Counting chicks

A journalist tallies female bylines in major magazines and comes up short.


Rebecca Traister
November 7, 2005 7:44PM (UTC)

The New York Times today reports on Glamour deputy editor Ruth Davis Konigsberg's tabulation of female bylines vs. male bylines in five major general-interest magazines over the past couple of months.

Keeping score at www.womentk.com, Konigsberg noticed that since September, Harper's, the New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine, Vanity Fair and the Atlantic have cumulatively featured stories by 324 men and 99 women.

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Interviewed by the Times, Atlantic editor Cullen Murphy (61 male bylines to 18 female bylines) responded with seriousness, calling the inequity "endemic" and claiming that his magazine is "aware of the problem and [has] been actively taking steps to address it."

Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter, however, responded by mocking Konigsberg and her project: "We don't assign stories based on gender, but now that Ruth Davis Konigsberg has helpfully shown us the error of our ways, henceforth all assignments will be equally balanced between the sexes." In its past three issues, Carter's magazine has run 34 stories by men and 12 by women, so clearly he's got a lot to be condescending about.

The continuing concern over journalism's gender imbalance just makes me think about this picture from last week's Gawker.


Rebecca Traister

Rebecca Traister writes for Salon. She is the author of "Big Girls Don't Cry: The Election that Changed Everything for American Women" (Free Press). Follow @rtraister on Twitter.

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