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Jill began blogging for Feministe in 2005. She has since written as a weekly columnist for the Guardian newspaper and in April 2014 she was appointed as senior political writer for Cosmopolitan magazine.
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33 Responses

  1. Jovan1984
    Jovan1984 February 1, 2010 at 4:37 pm |

    And this isn’t the first time that the NYT has done this. Two years ago, when WWE switched affiliations, they did a girls v. boys piece concerning the programming on the two newest broadcasting channels — the CW and MyNetworkTV.

  2. Shinobi
    Shinobi February 1, 2010 at 5:20 pm |

    Lately sometimes I have picked a good TV show off of the menu without checking what channel it was on, and then been informed during the commercial break that this show was “MEN ONLY” by some commercial going out of its way to other me. (This is my way of saying I think Spike has been a real dbag lately.)

  3. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig February 1, 2010 at 5:33 pm |

    I think if I found out that a guy watched a program on Spike (Other than CSI. I was converted in college.) that’d be the end of it. D’bags watch d’bag T.V. Also if he thought Adam Sandler was funny..
    And Lifetime, ugh. Heck no. I wouldn’t watch it for the same reason I don’t watch romantic comedies- too much mush. It’s why the whole month of February makes me want to projectile vomit.

  4. ThankGoddess
    ThankGoddess February 1, 2010 at 6:06 pm |

    You realize the author of the piece is not saying that’s how real life is, or mocking women or men? It’s the content of the programming, which on both networks is terrible by all accounts, even yours:

    For example, he asserts that Lifetime is full of true-crime scary-tales, whereas Spike is full of men getting kicked in the balls. Which is kind of true, on both counts.

    And it is that content that is being mocked. Honestly are we going to stand up for the terrible programming on either of these networks, or for that matter just about any other network? There’s a reason some of us gave up years ago and refuse to pay attention to the drone inducing phlegm that is the Telly.

  5. Thomas
    Thomas February 1, 2010 at 6:09 pm |

    I watch mixed martial arts on Spike. I just wish that their marketing strategy was something other than assuming I’m a bunch of things I despise. Hey, I’ve got an idea … maybe I’m a complex person, who can segue effortlessly from Ultimate Fighter to Project Runway to Dexter?

  6. Lurkin Merkin
    Lurkin Merkin February 1, 2010 at 6:19 pm |

    By “things” here we mean, basically, “women.”

    I believe the reverse is also true.

    [insert long string of curse words here]
    This literally gave me a headache to read.

  7. The Chemist
    The Chemist February 1, 2010 at 6:57 pm |

    Back when I had cable I used to watch Lifetime almost every other day for Fraiser reruns. I almost never watched Spike- and I’m pretty hetero-normative (I also hate CSI). Spike to me has always been a bastion of trash-TV except when they showed movies and martial arts (like UFC). Then again, maybe I’m just prejudiced against it because of the marketing. God knows I (and I know I’m not alone in this) wouldn’t be caught dead using/purchasing Axe deodorant just because I don’t want to give the impression that I’m still insecure about my sexuality.

    I think the issue here is mainly whether or not we choose to believe what the marketers want us to believe.

  8. Cha-Cha
    Cha-Cha February 1, 2010 at 7:27 pm |

    Wait, did I miss something? This tripe qualifies as New York Times worthy news?

  9. KJ
    KJ February 1, 2010 at 8:47 pm |

    I’ve only recently been “enlightened” by Spike’s programing after discovering “1,000 Ways to Die”.

    It is without a doubt, the worst show I’ve ever seen. It’s almost like a Sick Sad World on Daria. Acting, writing, “facts”, are all complete and utter BS.

    I morbidly can’t stop watching it. I wish I taught a media course so it could be used as an example of how NOT to do it.

    The douchebaggy misogyny is actually the least of it’s problems. That’s saying a lot. Pointing out dbaggery on Spike is like pointing out derivitive lyrics on a country station.

    I wondehoof most of Spike’s viewers genuinly enjoy their crap, or just enjoy it on a “so-bad-i-can’t-stop-watching” level.

  10. KJ
    KJ February 1, 2010 at 8:49 pm |

    Pardon my typos. iPhone typing…

  11. elle
    elle February 1, 2010 at 9:22 pm |

    Um, I agree with ThankGoddess and hortense at jezebel that this NYT article was intended to be mocking of both networks – and was a pretty ham-fisted satire at that.

  12. Meg
    Meg February 1, 2010 at 9:57 pm |

    In undergrad, I didn’t have a TV. The only tv ownership of any of my friends-group was a dedicated Halo machine. So the only time we ever watched TV was when we were in hotels, which happened roughly every weekend in January/early february. Why? Fencing Season.

    And Spike was definitely the team’s channel of choice. Given the option between a romantic comedy and an action flick, the group response was “No! We’re going to watch Samuel Jackson eff-someone up with some effing golf-clubs!” (unless the Olympics was on).

