jezebel.com.  With any blog associated with Feminism comes a certain degree of sex, and for Jezebel, this is expanded to also include other aspects of sexuality. Contextualizing this and comparing it with feminist websites can clarify the importance of this part. While the fashion element of Jezebel is less obvious, further analysis can show why this was important enough to be included in the tagline.  Additionally, the tagline could be amended to include a fourth category, especially aimed at tugging women’s heartstrings. This is cute animal and baby videos, labeled “aww” and “squee” to replicate the reaction to watching these clips. How these different pieces all fit together is the answer to understanding Jezebel, and figuring out what it means for digital media

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“Celebrity, Sex and Fashion for Women”

This is how media outlet Jezebel.com frames its in its tagline. The blog, a part of the Gawker Media sites, is specifically targeted towards the active Internet user of the digital age.  This blog will focus on analyzing on how the website defines what it means to be a female blog, exploring the different type of content. This blog will further explore the history of topics like celebrity gossip and women’s health issues in other forms of media. The overall question of the blog is how Jezebel chooses and presents its topics to make it a “female website” and if the content is driven by women’s interest, or constructed to fit some idea what women like.  Posts will begin with an exploration of the long history of the word Jezebel, explanation of website themes and the role of social media in women’s communication.

Like Jezebel itself, this research will draw on a variety of sources. Some of these sources will be digital sources, including articles about Jezebel and other female-targeted blogs, such as  some of the research on the “mommy-blog” phenomena.  Research about the role of social media in female education, as well as digital media as information sources will be included. Many of those sources will be news articles, blogs or poll information from organizations like Pew.  Additionally, the blog will source from journal articles that discuss the appeal of different topics to women, and the history of women’s media.  Other information may include input from peers about Jezebel.

I chose this topic for several reasons.  The first is that I am admittedly and avid Jezebel (and Gawker) reader. I have found myself wondering about just how the editors manage to posts stories about exactly what I am interested in. Those thoughts formed the basis of the idea for this blog, breaking down what exactly they talk about on Jezebel, and how it is so well targeted that it appeals to me as the intended audience.