« pew internet report on gender differences in internet use | Main | register for Blogher »

January 17, 2006

Chicking Martha

One of my vices is trashy biographies, and the latest one I read was Martha, Inc. about Martha Stewart in which the author -- one of her former neighbors from Westport no less-- was really going out of his way to make her look bad. And it confirmed my suspicion that Martha gets a lot of flak because she is a powerful woman, as she's said elsewhere: her same aggressive business style would be praised in a man. The book doesn't give her any credit at all for her achievements or business acumen, or interview any people that were her allies. And she really did build an amazing media empire, with books, TV shows, products, and of course her magazine -- and created an entire industry: the Lifestyle industry, which has spawned impresarios such as P. Diddy, aka Puff Daddy, aka Sean Combs. The only person who is a Martha fan who was interviewed for the book appears to be Richard Sheingold, the man who took on her television proposal after her own publisher, Time Warner, had turned her down.

Sheingold came to sense something else about the way Martha's colleagues handled her at Time: There was a slight but unmistakable--and ever-present--tone of condescension in their words, as if the members of the Time Inc's boys club wanted her to know that they still regarded her as nothing more than the fashion model she once had been, instead of the business executive she'd become.

In time, Sheingold invented a word for what they were doing to her. He didn't share the word with anybody, but it popped into his head every time he heard them belittling and dismissing her, in that certain way that would make Martha's jaw set and her face go cold. ...'Chick-ing' her. They didn't understand that "chick-ing" her was why Martha was now standing in Richard's office, trying to get her idea for a TV show based on a Time Warner magazine syndicated in TV by one of Time Warner's own competitors. Chick-ing Martha Stewart was a mistake.

Of course later on Time Warner comes to deeply regret their error, which gave me cause for glee, as I've been 'chicked' innumerable times myself, and boy does it make me mad. (cross posted at Caterina.net)

Posted by Caterina Fake at 01:31 AM in People | Permalink