Hello Byline readers! One of the more interesting surprises that I (Taryn) have come across in the course of this survey has been the relatively high number of men who write about Pink topics.
As a reminder, “Pink” topics are the topical spheres that compose what some media critics refer to as the “pink ghetto” because women have historically been confined within them.
We’ve defined the Pink ghetto as: 1.) anything that falls into what was once known as “the four F’s”: food, family (relationships, children, sex), furniture (home), and fashion, 2.) women-focused subject matter, e.g. woman-specific health or culture, 3.) gender / women’s issues, or 4.) a profile of a woman or her work in which her gender is a significant issue of the piece.
By no means are these subjects the exclusive domains of women – they are just as much a part of the lives of men. The relatively high number of men traversing the Pink ghetto borders indicates a significant amount of progress and serves to further mainstream content that was traditionally for women and by women. Perhaps a ghetto begins to break down not only when those trapped inside begin to move beyond its constraints, but also when “outsiders” freely choose to inhabit its space.
The chart below shows the percentage of Pink topics in each outlet broken up between men and women. I should point out that the The Huffington Post figure might seem low, but keep in mind the fact that women contribute heavily to Pink topics in new media, and that the 2.5% accounts for 14% of all of The Huffington Post’s Pink topics.
Each news outlet has a unique array of subject matter than it tends to publish. Of the four traditional media outlets in our survey, The NY Times tends to publish the most diverse range of topics. In the last 4 weeks, 13% of its articles involved a Pink topic. Nicholas Kristof alone accounted for 4 of 17 Pink topic articles. 5 other staff writers pitched in, three of who were men, as well as 7 op-ed contributors, 1 of who was a man (see the chart below). This content distribution is in accord with the past month’s findings in which NYT op-ed contributing women had the highest rate of Pink topic authorship.
Finally, we have the week’s proportion of op-eds by women in the chart below. The traditional media outlets are on the low side, but new media is staying strong. I do have to say that it is such a pleasure to tabulate the university numbers. The strong showings of those women bode well for the future.