    We were typically 60/40 women to men. The point is that sometimes Spike is just the right level of brainless mush. The last thing you want to wind down to is yet another anorexic-teen movie (some of which you were forced to watch in middle-school health class). Besides, who needs complicated plots when you’re only going to be watching in one-episode chunks? Explosions are better for those situations. The marketing didn’t bother me too much, probably because I was just glad it wasn’t pink and sparkly. … and yeah, having just spent approximately 10 hours stabbing people might have had something to do with these preferences.

  13. ThankGoddess
    ThankGoddess February 1, 2010 at 11:18 pm |

    “The douchebaggy misogyny is actually the least of it’s problems.”

    Just Amazing. Why not just call it the c*nty misogyny? Am I the ONLY one that gets SICK AND TIRED TO THE POINT OF VOMITING when I see misogynistic language used to complain about misogyny? Honestly can we just BE DONE WITH IT?

  14. Anonymouse
    Anonymouse February 2, 2010 at 12:43 am |

    I read the article as mocking the whole ‘Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus’ motif of these two gender-stereotype-themed networks. I didn’t get the sense that the author believed the stereotypes the networks put forth are accurate. I got the sense that he thought they were kind of ridiculous. Hence, the mocking.

  15. Chally
    Chally February 2, 2010 at 12:59 am |

    TG, you may be interested in a thread from November on that term.

  16. karak
    karak February 2, 2010 at 3:20 am |

    If I recall correct, Blood Ties was on Lifetime–a show about a woman who was a former cop who left the force because her serious vision problems and formed her own private investigator company. She was pretty, strong, and took no shit from the two men in her life, both of whom she was attracted to. And neither one of them told her to do Jack shit, or could tell her she couldn’t date both at the same time.

    Awesome show. There were also vampires and supernatural elements.

  17. Banisteriopsis
    Banisteriopsis February 2, 2010 at 3:36 am |

    Wait, what? My fantasy is to have my hand chopped off? But I need that… for… stuff.

  18. melancholia
    melancholia February 2, 2010 at 7:59 am |

    There is one program I like on Spike called “How to survive” or something. It’s a former Navy SEAL showing you what to do in insane situations (plane hijacking, school shooting, earthquake, etc.).

  19. La BellaDonna
    La BellaDonna February 2, 2010 at 9:05 am |

    Hey! I LOVE my TV! It brings me How The World Was Made, and it brings me Life After People !

    Of course, two of my favorite shows don’t involve actual people at all – that probably says something about me. (And what it says is that I like geology and, apparently, decay.)

  20. southern students for choice-athens
    southern students for choice-athens February 2, 2010 at 11:09 am |

    Besides all that’s been written above that’s critical of this article, let’s add the following gem:

    This month Lifetime offered a new movie called “The Pregnancy Pact,” an earnest film inspired by a spate of pregnancies among high school girls in Gloucester, Mass., in 2008. The movie, which stars Thora Birch, takes a forthright look at serious issues like peer pressure, the lack of opportunities for young people and the role schools should play in providing sex education and birth control. It is a commendable effort to educate about and generate discussion of a subject with far-reaching implications for teenagers and society as a whole.

    Hmm… “an earnest film” … “takes a forthright look” … “a commendable effort” … “generate discussion” … “far-reaching implications for teenagers and society”

    Considering our last post tried to see some good on balance in the movie “Twilight:New Moon” in how it stimulated the media to run stories on problems related to teenage depression and abuse, it’s hard to automatically criticize an attempt to see the upside in a possible similar situation with the Lifetime movie “The Pregnancy Pact”, but all that’s been written about this movie that we’ve seen is that it takes the more lurid and likely mythical elements of the so-called “pregnancy pact” and packages it as dramatized fact.

    Unlike the media coverage of concerns with “New Moon”, the so-called pregnancy pact coverage (the Lifetime show included) wasn’t for the most part insightful and tended to repeat some of the worst stereotypes of teen moms and their judgment skills. Maybe we should be glad that Lifetime didn’t do a similar story on “sex bracelets” and “rainbow parties”, but we doubt they’ve ruled it out, so let’s hope they don’t read this post and get ideas.

  21. norbizness
    norbizness February 2, 2010 at 11:14 am |

    Was there anything about their following the herd down to Greece?

  22. Lee
    Lee February 2, 2010 at 11:16 am |

    Also, ThankGoddess, did you miss the part where they said that the audience of Lifetime could stand to lose a few pounds?

    I also hated how he implied how ridiculous it was to put normal-looking women on tv. What nerve Lifetime has to show women people that look like them.

  23. Athenia
    Athenia February 2, 2010 at 11:51 am |

    When I want to watch “How I met your mother” on hulu it either redirects me to CBS or Lifetime.

