Female journalists: Like normal journalists, only annoyingly female

Women can be incredibly annoying, plus they don’t half witter on. How do I know this to be true? Well, I’m a woman and I do both of these things. And as for the rest of the female population – well, look around you. Just listen to them. Blah blah blah makeup blah babies blah vagina-flavoured cupcakes blah blah blah (by the way, are you female?  If so, is that not exactly what you sound like?).

Do you know what is even more annoying than women babbling on about total nonsense? Loads of things: wailing toddlers, Special K adverts, Jeremy Clarkson, the ongoing misuse of the word “empowering”. And plenty of other things besides, many of which are, as you might have guessed, precisely the type of irrelevancies that women see fit to harp on about. Which is ironic, when you think about it (which you shouldn’t, since it’s a total waste of headspace. Why not think about war or the economy instead?).

Anyhow, if you are still following these witterings, do you know what the Most Annoying Thing Ever happens to be? (Apart from my pointless use of capitals just then.) It’s not women and their babbling, nor is it the stuff about which they babble. It is people who deliberately read pieces by female journalists simply in order to say each piece is irrelevant and never should have been published. Why? Why do you do this, you people? Why not engage with the argument or sod off? Why does the existence of something apparently superfluous offend you so? Just why do you waste so much time on things which are of no interest to you whatsoever? Do you have any idea how much other stuff there is for you to see and do?

Look, I read plenty of things I don’t like. Then I get cross and have a massive rant about them, not least because, to be perfectly honest, I rather enjoy ranting (there is a deeper moral purpose to all this, probably. But mainly I like the ranting). But if I’m reading something which provokes no response – something which simply doesn’t interest me – then guess what? I stop reading! Voilà! End of problem. It’s not as though I commissioned the person to write the stuff. If someone’s made a poor editorial decision, then that’s for them and their publication to deal with. There’s other stuff to read. Not my problem.

This morning I read Suzanne Moore’s rather fine Guardian piece about Naomi Wolf’s new book. I mean, I thought it was rather fine; others might not. But it was perfectly obvious from the start that this was a woman writer discussing another woman writer’s book about women, vaginas and sex. Perhaps this isn’t everyone’s preferred breakfast reading, but that’s okay. After all, you can’t possibly have read everything on the internet, ever, and be stuck with this – or can you? After all, how else to explain comments such as this:

Oh No! Not another article inspired by that blasted autobiography…..

Or this:

The phrase too much information covers this article. Heaven knows what the actual book is like.

Or this:

I only skimmed the article. I saw the words “Suzanne Moore” at the top and knew in advance that it held nothing of interest to me.

Or even this:

So, another in the long line of articles that runs under the theme of; “Quick, some woman, somewhere claimed to derive happiness from something – AND IT INVOLVED MEN SOMETIMES! – This won’t stand sisters! Attack!”. I suppose if she annoys you that much then just ignoring her is too much out of the question? Think of all the free time you’d free up.

I find the last one particularly ironic – I mean, just imagine wasting time writing something utterly pointless when you could just ignore the thing that’s getting to you! Who the hell would ever do that?

Why are some people so keen to question the entire point of articles, as opposed to actually engaging with the content? Perhaps in part it is down to a certain envy of journalists; after all, lots of people write great stuff on the net for free – why should these people get paid for it?* I can see that if you want to be a writer, that is indeed irritating.** But beyond that, I can’t help thinking that women in particular get singled out for focusing on “the trivial” and writing things that shouldn’t ever see the light of day. After all, Moore’s not alone in having people read her work just to tell everyone what a waste of time that was. It happens to a lot of writers – but especially if they’re women writing about what are perceived to be “women’s issues”.

In another current Comment is Free article, Jane Martinson discusses relationships and ambition. I’ve only skim-read this (to be honest I find articles on relationships boring since I assume they’re all down to random luck anyhow). Other people have, however, ploughed through the piece while clearly getting nothing from it. Hence comments such as this:

Jane Martinson, you have 2 minutes on “The bleedin’ obvious”, starting now.

And this:

Is this journalist getting all competitively alpha and competing with Hannah Betts for the best spoof article written by a woman.

