Jezebel, the Feminist Website that Punctured the Patriarchy, Shuts Down

Jezebel, the sassy feminist website that launched from the rib of Gawker, is shutting down. Citing the “economic headwinds rattling [the] industry,” G/O Media, the parent company of Jezebel, said on Thursday that it would suspend publication of Jezebel after it failed to find a buyer during a tough economic slog for digital publishers.

The decision will impact 23 employees, including the entire Jezebel staff and G/O Media editorial director Merrill Brown, who will exit the company.

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Launched in 2007 by writer Anna Holmes, Jezebel quickly became a must-read for a young generation of third-wave feminists laboring amid a very much intact patriarchy. The New York-centric site offered a bold and caustic critique of traditional women’s magazines, with their male-gaze-centered focus on impossible ideals of beauty.

In an email to the company’s employees on Thursday, Jim Spanfeller, G/O Media’s chief executive officer, said the decision to shutter the site came after discussions with “over two dozen potential buyers” for Jezebel came to naught.

Spanfeller characterized the decision as “excruciating” and “very, very difficult” and effusively praised the Jezebel editorial team.

“They have had many successes over the past year…and continue to do great work in difficult times,” he wrote. “The Jezebel team has worked to meet and exceed their audience’s needs…in an incredibly important time for the core topics of the site. Their urgent, breakthrough coverage of reproductive rights in the post-Roe era, as well as other key issues core to modern women, affirmed the brand’s storied legacy as the website that changed women’s media forever.”

Spanfeller’s letter, while decisive in the immediate term, did leave open the possibility, however slim, of a revival or new incarnation of Jezebel.

“I haven’t given up on Jezebel,” he concluded. “Media is nothing if not resilient. So are its practitioners. I will keep you apprised if circumstances change.”

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