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Jezebel was launched in 2007. The site was parodied on an episode of 30 Rock titled “TGS Hates Women” which aired on February 24th, 2011. On May 22nd, 2014, it was announced that Jessica Coen would be stepping down as the site’s editor in chief. On June 24th, it was announced Emma Carmichael will take over for Coen.
The site covers a variety of issues, often coming at them through a feminist lens. Posts are often short, covering news events and celebrity gossip, though sometimes the site features long form opinion essays, often taken, with permission, from other sites.
Lena Dunham Photos
On January 16th, 2014, Jezebel published a post titled “We’re Offering $10,000 for Untouched Images of Lena Dunham in Vogue.” The article explained that they wanted to see Dunham’s untouched versions of the photos of her Vogue used for their February cover, explaining:
“Lena Dunham is a woman who trumpets body positivity, who’s unabashedly feminist, who has said that her naked body is “a realistic expression of what it’s like to be alive” and “if you are not into me, that’s your problem.” Her body is real. She is real. And for as lovely as the Vogue pictures are, they’re probably not terribly real."
The following day Jezebel published the untouched photos, creating GIFs to flash between the touched up and untouched images.
The same day The Washington Post published an article titled “Jezebel falls into feminist self-parody in Lena Dunham Photoshop ‘controversy’.” The article explains their position on Jezebel’s offer, saying:
“Of course, putting Dunham’s before-and-after pictures on proud display doesn’t really further that cause, either. Anyone clicking into a post about pre-Photoshop Dunham is doing it for one of two reasons, as Jezebel knows well: to stoke righteous indignation over the evils of the fashion/media industry, or to voyeuristically -- even maliciously -- ogle Dunham’s imperfections.”
“Instead of going like, ‘Hey, we kinda f***ed up, these pictures aren’t that retouched Lena, enjoy the Vogue spread that you’ve been excited about since you were eight years old,’ they were like, ‘She’s not retouched, but she could’ve been.’ It was this weird almost political maneuvering that I just had a lot of trouble respecting.”
Sarah Palin Spoof
On July 31st, 2014, Jezebel published a post titled “Palin Interviewee Calls the President ‘Hitler’.” The article alleged Palin had interviewed a man named George Seymour who had called the president “nigger Hitler.” Jezebel cited the National Report as their source. The same day Mediate published a post titled “Jezebel Falls for Fake Sarah Palin ‘N*gger Hitler’ Interview Story,” which pointed out the National Report’s account was fake. Jezebel added an update to the bottom of their article which reads:
“UPDATE: The site that reported on the interview is actually a parody site. Once again, my confirmation bias has led me astray. Consider me fooled, and chastened.
Social Media Presence
As of August 2014, Jezebel is ranked as the 519th most popular site in the United States. Over 60% of the site’s traffic comes from the United States, with over 5% coming from Canada and over 3% coming from the United Kingdom.
The Washington Post – Jezebel falls into feminist self-parody in Lena Dunham Photoshop ‘controversy’