Quite why this is a woman-only contest is beyond me. Or rather, it isn’t. It seems to me that if women aren’t discussing life-and-death issues, they’re proving themselves to be just as flippant and air-headed as we knew them to be (whereas with men an absence of gravity is just “witty banter”. You never know, someone might devote a whole TV channel to it).

Of course, I wonder if I’m just over-sensitive to this. After all, selfish as ever, it’s not Suzanne Moore, Jane Martinson and Hannah Betts I’m worried about; it’s me and how it makes me feel to read comments like this (short answer: I feel as though women still have to prove themselves in a way that men don’t. And this seriously pisses me off because I can’t be arsed). Anyhow, in the interests of “totally non-serious because I haven’t got the time” research I looked for other Guardian comments mentioning “female journalists” and discovered this:

It is no wonder people do not take the Guardian seriously. It is also no wonder some argue that female journalists shouldn’t be taken seriously either. I think there are some wonderful female journalists. Please, ffs, hire some – ar at least encourage those you do have to, you know, contribute something that wouldn’t appear in an edition of Hello (or whatever it is these girls read).

And this:

What we need is – please, Guardian – some female journalists who can write ANYthing interesting. That is, interesting to serious Guardian readers, not just to feather-head “feminists”.

And, my total fave, this:

Maybe women are (wilfully?) marooned in the world of ‘women’. What about a week of banning female journalists from talking about themselves / being women / societies perception of women / family / women in society / women in the workplace / the media’s perception of women / a famous woman and how she plays the media / men versus women / women on social media. All must discuss Nato, the House of Lords or Syria in any tone they wish except ‘lifestyle’ and ‘light-hearted’. Wouldn’t it be a leap of feminist consciousness, towards the bright light of post-feminism? Biology is not destiny and ‘women’ doesn’t have to be your specialised subject.

Well, no, ‘women’ doesn’t have to be anyone’s specialist subject. But if a person is remotely interested in people and humanity, you’d surely expect him or her to spend a good deal of time talking about women and their lives. The very idea that to write about “family” is in some way too “female” is just ridiculous (although I don’t totally blame the commenter; the Guardian itself hardly helps by plonking all of its “women” articles – be they on lipstick or FGM – in the “Lifestyle” section of its website).

It’s not that I believe everything written by a woman is necessarily worth reading. It’s just that I ask myself (in my flippant female way), do men get this crap? And I rather think they don’t. Charlie Brooker or Stewart Lee can babble on about any old rubbish (and often do so in ways that are clever and funny), but no one seems to think their choice of subject matter betrays a failure on the part of men in general to achieve a sufficient level of gravitas. Why should women have so much to prove? Why can’t we write about issues which don’t have an official stamp of approval from the Importance Committee? I don’t think there’s anything remotely post-feminist in feeling obliged to write about Nato rather than Naomi Wolf’s “cuntini” episode.

Anyhow, there’s me wittering on and on and on. Blah blah blah bedtime blah children’s party tomorrow blah blah I could totally do this ‘female journalism’ shit…

* One comment informs Moore “You think you’ve got it tough? You haven’t been born.” Not that Moore ever really implies she has it “tough”.

** Although if you want to be a writer, my advice – albeit coming from someone who isn’t a writer – would be “don’t deliberately read things you think are rubbish”.

PS According to one Guardian commenter Polly Toynbee is “the best female journalist around”. He doesn’t state how many men are superior to her – what would be the point?


4 thoughts on “Female journalists: Like normal journalists, only annoyingly female

  1. To be fair to the CiF trolls I have seen plenty of “this is crap and pointless” comments under Brooker and Lee pieces, but they obviously don’t come with any gendered comments (although Brooker does get some crap for now being a parent, which Lee doesn’t, although he’s been a parent for a lot longer! I guess because his offspring haven’t featured in the Daily Mail).

    1. Actually, you’re right – I have been unfair to the trolls. To be even more fair to them, though, Charlie Brooker also annoyed me with his piece on becoming a father (if only because he played on the whole “people always get annoyed when journalists go on about their kids” trope as though this made it less rather than more annoying for him to do so!).

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