Why Are We Losing Men’s Voices on The Huffington Post? Why It’s A Big Issue.
I tried asking questions first. For a month. And got no reply from any of the Blog Team or directly from Arianna. Dear Huffington Post, WTF Is Going On with You? So, I guess I need to dig a bit deeper to see if I can understand what’s going on with the conversation about Parenting, Relationships, and Divorce at the Huffington Post.
I am not claiming that men’s voices have been completely shut out of the Family & Relationships sections of The Huffington Post. But I do see that the Divorce, Parenting, and Dating posts are 95% by women for women. Something bigger is going on here. Something that creates a complete imbalance in the viewpoints discussed, something that misses the fact that in traditional parenting one woman AND one man are required.
I was a Huffpost blogger with great success in the Parenting, Dating, and Divorce sections. I’m not saying I made the Front Page, but I often made the front page of these sections. And my posts are still live on The Huffington Post, gathering traffic for them, and a few click-throughs for me. And I’m very interested in keeping men in the conversation about these very important topics. I’m a contributing editor to The Good Men Project, who regularly shares content with The Huffington Post. Even last week, one of our editors, and good friend, Mark Greene was interviewed by Huffington Post about his transformative ideas about divorce and parenting. BRAVO!
But why are there no men editors in the entire staff of Family & Relationships? If you look at The Good Men project, a site that shouts, "The Conversation That No One Else is Having," you’ll see a pretty even balance between men and women. It’s important, even in a powerful site about men that women and women’s voices are represented fairly. So why is the Huffington Post so down on men? Or is it just me?
Here’s the staff section from Family & Relationships section of The Huffington Post.
And while it’s not a bad thing to have mostly women, and mostly women in their twenties and thirties running such a critical portion of The Huffington Post, can you see how their perspectives might be a bit skewed? And when the Senior Editor on Divorce is also the Senior Editor on Weddings… And is, just getting married… You can imagine that "divorce" might not be one of her points of interests. And I’m guessing not part of her history, either.
I’m not sure how I would compartmentalize my enthusiasm for this major beginning in my young life, while espousing the views and pains of so many older women, and yes, men. And it’s sorry what’s happened to the sections over all. The conversation is not so much a conversation any more, it’s a blast of celebrity reporting (marriages and divorces) alongside some well-known authorities on dating and divorce. And mostly… eh hem… women.
And I have to respect the business model here. The Huffington Post is in this business to make money. And if their demographic is 90% young upwardly-mobile women, well, then I guess they’ve nailed it. But I’m pretty sure the intension that Erma Bombeck had when she convinced Arianna to start the divorce section was something more inclusive. After all, divorce usually involves two people, and 50% of those people happen to be men.
The story that Arianna tells is that she was approached about adding a Divorce section and she asked Erma why. Erma responded, "Marriages come and go, but divorce is forever." It’s on the Divorce Masthead, though no longer attributed to her. The light went on for Arianna and the section was born and has thrived ever since.
I met Arianna at a trade show in 2013 where she spoke about her newest passion, The Third Metric. In that meeting of high-level communicators, she gave out her email address asking the audience to send her their ideas. And true to form, she responded to my email within a few hours of that trade show. I imagined her zooming to the airport in her limo and cleaning out her inbox with a fury and efficiency.
At that moment, she caught my voice in the post that I sent her. Here’s her emailed response to me that same day. It was a HUGE win for me.
And 8-months later I really hit the post sums up the bulk of my writing on Divorce.
What you see there is a picture of a dad’s hand and the hand of my two young children. I have pledged to say 100% positive about my divorce, and in all of my dealings with my co-parent and ex-wife. That’s my message. There are Good Men who get divorced. There are good father’s who try to stay connected as often as they are allowed, even when the system is stacked against them. I write The Whole Parent as a voice for men who are doing parenting right, before, during, and after divorce.
I’m not sure I’ll ever get new posts up on The Huffington Post. And I’m not sure that’s important to me any more. But getting men’s real and honest stories in the mix of the conversation about Parenting, Dating, and Divorce is critical for all of us. Sure, professionals who write about the subject and offer platitudes and brief sounds bites of men’s stories, to illustrate their points, are fine, but they are professionals, and therapists, and lawyers. Even if they’ve been through a divorce of their own, they are now making it their business to tell us what to do.
I don’t know what to do. I only know that I’ve chosen to live my life and to survive my divorce by finding the good in everything that comes my way. Have I lost a lot in the process, yes. But I have also gained a new voice, a resonant voice that comes from deep within me, and sings out MY STORY, and ultimately, MY POSITIVE STORY OF DIVORCE.
I think men need to be in the conversation, and I would like Arianna Huffington to address this lopsided conversation with the same vision she had when she started the section with her dear friend. Women and men get divorced, our children are along for the ride, both partners have a huge impact on our kids lives and future relationships will be managed. If only a small percentage of the posts are by men, and 90% of those men are relationship professionals (lawyers, coaches, and therapists) rather than fathers, then the conversation on the Huffington Post is written by women and to women. That is not a not a holistic or healthy conversation at all.
This conversation started on my end, with this post: Dear Huffington Post, WTF Is Going On with You?
Update 9-2-15: I wrote a direct letter to Arianna last night, using her initial YES email and responding to that. I don’t expect a response from her, but that IS how I was added to the blogger team last time, so maybe she does read her email herself. And if so, maybe she will see the value in my question.
- Mark Greene’s Touching Story About The Good Men Project – The Huffington Post
- The Positive Steps this Single Dad Used to Survive His Divorce – Brittany Wong, The Huffington Post
- John McElhenney on The Huffington Post – my writer’s archive
- The 3 Immutable Laws of Co-Parenting – The Whole Parent
- The Good Men Project
- The Huffington Post – Divorce
- The Huffington Post – Parents
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