Sun 20 Apr 2008
A videogame came with a vibrating attachment of some sort: it didn’t take long before someone went with the obvious, writing in lurid detail about her experiences with the device in a variety of ways not mentioned in the game’s instruction manual. The review put the website Game Girl Advance on the map.
Of course, being “on the map,” did much more for the careers and popularity of the men associated with the website than it did for the women — the ones who were supposed to be the beneficiaries of the “girl” themed project.
These self-inflicted Pink Ghettos are sprouting up all over the internet. While the market advantages of female solidarity (getting the site more traffic than it would receive if forced to compete with other gender neutral sites purely on content) are manifold, it is men who reap the real rewards.
Not only do women split off into their own separate spaces, meaning there’s less of a compelling need to hire them on the big-time male publications, joining up at a Pink site is a great way for a starting or struggling man to improve his own career: It’s a way to be a big blue fish in a small pink pond.
It’s ironic that the website for Shakespeare’s Sister (referencing a point by Virginia Woolf that if Shakespeare had an equally talented sister, patriarchy would prevent her from reaching the same success) is now Shakesville, with more men involved than women.
Barry Deutsch, who used women for credibility to build his Amptoons.com into one of the most popular feminist sites on the internet (before he sold it to racist pornographers), once published his comics at Girlamatic. By going with a “pink” publishing group, he was able to both stand out and improve his authority as a feminist speaker. He was able to turn that authority into hard cash when he needed it, in a way that none of the female bloggers who worked for him could.
Bookslut works similarly for the many men involved. As Stephanie Cleveland writes in her essay, “Why I’ll Never be a Bookslut,” it’s men who benefit the most. They aren’t required to sexualize themselves to be “sluts” any more than the men of Game Girl Advance had to: it’s their female peers that pay the price.