Elle Editor: Hell Yeah Women Produce 'Serious Journalism'

Illustration for article titled emElle/em Editor: Hell Yeah Women Produce Serious Journalism

On this day, the hearts of women in journalism grew three sizes. Despite the fact that some people question whether or not women's magazines produce any"serious journalism", numerous female editors are coming out of that hole in the ground where they belong to sing the praises of their vagina-bearing employees.

One such woman is the editor of Elle magazine, Robbie Myers, who devoted her Letter from the Editor for the month of August to the topic. In the piece, she praises the talented roster of "serious" writers she works with and takes time to articulately chastise some simple-minded fools.


Myers touches upon several issues, criticizing the head of the American Society for Magazine Editors Sid Holt – who she identifies as a friend – for saying to Jessica Grose, who wrote the original piece, that it's not the "mission" of women's magazines to cover serious topics. She also combats the idea that the length of a piece has anything to do with its quality ("Of course the men on the cover of Port are lauded for doing really loooonnnnggg pieces, but then men have always confused length with quality"), discusses the history behind the work of women being "othered", and highlights a moment not long ago when she was confronted with a young man who felt the same way about her magazine that some of her male peers have demonstrated to her:

"It reminded me of when I gave a lecture at Columbia University and showed the students several of our stories—including a nearly 7,000-word piece on Barack Obama by Laurie Abraham, one of a handful of journalists to accompany the then senator on his historic trip to Kenya—and a (male) student raised his hand to offer, 'I had no idea you did such important stories. How does it feel to know nobody reads them?' He meant you, dear reader, the some 8 million smart, educated, chic, interesting women who consume ELLE in print, online, and on tablets each month. It’s your status as a woman that makes you 'nobody.' "

In the past few days, Elle has been among many women's magazines that have received positive press for their "serious" works (Jezebel included). Myers and the staff of Elle are encouraging people to tweet their favorite pieces using the hashtag #WomenAtLength (perhaps inspired by the success of the hashtag #WomenEdsWeLove), a cause that the humans running Twitter feeds for publications like O Magazine and Cosmopolitan are supporting.

Inspired by @JessGrose @rtraister + many others, we're sharing ambitious women's magazine journalism via #WomenAtLength. Join us!

— ELLE Magazine (US) (@ELLEmagazine) June 17, 2013

What a well-written piece by Myers, made doubly-nice by the fact that she got a typical women's mag joke about penis size in there – all in less than 1,000 words.


Robbie Myers: Yes, Women's Magazines Can Do Serious Journalism. In Fact, We've Been Doing It For A While [Elle]

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Robbie Myers is the best! I saw her speak at Columbia 2 years ago (not sure if it was the same time as the incident she mentioned, as I tended to tone out the Q&As at those lectures, since the questions were always stupid ones like the one that guy asked) and she won my heart from the moment she started her speech by asking everyone in the audience to raise their hand if they were a feminist, and then spoke at length about how important she thinks feminism is. Such an awesome lady.