Anna Holmes on ‘The Book of Jezebel’ and the evolution of women’s interest blogs

anna holmes elena kagan
Anna Holmes bumped into Elena Kagan at an event for “The Book of Jezebel.”
Credit: Instagram / irincarmon

Anna Holmes founded Jezebel in 2007, and what originally started as a small women’s only offshoot of Gawker has since exploded and become the Internet’s premier women’s interest blog.

Now, the blog has led to “The Book of Jezebel,” an encyclopedia of “everything important to the modern woman.” The book includes entries ranging from famous suffragettes to “The Fake Reformed Ex.” Metro spoke with Holmes about the new book and the impact of Jezebel on women everywhere.

Metro: I heard you bumped into Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan at one of your book signings. What happened?

Holmes: She was at the bookstore we went to in D.C., and she walked in and I was sitting outside. And I thought, ‘Oh maybe she’s coming to our event,’ but she wasn’t. She lives in the neighborhood and the book manager let me know she comes in a lot. We washed the sweat off our brows a bit and approached her and showed her the book because she’s in it as an entry. She looked interested but she said she didn’t like the photo of her that we used.

Why was this an important book to write?

I wouldn’t phrase it that way. I thought it was a fun book to oversee and hopefully people will find it important in some ways, but I don’t know that I think it was an important book. It was more something that would be an interesting book.

jezebel anna holmes
“The Book of Jezebel” touts itself as “an encyclopedia of everything important to the modern woman.”
Credit: Hachette Book Group

How is the book similar to the blog, and how is it different?

It has the same sensibility because the writers are writers who wrote for the site or work for the site right now. It’s similar in tone and has a similar view of the world. It differs in that it’s not a blog. On a blog, posts go away because new posts come and replace them. A blog moves very fast but a book is very still in time.

Why do you think Jezebel became so successful?

I think because nothing like it existed before and I think it had a very specific point of view. And it was unapologetic about that. I think it attracted like-minded readers who didn’t want their content dumbed down or tiptoed around certain topics.

What do you think is the impact of Jezebel on other women’s interest blogs?

It’s hard for me to say because I don’t really know. I feel like there are other women’s interest blogs that are similar in sensibility but it’s not anything I can prove. I do think the site helps underscore that there are lots of women who want to read smart content on the Internet and not just be told what to buy or to shop a lot, and you see a lot more sites that treat women as diverse individuals than you did before.

Which blogs do you read?

I don’t really read the Internet the same way I used to, so if someone tweets an interesting story I’ll click through to it, but it’s not like I’m typing in the web addresses of blogs the way I used to. I use Twitter as my curator of information. I don’t visit any of them regularly but if someone tweets something about them – someone tweeted a link to XX on Slate the other day – I’ll read things on the Hairpin, Jezebel itself, the Huffing Post’s women’s blog. It depends a lot on the topics right now than the fact that it’s coming from a women’s blog.

What issues do you think Jezebel has brought to light?

Body images. Race. Politics. Feminism. I’d say those are the big ones.

How has Jezebel changed over the years?

It’s gotten bigger and it’s gotten a broader audience. We had a smaller audience before and it felt like a more intimate website because we had a smaller readership, and as it got bigger and bigger we had to broaden the subject matter and be more professional and not so personal. I think that it’s matured from a kind of troublemaking adolescent to a semi-troublemaking young woman.

Urban Outfitters decided not to sell “The Book of Jezebel” because they felt the blog had burned them before. How do you feel about that?

I guess I’m not surprised. If they’re hurt, then they’re feeling they’re hurt. If people are feeling hurt then they don’t want to be generous, do they? I wasn’t surprised but I was disappointed. I think it’s the kind of book their clientele would be interested in. I think it’s more their loss than our loss.

What are your favorite entries in the book?

I love them all. I don’t want to pick favorites. Some I think I like because they’re funny and some I like because they’re informative. But I’m not actually giving specific entries as an answer.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Gunther from 'Friends' talks Central Perk

We spoke with Gunther (James Michael Tyler) at the preview for new pop-up Central Perk, based on the cafe in "Friends."

Local

Central Perk opens in SoHo

Central Perk, of "Friends" fame, is giving out free coffee in SoHo through Oct. 18.

National

Beer sponsor Anheuser-Busch reproaches NFL over domestic abuse

Anheuser-Busch chastised the NFL for its handling of domestic violence cases, making it the first major advertiser to put pressure on the league.

Local

Sen. Krueger dishes on prospect of legal marijuana…

New Yorkers may see the legalization of recreational marijuana use as early as 2015 if State Senator Liz Krueger (D) gets her way. The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act will…

Music

FREEMAN makes Freeman a free man from Ween

For nearly 30 years, Aaron Freeman was known endearingly to his listeners as Gene Ween. But with "FREEMAN," he makes it clear that he's gone somewhere else.

Television

'Outlander' recap: Season 1, Episode 6: 'The Garrison…

Whipping, punching, kicking and a marriage contract. "Outlander" is not for the faint of heart this week with "The Garrison Commander."

The Word

The Word: Hey girl, it's a girl for…

It's a girl for Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes, who reportedly welcomed a daughter last Friday, according to Us Weekly. The super-private couple managed to…

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, Sept. 16: 'New Girl,'…

Check out the season premiere of "New Girl," as Jess competes with Jessica Biel for a guy's attentions.

MLB

5 top contenders for NL Rookie of the…

The outing rekindled award talk for deGrom, who appears to hold the top spot for NL Rookie of the Year honors. Metro breaks down a few other contenders.

College

College football Top 25 poll (AP rankings)

College football Top 25 poll (AP rankings)

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Broncos No. 1, Seahawks slip,…

NFL Power Rankings: Broncos No. 1, Seahawks slip, Eagles, Bills, Patriots climb. The Cardinals, Bills, Chargers and Packers are also featured in the top 10.

NFL

Tom Coughlin says Giants 'beat themselves' against Cardinals

Head coach Tom Coughlin, who had a day to cool off and reflect, still sounded like he had a gnawing feeling in his gut.

Parenting

Win tickets to CirKiz's VIP Club event for…

Enter to win a family pack of tickets to CirKiz's launch event on September 21 at VIP Club.

Wellbeing

Suicide study finds surprising link to sunshine

Scientists have found a link between sunlight and suicide rates — but not in the way you’d expect. As summer winds down, concern turns to…

Wellbeing

NYC's doctor-patient ratio is highest of any US…

Seeing a primary care physician is getting more difficult across the country, but new data shows just how bad the problem is — particularly in…

Parenting

Tech execs tend to limit their kids' screen…

You probably got your iPad before Bill Gates's kids did.