Bustle.com: the worst case of mansplaining…ever.
So, a “failed investment banker” decides that his grocery store survey of the impulse rack is where, how and why women are not being fulfilled in their quest for in-depth conversations on politics, business and technology, ooooh AND makeup tips and gossip too, and decides that he can do it better. Of course.
So, he goes to his buddies at Social+Capital Partnership, Time Warner Investment, Google Ventures, 500 Startups, and Rothenberg Ventures, and says (after doing his grade one research of googling “women+online” for his business case),
“Hey, you guys?! Women are the future!! They’re the leading demographic of online users and they’re so underserved, I can do it better! Give me a few mil, wouldya? I can fix this!”
And guess what. They did. Seriously. And so Bustle.com is born.
Oh. My. Fuck. I don’t even know where to begin.
Reading through Goldberg’s piece on pandodaily, is an exhausting, exasperating, would be laughable experience if it wasn’t such a sadly true testament about the incestuous, celebutante state of startups, and the systemic bias toward the homogenous worldwide fraternity known as VC.
Before we get there though, let’s start where he did…
The fact that this guy states in his press release, which also apparently passes as “news” on pandodaily, that
“Politico, Bleacher Report, TechCrunch, Business Insider, Mashable, Grantland, TheVerge, Break, College Humor, IGN, Thrillist, and Gawker”
are written for men is a great indicator that this navel gazer doesn’t actually get publishing or journalism whatsoever. Wait, then again, maybe it’s just me? I wonder why when I met Jordon Crook of TechCrunch last year and we talked about the startup scene in Toronto why she didn’t tell me to hike my skirt and push up my boobs on camera, you know, for the guys? I guess I must pass the biometric testosterone sensor they have built into their sites when I login, or something. Ya, that’s it.
Further on Goldberg writes,
“Women’s publishing has long served as a symbol of “old media” stagnancy.”
You mean, that “old media” that’s just the same as the “new media” don’t you?
“What about a site that takes an introspective look at the celebrity world, while also having a lot of fun covering it?”
You mean, like JEZEBEL?! Hey Goldberg, just because you haven’t a clue about the huge number of sites that speak to women, through a woman’s lens doesn’t mean that those sites don’t exist.
Oh wait, they do exist! You know, “women’s sites” like Cosmo, and Vogue. They’re online, but of course they’re doing it all wrong, and that’s because “women publishers” have
“completely lost sight of which decade their readers are living in.”
I am so glad that Bustle is going to have paid “20 somethings” that are still in school writing on deep political issues like what Anthony Weiner said on BuzzFeed today, and “male nurses”! Phew! I can’t wait for more “awesome” “wow” and “Twittersphere” too! This is a way better business model than HuffPo. Who wants to read all that in-depth stuff on politics, business, culture & society, gaming, and tech from women, who, you know, may actually use the word feminist and not just since Caitlin Moran’s awesome missive. Clearly, Goldberg’s figured out that the writing on Vitamin W is just too, you know, male, I mean serious, for us women (or is that girls?), and who wants to hear from anyone that’s got any real life experience anywho? Definitely not enough eyebrow plucking reports included for my liking.
I am most excited that bustle.com is “ not just a publication either”, they’re investing in “technology” with “responsive design” on their site. Ooooooh, how 2010!
For the record Goldberg, “responsive design” nor “CMS” are “technology”.
Okay, enough mocking. That’s just too easy. Now let’s get a bit more serious on the real issues here, and why this is really pissing me off.
Let’s start with the word “feminist”. Oh, you opened the door Goldberg, so let’s go there.
“Is this a feminist publication? You’re damn right this is a feminist publication.”
Let me simply say this; anyone that uses quotes around “income gap” is NOT a feminist. It’s not an “income gap”. It’s a fucking income gap. Your air quotes don’t make it a fairy tale, it’s a real thing. You sir, are no feminist. You’re not even a shadow of Hugo Schwyzer. You’re just a mansplaining asshole.
And speaking of assholes…
If you don’t think that there’s a bias in women led ventures getting VC funding, then you’re being willfully blind. It’s documented, ad nauseam that women only receive 4.2% of VC funding in the US. I seriously cannot think of another more perfect example than this one to animate how horribly wrong the VC eco-system is, and how every single one of the players that gave @BGoldberg money should be ashamed of themselves.
And you know why?
If a woman led initiative had come to any one of these VCs and pitched their business as piss-poorly as Goldberg obviously did, with this kind of tepid writing, and storify-ing stealing interface, they would’ve been laughed out of their offices. Soundly. And with good reason.
When sites like Bustle get $6.5 million in funding from multiple VCs, it is a glaring statement that as long as the same old same old exists in VCs, then the same old same old shit will get funded.