Slate’s latest blog, the female-focused DoubleX, launched earlier today with an immediate fire across the bow at Gawker Media’s women’s entertainment and lifestyle site Jezebel. DoubleX’s Linda Hirshman takes Jezebel to task for trafficking an attitude that says, “if it feels good do it,” but ignores the consequences. In turn, Jezebel offered a defense of its no-holds barred sexuality, while suggesting that DoubleX’s critique amounted to blaming the victim.
Double X clearly hopes to define itself by stating what it is not: an online variant of glossy women’s mags. As editor Emily Bazelon tells sibling WaPo: “Women’s magazines surround their smart content with much straight-up, idealized coverage of beauty and fashion. That’s an economic necessity for them. We’re hoping that the web will free us from that.” The site also hopes to appeal to men, who might might feel more comfortable reading a website for females, as opposed to a “women’s mag.” More after the jump
Slate and parent Washington Post Co. (NYSE: WPO) are a little late to the women’s online content game, following the past year’s launches of female-centric sites from major media companies like NBC, Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO), AOL (NYSE: TWX) and Turner. The launch of DoubleX — which previously existed as a section within Slate.com — is part of Slate’s ongoing effort to break out of the beltway. In January 2008, Washington Post-Newsweek Interactive created the African American cultural news site, TheRoot, which was later folded into the The Slate Group. Last fall, it released the online business mag TheBigMoney and then, in February, launched a French version of the main politics and culture site. A look at monthly ComScore (NSDQ: SCOR) numbers since last year show that TheRoot and TheBigMoney have struggled, though the latter appeared to have a sudden rebound in April. But with just 157,000 uniques, the traffic is still very small. TheRoot, meanwhile, last had a high back in February of 291,000 uniques and has since dipped to 61,000 uniques last month (the site’s biggest month in the past year was May 2008, when it hit 424,000 uniques).
As for the “anti-DoubleX,” the two-year-old Jezebel, that site was up 9 percent year-over-year to 415,000 uniques in April, setting a nice target for its more cerebral rival.