Bustle.com founder and notable mansplainer Bryan Goldberg asks "why not me?" in this week's New Yorker and the article pretty much answers that question with the opening image. The opening page of the 7-page story photo shows Goldberg, who The New Yorker's Lizzie Widdicombe writes "resembles a giant six-year-old," lounging on the floor like Caesar king-of-the-women's-blogs amidst a bevy of young women in sundresses and skinny jeans. He has his Mac laptop perched on one of his employees bare legs.
Goldberg has vowed to create a women's site unlike any other because, according to him, females in their 20s have nothing to read on the Internet. More specifically the site will be "a web site that felt like the Internet equivalent of watching MSNBC while painting my toenails," as one of his editors put it.
For our less visual readers, Goldberg offers further insight into vision for Bustle than a site run by young women and Goldberg, who claims the site has no editor-in-chief, not even him.
No "dude" stuff like history, finance, and markets:
"I am a dude," he said. "I don’t have a lot of overlapping interests with most women my age. I’m really into history. I’m really into markets and finance." (Wall St. Cheat Sheet is one of his favorite blogs.) "I don’t know a damn thing about beauty, but I don’t need to."
Thousands of relevant article on "every topic that young women care about:"
"A thousand articles a day—a thousand relevant articles a day," covering "every topic that young women care about—all their favorite shows, all their favorite celebrities, all their favorite fashion brands, every news story that’s relevant to them."
"I’ve probably consumed more kale in the last three months than I’ve consumed in my entire life," he told me. He berated the site’s web engineers for not ordering enough veggie and turkey burgers: "Four! We have four veggie burgers for a company of twenty women!"
Amanda Bynes, Zumba, and books:
"If you told nine guys to sit down in a waiting room in a dental office, they’ll probably start talking about sports. For women, there’s twenty things it could be. 'I like your earrings. Where did you get them?' Or someone sees a People magazine and talks about Amanda Bynes. It could be—someone mentions Zumba, and 'Oh, I’ve been thinking of doing that.'" Books are a major category on Bustle. "Men, to the best of my knowledge, don’t even read," Goldberg said.
Goldberg justifies his patronizing site as the answer to elitist top-down glossy women's magazines. "He likes to characterize himself as the leader of a youth revolt, rather than as a capitalist overlord," writes Widdicombe. "People are naturally skeptical," he said. But, at one point he enlightens us for the real reason for his creation: lots of untapped ad-revenue "One of the reasons why Bleacher Report is worth hundreds of millions of dollars is not just because it reaches a lot of people but because it reaches an overwhelmingly male audience," he said. Bustle hopes to reach an overwhelmingly female audience and capitalize on that market.
So far, Goldberg hasn't had that much success in that realm. One investor said "it was just not clear to me that . . . Bustle had the right brand & content approach to be broadly appealing." But, there might be a way to change that: "Honestly, nothing would have been more helpful here than for some highly regarded feminist writers to say, 'Bryan’s a good person,'" Goldberg told Widdicombe. So, how about it feminist writers? Help a dude out.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.