The Importance of Women-Owned and -Run Media
If journalism is the first draft of history, then it’s critical that women aren’t just the story, but also the storytellers.
This article was made possible because of the generous support of DAME members. During our Spring Member Drive, we urgently need your help to keep publishing. Will you contribute just $5 a month to support our journalism?
Prior to the fall of Roe v. Wade, women warned anyone who would listen that outlawing abortion would sicken or kill pregnant patients. Women rang the alarm about this for years, during Hillary Clinton’s failed presidential run and every time former President Donald Trump nominated a right-wing judge: This will hurt us. We will get infections. We will have our bodies torn apart.
Media men didn’t listen. They said we were overreacting. That we were being hysterical.
And now women are documenting their own miscarriages on social media, begging for help after doctors sent them home to turn septic, fearing reprisals under harsh anti-abortion laws.
And people still have the gall to ask if women’s media matters. If supporting women’s voices—not just as characters in the story, but as those who decide which stories get told—is still important.
Throughout the history of this country, women-owned news sources have provided information corporate outlets wouldn’t. Newspapers like Evanston, Illinois’s North Shore Review and The Suffragist published voting guides for newly made citizens to help women exercise their rights, following in the tradition of abolitionist publications founded by Black women, like The Provincial Freeman.
Abortion access prior to Roe v. Wade depended on women’s information networks, and even after Roe, finding stories in alternative publications was a lifeline to pregnant patients seeking help. Birth control advice, avenues of escape from domestic violence, resources for lesbians and gender non-conforming people all were publicized from one woman to another because white cis-het men didn’t care.
They still don’t. As abortion rights are being curtailed across the country and the safety and health of trans people are threatened on a daily basis, America’s legacy publications and their online offshoots continue to discuss politics like it’s a fun game with zero consequences. After all, their jobs don’t change no matter who’s in office.
Women, juggling jobs and bad childcare options and cancer scares and aging parents and expensive groceries and scarce opportunities to continue their education, know that politics have dire consequences because we live them every day. And those consequences shift dramatically depending on who’s in office.
The level of concern lawmakers show for issues like, say, our nonexistent caregiver support system or the impact of gun policy on family life with regard to domestic violence, is entirely tied to the amount of noise the media makes on those issues. It’s easy to ignore the impact attacking school libraries and children’s health care has when the only perspective male-run corporate media elevates is that of right-wing operatives.
The corporate press is only interested in delivering profit to shareholders, no matter how many jobs they have to cut to make their margins. Male-run VC-funded startups are occupied with critical tasks like asking AI to be racist. Women on cable news shows are treated more like arm candy than expert sources.
At a time when people say they’re losing faith in media at alarming rates, when deliberate campaigns of lies online and off incentivize misinformation on everything from public health to international relations, having news organizations women know will operate with integrity is critical to the function of our democracy.
At DAME magazine, women decide which stories are invested in, pursued, and covered. We decide which issues get raised, and we decide who gets to speak on those topics. We are not beholden to men telling us to chill out, calm down, or not to take things so seriously.
The only way to be considered more than just part of the story is to become the storyteller, and publications like DAME let women do just that.
Before you go, we hope you’ll consider supporting DAME’s journalism.
Today, just tiny number of corporations and billionaire owners are in control the news we watch and read. That influence shapes our culture and our understanding of the world. But at DAME, we serve as a counterbalance by doing things differently. We’re reader funded, which means our only agenda is to serve our readers. No both sides, no false equivalencies, no billionaire interests. Just our mission to publish the information and reporting that help you navigate the most complex issues we face.
But to keep publishing, stay independent and paywall free for all, we urgently need more support. During our Spring Membership drive, we hope you’ll join the community helping to build a more equitable media landscape with a monthly membership of just $5.00 per month or one-time gift in any amount.