Friday, April 6, 2007


I just finished reading How Sassy Changed My Life: A Love Letter to the Greatest Teen Magazine of All Time by Kara Jesella and Marisa Meltzer. I read it cover-to-cover, and although I'm a couple years too young for Sassy, it makes me long for magazines for women that are smarter than Real Simple and Cosmo -- they should compete on the level of Harper's and The New Yorker. But as Dana pointed out, women are on average less informed than men. Linda Hirshman even went so far as to accuse cushy suburbanites of relying on their husbands for political information. What went wrong here?

I seem to remember readership stats at my alma matter (the U of M) said that something like 65 percent of readers were female. Will we be the generation that flips the switch?

I think of myself in my own group of friends. I am much less informed than my male friends and co-workers (and some of my female friends and co-worker), whose full-time job it is to follow the news. But, I'm probably more informed than your average citizen.

What, then makes the difference? Do women just "prefer" fluffy talk shows and celebrity gossip? I derive much greater enjoyment out of the Jim Lehrer News Hour than E!, but I am just one woman. I notice, when outside the beltway, a lot of women avoid talking to each other about politics in a way that men don't. This is, of course, a sweeping generalization, but the definition of "girl talk" does not include foreign policy.

I've wandered away from the point here, but Sassy definitely wasn't afraid of tough topics and used terms like "feminism" in a way that most teen magazines talk about boys. So the moral of the story is: the book was fabulous, women need to be better informed, and I need to stay on topic, apparently.

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