Double X

// 13 May 2009

Slate has launched a new ‘women’s’ magazine, Double X.

Feministe has already skewered one of their articles, but what about the site in general?

Well, I like this interview with Tilda Swinton (although not so much the headline).

But it’s also full of posts like this, which calls feminism “cultural road-kill”. Sigh.

Comments From You

Laura Woodhouse // Posted 13 May 2009 at 4:37 pm

They launch a women’s magazine by filling the homepage with anti-feminist nonsense? Nice.

And as has been pointed out elsewhere, the choice of title (XX) betrays at best a complete blindness to the existence of trans women, at worst a deliberate form of discrimination (I imagine the former, but you never know).

I certainly won’t be checking back any time soon.

Jess McCabe // Posted 13 May 2009 at 5:31 pm

Yes, good point! I meant to write about the name in my post, but I got all distracted with deciding whether or not to respond to the “road kill” comment with a rant about how boring the “is feminism dead?!” thing is.

Yes, clearly calling a women’s magazine Double X is either ignorant of the existence of trans women or stating it’s not for trans women. And also the magazine is very white from what I could see on a brief scan through.

Clearly the magazine has a… er… weird relationship with feminism. Even in their own press release, one of the editors says “We’ll offer a feminist viewpoint without restricting ourselves to any sort of party line. And it will be the kind of conversation men will want to eavesdrop on.”

Then a few paragraphs down, they say they will be “a critical voice for figuring out what comes after the feminism movement”.

And they’re going to hold a “symposium” on feminism! Sigh.

Laura // Posted 13 May 2009 at 5:38 pm

A symposium on feminism = Waste. Of. Time.


Anne Onne // Posted 13 May 2009 at 6:14 pm

Ironically, a lot of the other articles seem to be about feminism, and not in a ‘feminism doesn’t exist/ is SO last century/ empowerfullment is the new feminism!’ way.

I don’t generally believe there needs to be much of a ‘house style’ and that all articles need to agree, but if a magazine or website can’t decide if it thinks feminism is basically a good thing or a bad thing, it’s going to give off a pretty confusing message.

Perhaps they should take a leaf out of the F word’s book? Lots of varied perspectives, but at least there’s enough of a basic commonality in being about and for feminism to ensure the content actually fits together as a whole.

Putting the transphobic title aside, Double X seems a bit too contradictory to do its points any good. If articles decrying feminism as in the past or irrelevant are going to be common, and if many of the viewpoints expressed are going to be attacking women, then the space itself won’t prove very nurturing to feminist discourse.

My question is: What does Double X want to be? Does it see itself as an explicitly feminist magazine? If so, why all the ‘laa laa feminism doesn’t exist’/’caused all our problems’ attitude? Why the articles in which women basically tear other women down and blame each other over choices? The feminist-blaming articles aren’t one or two, there’s more. There’s ‘Still the second sex’ by Katha Pollitt’, ‘Whine, Womyn and Thongs’ by Christine Rosen, ‘Yes, Virginia, Feminism Really Is Dead.’ by Susannah Breslin. Just skimming through this site persuaded me that unless they seriously address whether they actually give a shit about feminism, any decent articles are going to be outweighed by many others that could have been lifted from Femail.

There seem to be some articles that explore more fully the image of feminism, or what turns people off it, but the ‘feminism is uncool’ approach seems the most numerous one. Baffling for a magazine that apparently considers itself feminist. If the magazine meant to express itself as feminist, or indeed exploring the fallout of past feminism and the place for new feminism it does a pretty lazy job of it. I’ve seen better analysis of the shortcomings of feminism in the Daily Mail.

If it doesn’t see itself as being feminist (in the ‘I notice sexism but I’m not one of those bitter feminists!!’ category, by the look at it) not, why the focus on feminism at all? and why the pretence of being progressive?

Latoya Peterson’s article looks good, though. Shame it’s in such bad company.

Karen // Posted 14 May 2009 at 9:35 am

My answer to these people is that if feminism is as dead and buried as they reckon it is, why do they feel the need to keep writing books, setting up websites etc. to try to convince the rest of us that this is the case? I quote the meerkat from those adverts. “Simples” It’s because they know damn well it’s not dead and their way of trying to defuse us if you like is to try to convince other women that actually feminism is old, tired, a waste of time, ineffective today etc. Stops the “recruitment drive”of more damn irritating feminists. As a damn irritating feminist, my answer to people that use articles by women to put other women off feminism is to take their article, roll it, lick it and stick it!

Freakish // Posted 14 May 2009 at 3:06 pm

The XX title also erases intersex women…Turner’s syndrome women who have one X chromosome, CAH, AIS and other conditions, who are XY but are women, and numerous other intersex conditions.

‘Woman’ is a gender, not a sex.

Katha Pollitt // Posted 14 May 2009 at 3:25 pm

My piece was a defense of feminism. My basic point was that the problems feminism addresses are still with us, despite rumors to the contrary.

Anne Onne // Posted 14 May 2009 at 7:01 pm

So it is! My apologies. I was rather busy and distracted, and whilst skimming all the articles came across ‘To a certain extent, feminists and feminist-leaning women have bought this extreme individualizing of social problems. ‘ and lumped it in the ‘ women brought it on themselves because they want too much equality’ pile.

Teaches me to comment when I don’t have the time to read through something. At least that’s another decent article I can chalk up.

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