The creation of Jezebel was intended to provide, according to Holmes, “an antidote to superficiality and irrelevance of women’s media properties” (Mascia 2010). Jezebel expressed these goals in the article “ The Five Great Lies of Women’s Magazines,” labeled as Jezebel Manifesto. The article outlines the goals of Jezebel by deconstructing the different flaws of women’s media (Holmes 2007). The beginning outlines the main goals of the publication.
“To put it simply, Jezebel is a blog for women that will attempt to take all the essentially meaningless but sweet stuff directed our way and give it a little more meaning, while taking more the serious stuff and making it more fun, or more personal, or at the very least the subject of our highly sophisticated brand of sex joke” (Holmes 2007).
The post then breaks down each of the “lies.” The first of these is “The Cover Lie” which discusses how women’s magazines set up unrealistic expectations from before they are even opened (Holmes 2007).The women on the cover fail to show a diversity of races and are often Photo shopped to non-human perfection (Holmes 2007. The cover lists outrageous promises for “tasty tidbits” which are predictable, but draw people in on the hope they are not (Holmes 2007).
The second lie is “ The Celebrity-Profile Lie” which criticizes the narrow focus on the minutiae of the lives of celebrities (Holmes 2007). Additionally, magazines bestow celebrity like descriptions and standards to normal people, and “focus on only the most photogenic cancer survivors/assault victims/environmental activists” (Holmes 2007). In this environment, even those people who want to be every day heroes must live and act as celebrities, and are subject to the same scrutiny (Holmes 2007).
The third lie is “The Must-Have Lie,” where editors push products that they have been given for free, promoting bias and forcing the perpetuation of the image that certain styles and expensive items are necessary (Holmes 2007).
The fourth lie is “The Affirmation Crap Lie,” where magazines cause women to second-guess themselves by showing them constant criteria to compare themselves (Holmes 2007). Women are analyzed on the smallest details of their lives, from the color of their lipstick to their ability to cuddle (Holmes 2007). This creates a need for affirmation, which magazines happily supply with ways to continue to check on how adequate a woman is mixed with lessons about loving themselves and how all women are goddesses (Holmes 2007).
The last lie is “The Big Meta Lie” where people try to justify addiction to and the content of women’s magazines (Holmes 2007). People attempt to deny the effects of these medias on their self-esteem and world views (Holmes 2007).
Jezebel hopes it is “planting a little seed, so that maybe people will think about this stuff a little more critically” (Johnson 2007). However, various criticisms have questioned the changed trajectory of Jezebel, and if it truly qualifies as a blog with feminist ideas. The next few posts will break down Jezebel as a product for women, by analyzing if it is feminist, and the content and driving factors behind the four major categories. (For what those categories are check out this post)