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Is Women's Media Too Girly?

Over the past year and a half, media (websites, TV, books) created by women has often been accused of being too girly. When women's sites and Hello Giggles launched in May of 2011, journalist Tricia Romano wrote in the Daily Beast that both sites suggested that "women want to read about boys, cute animals, their periods, and they want to read it in a Valley Girl accent." Lena Dunham's hit HBO show "Girls" (April 2012) and Sheila Heti's acclaimed novel "How Should A Person Be?" (July 2012) provoked very similar criticism -- and subsequent defenses – in the blogosphere and a range of media outlets from Gawker and Mother Jones to the New Yorker to Buzzfeed. Do female journalists and writers undermine themselves (and other women) by publishing odes to frozen yogurt, writing about their breakups or creating a cable show about female friendship? Or does "girly" media surface and acknowledge women's experiences as important and worth hearing?

Additional Supporting Materials


  1. The success of these "girly" narratives suggests there's an appetite for them. Is that appetite new -- Millennial, perhaps? -- or have women always had it but, in previous decades. been less willing to admit it? What does the rise of girly media have to do with how far women have come -- and haven't? Is it a reaction? A reflection? A regression?
  2. When we talk about "girly" stories, are we really talking about personal stories? Is there too much navel-gazing in women's media? Do these stories result in women being taken less seriously?
  3. How does the rise of "girly" media resemble or differ from the Bromantic moment we saw a few years ago, when Super Bowl commercials ( and Judd Apatow movies celebrated what journalist Jessica Grose called the "Omega male"? (
  4. Have our digital lives -- from Pinterest to Sh*t Girls Say to chronicling your frozen yogurt consumption on Twitter -- encouraged a culture of "girliness" among grown women?
  5. What would Nora Ephron have said about all of this?



Margaret Johnson, Women's Editor, AOL/Huffington Post Media Group

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