Man Creates Very First Website for Women Ever

What Women Really Think
Aug. 14 2013 12:48 PM

Man Creates Very First Website for Women Ever

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"If only women like me had more websites to go to feel understood!"

Photo by Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

Bryan Goldberg, founder of the high-trafficked sports site Bleacher Report, has launched Bustle, a website for women. Goldberg, who has raised $6.5 million to launch the site, will be the company’s CEO, but the site will be edited, written, and read by women, focusing on the issues that women care about, featuring the products that women want, and catering to the advertisers who want to reach us.

Amanda Hess Amanda Hess

Amanda Hess is a Slate staff writer. Email her at amanda.hess@slate.com, or follow her on Twitter.

It will be the first of its kind.

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“When we launched Bleacher Report, we competed with some outstanding websites, including ESPN.com. There is no such titan within the women’s publishing landscape. There isn’t even a SportsIllustrated or FoxSports.” Indeed: Besides Cafemom.com, People.com, UsMagazine.com, BabyCenter.com, WomensForum.com, HollywoodLife.com, StyleBistro.com, EW.com, FanPop.com, Jezebel.com, RealSimple.com, Beauty.com, Oprah.com, YourTango.com, MarthaStewart.com, Celebuzz.com, Prevention.com, and PopSugar.com, no website targeting a primarily female audience pulls more monthly traffic than FoxSports.com.

Where is the Gawker for women? The ESPN for women? The Awl for women? The Slate for women? The Onion for women? Perhaps when Google finally launches a search engine for women, we will be capable of locating the websites targeted at us, so that advertisers may sell us things. For now, we will read Bustle.

So what will Bustle be? In an interview conducted with himself on PandoDaily—perhaps some day the Internet will drum up the capital required to employ its first female interviewer, but until then—Goldberg outlines the editorial direction of the site. “Yes, we believe that a partner-track attorney can be passionate about world affairs and celebrity gossip. On the same day. During the same coffee break. And there is nothing wrong with that. Welcome to the year 2013,” Goldberg says. Strange: The year 2013 looks a lot like the year 2007 to me. But I didn’t read that on Bustle, so I can’t be sure that the timeline is correct, to me, as a woman.

And what does “bustle” mean? To me, the name evokes the image of women as busybodies (“She bustled around the kitchen getting ready for dinner guests”), or else a Victorian garment designed to make our butts look bigger. But I trust that this word speaks to me as a woman because, as Goldberg elucidates in the comments of his Q-and-A with himself, “a female editor came up with the name.”

“Is this a feminist publication?” Goldberg asks himself. “You’re damn right this is a feminist publication,” Goldberg tells himself. “And here is what the editors at Bustle are going to do about it—they’re going to let the writers cover the stories that they find interesting.” In order to ensure that his writers’ intentions stay feminist, Goldberg has ensured that not too much of that $6.5 million trickles down to actual women. Bustle has offered to pay its freelance news writer, for example, $100 a day to produce four to six pieces of content daily. If Bustle’s writers received a living wage, they might start covering stories because they find them legitimately interesting, not because they feel like they have to eat to survive.

So far, the site’s feminist message is broad enough to include “7 Easy Tricks for Wearing Your Hair Down” and “Violence Erupts in Egypt.” I know that these stories are feminist because women wrote them. But are women really capable of processing the Egyptian revolution and their hair, all at the same time? “We are aiming to reach people across this country who are still reading Cosmo, and are not used to seeing the Egyptian Revolution side-by-side with Fashion tips,” Goldberg says in the comments. If only there were some website that provided this service to today’s women. Now there is Bustle.

Importantly, Bustle will be a website for adult women. According to Goldberg, “magazines like UsWeekly talk to women as though they were children, and they fail to connect popular culture with any form of social commentary.” Compare Us Weekly's editorial coverage to the pop culture commentary currently featured on Goldberg's own Bleacher Report, like “Most Unbelievable MLB Contract Clauses” and “Most Exciting Weeks of CFB Schedule.” And yet, this website, which is targeted at men, has not so much as mentioned the Egyptian revolution in months. Some day, perhaps, men will have a site of their own that treats them like fully realized adults. Somebody give Bryan Goldberg $6.5 million to make it.