Today's New York Times 'Thursday Styles' section takes a minute to note that other, less high-brow publications have suddenly gotten interested in politics. In fact, they report that everyone from People to US Weekly to TMZ to Inside Edition are covering the race alongside less important stories like Britney's recent weight loss and Lauren Conrad's supposed sex tape. What gives? As the one Jezebel contributor who knows too much about politics, nothing about fashion and writes for Glamour magazine's relatively new political blog, Glamocracy (which should have been a case-in-point for the New York Times, but bygones), I have some thoughts that boil down to: women are complex and interesting creatures with varying interests and politics are important!
The Times' Julie Bosman thinks it's amusing that the same magazines and televisions that cover the ins and outs of celebrity breeding, fighting, sexing and weight-loss are also covering (some) of the ins and outs of the campaign — and not just where it intersects with celebrity, as was the case in 2004. What's even more interesting is that the editors are all doing it not as a public-service but because its what readers actually want!
It is also because having a woman and a young, photogenic man in the race hits the right notes, demographically speaking — the vast majority of readers of magazines like US Weekly are women. Many of those readers are, for the first time, paying close attention to the presidential primaries, and turning politics into dinner-party conversation.
Oh, and, in addition, the editors all agree that covering politics actually drives ratings and readership numbers up. Who knew anything short of rehab and crotch shots could do that?
Anyway, as a woman who writes for two women's sites and almost exclusively about politics, I have to say, I'm not really surprised that women are interested in politics and I don't think it's just because Barack is cute or Hillary's a woman. (Maybe it has something to do with old adage about Washington, D.C. and the town being like Hollywood for ugly people.) I might have approached Anna when I was let go from a certain political website and asked to keep doing Crappy Hour and other stuff, but, interestingly Glamour also approached me talk about writing for Glamocracy. Both of these places pay me to write about politics because both Jezebel readers and Glamour readers want to read about politics and talk about issues and rally for candidates and generally act like responsible citizens of this democracy while they also talk about Rock of Love or Heidi Montag's bad attitude. Many women, in fact, enjoy walking, chewing gum and thoughtfully debating the merits of health care policy and the problems with race in America today while cooing over cute shoes. I just hope it continues after the election because I'll still have bills to pay come December.
Sex? Yawn. Politics? That's Hot! [New York Times]