Ombudsman Andy Alexander of the Washington Post wondered this morning why women readers are fleeing the newspaper.

An internal Post newsroom study issued in March 2008 noted a drop in female readership that “began accelerating in 2003.” It cited nationwide research showing that women between the ages of 18 and 34 spent only 15 minutes a day reading the newspaper. (It was slightly higher for men in the same age group.)

The study also said a content analysis of roughly 1,200 Post stories found that women were the focus of only 18 percent of them, although they comprised slightly more than half the area’s population. The same analysis found that “men are quoted almost three times as often as women in the paper.”

The study recommended The Post produce journalism “that creates an expectation among female readers that the paper is being published with them in mind.”

OmbudsAndy, in sorrow and barely mustered anger, tees off on teevee critic Tom Shales’s recent sexist assault on Alison Stewart and Bill Clinton, then cites other recent examples where readers complained about gender bias towards Rielle Hunter and Sarah Palin (see, balance).

But, hey! — these whiners don’t cancel their subscriptions, so there’s that.

Some examples that don’t make OmbudsAndy’s list of offenses: the continued employment of the unapologetic male commentators who wondered — on video! –during last summer’s CambridgeCopGate if Secretary of State Hillary Clinton drank “Mad Bitch Beer;” the continued employment of their sole female op-ed writer, who defended child rapist Roman Polanski; and today’s featured post-feminist exercise from Pulitzer Prize-winning fashion meter maid Robin Givhan:

But Kagan took the anti-style offensive several steps further. She put on rouge and lipstick for the formal White House announcement of her nomination, but mostly she embraced dowdy as a mark of brainpower. She walked with authority and stood up straight during her visits to the Hill, but once seated and settled during audiences with senators, she didn’t bother maintaining an image of poised perfection. She sat hunched over. She sat with her legs ajar.


It’s a wholly middle-age approach to a wardrobe — if one stubbornly and inaccurately defines that transitional period in life as the beginning-of-the-end of sex appeal, effervescence and sprightliness.


In the photographs of Kagan sitting and chatting in various Capitol Hill offices, she doesn’t appear to ever cross her legs.

Lovely. Isn’t this exactly the analysis and consideration women want when a co-genderist is nominated to the Supreme Court? This certainly reads like a paper published with women in mind.

What do women want, really?

Teddy Partridge

Teddy Partridge