    Robin and Lilly are totally hotties to me!!

  24. Ismone
    Ismone February 2, 2010 at 4:44 pm |

    I used to love Spike. Love, love, love. Not because I liked all of the programming on it, but because it played a lot of CSI, law and order, etc. I also like some of the shows on G4 (ninja warrior is awesome). I’ve actually never watched a lifetime movie, but I did get into Blood Ties for a while, which someone mentioned upthread. I used to complain that it wasn’t fair that guys get spike while we’re stuck with Lifetime. Boo.

  25. lilacsigil
    lilacsigil February 3, 2010 at 12:38 am |

    women more gorgeous than actually exist in real life.

    Yes, the actresses on SpikeTV aren’t even human so it’s okay to humiliate them! Hurr hurr hurr. If real women were that hot, they’d like being humiliated too! Hurr hurr hurr.

  26. Princess Rot
    Princess Rot February 3, 2010 at 7:20 pm |

    One of the rare times Family Guy gets it right:

    At home, Peter switches on the TV.
    Announcer’s voice: Spiketv! Stuff men like!
    *orgasmic woman*
    *racecar engines*

    So true.

  27. Princess Rot
    Princess Rot February 3, 2010 at 7:22 pm |

    By “so true”, I mean that the channel is really that stupid, not that men all like that stuff.

  28. ThankGoddess
    ThankGoddess February 4, 2010 at 11:43 am |

    Right, Douchbag does not = Cunt. That’s not the point. The point is that is that you’re using language aimed to dehumanize and insult, via a feminine twist. IF we’re going to insult based on gender (which douchebag actually is no matter how any *particular* person uses it, its roots are gender based violence language), then the net effect is no different than using cunt or any other term. The defense in the post linked to doesn’t cut it.

    Any time we use language which is aimed to use feminine aspects as insults, we’re being misogynistic and demonstrating an incredible capacity for self hate. I refuse to accept that under all circumstances. Most especially though such anti-woman language should be rejecting when we’re actually complaining about woman hating.

    Finally it’s a trigger for many of us that come from a different time. If you told me that a certain term was a trigger and I should not use it as an insult, I’d STOP. Just because some feminists do not feel as hurt by it as others of us do, when those of us that have experienced A GREAT DEAL OF PAIN by being tossed around while being called such things, does not mean that you should continue to excuse your privilege of having been safe from that language.

    I’ll emphasize again calling someone douche or douchebag to insult them is using anti-woman violence language constructs which those of us that have experienced refuse to be told by others that our experiences and pain are invalid.

  29. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan February 5, 2010 at 12:12 am |

    Just because some feminists do not feel as hurt by it as others of us do, when those of us that have experienced A GREAT DEAL OF PAIN by being tossed around while being called such things, does not mean that you should continue to excuse your privilege of having been safe from that language.

    I understand what you’re saying, and I’m really sorry you’ve been hurt, but I don’t think that just because certain language has been used against a woman in a violent situation that necessarily makes it intrinsically gendered or violent. While I certainly wouldn’t object to cutting down on using the term “douche” as an insult around people who aren’t comfortable with it (I don’t swear around my mom, either!) I personally like having a term that so neatly encapsulates the idea of a tool that is bad for women but thinks it’s the shit — it’s hard to more accurately describe a lot of guys. I think it’s a valuable kind of word to have.

  30. Robin
    Robin February 9, 2010 at 3:40 am |

    “actual real women on a network that targets actual real women”

    Hey now! Just because women are skinny doesn’t mean they’re not “real.” You should be accepting of all body types, not just the ones that are disparaged in the media.

    Overall, the article is extremely crude and often dismissive, but it’s basic point is sound: gender-targeted media makes outlandish assumptions about its intended viewership, creating fantasy worlds that do not represent the feelings of most people in their demographic. The difference is that Lifetime is not criticized as often, despite presenting odious misrepresentations of womanhood, because it’s marketed as “empowering.”

    That’s how I feel about Sex and the City: sure, it’s great to see a show about women who put friendship before men, are comfortable with sex, and have their own motivations and needs. However, it would be a lot more great if they weren’t so shallow, careless, and selfish.

  31. ThankGoddess
    ThankGoddess February 9, 2010 at 6:32 pm |


    While I understand your points I strongly disagree.

    “I understand what you’re saying, and I’m really sorry you’ve been hurt, but I don’t think that just because certain language has been used against a woman in a violent situation that necessarily makes it intrinsically gendered or violent.”

    As well it does not make it intrinsically not gendered or violent.

    The concern here though is that this is supposed to be a safe space for us. Any time someone tells me that the terminology I am using hurts them, I seek to remove it from my vocabulary. It is not my place to continue to use the privilege that I have in not being hurt by any word and thus continue speak such words in a safe space and continue to hurt those that are telling me it’s hurtful.

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