Today we’re introducing a brand-new section: Human Interest, devoted to coverage of family, relationships, work, and the rest of modern life. Also, we’re saying goodbye to Slate’s women’s section, DoubleX.
When DoubleX launched in 2009, with the XX Factor blog as its backbone, women’s websites were still a rarity. Founded by Emily Bazelon, Meghan O’Rourke, and Hanna Rosin, DoubleX was a place where funny, brainy women at various stages of adulthood regarded the news with level heads and raised eyebrows. It was one of the few arenas where different kinds of female authority—maternal, academic, millennial—met to discuss culture and politics in a frank and personal way.
Nine years later, the online world has evolved, and so has Slate. Women’s interest sites, some of them essential, have bloomed in every corner of the internet. But for Slate, it’s come to feel increasingly confounding that our coverage of gender equality and sexual violence, some of the most urgent topics in America today, gets cordoned off in a corner of the site branded “women’s issues.” The name DoubleX is also outdated, excluding trans people even as we write about the trans experience. In the words of our staff writer Christina Cauterucci, who covers gender and sexuality: “We come from the perspective that womanhood is not defined by a set of chromosomes, so it felt strange to argue against the idea of a biological gender binary under a logo that enforced it.”
Now, we’re planning to splash our coverage of these issues—whether we’re analyzing new abortion legislation or the weird gender politics of Taylor Swift’s latest chart-topper—all over the site instead of fencing it off in a single section. (The DoubleX Gabfest isn’t going anywhere; our hope is that this is a place where the intergenerational, conversational spirit that animated the DoubleX section can live on.)
Meanwhile, the new Human Interest section will be a gender-neutral home for colorful, candid insights and essays about how we live now. We’ll go deep on parenting culture, examining, say, the demented world of youth sports or the latest ridiculous toy fad. We’ll explore the anthropology of our workplaces. We’ll hold up a slightly cockeyed mirror to our marriages, friendships, and dating lives.
Dear Prudence, Slate’s long-running advice column now penned by Mallory Ortberg, will also be part of Human Interest. And we’re kicking off a new parenting advice column called Care and Feeding, written by Carvell Wallace and Nicole Cliffe. Wallace is co-host of our parenting podcast, Mom and Dad Are Fighting, as well as a podcast about race in America called Closer Than They Appear. Cliffe was, with Ortberg, one of the founders of the Toast, the beloved site that closed its doors in 2016. We’re delighted to reunite these great writers under one banner and generally that we’ve ingested as much of the Toast as we could.
We’re rolling out several new recurring features, too. In Our One Fight, couples hash out their core recurring argument—the one that plays out again and again in different disguises over the course of every relationship. In My Parents’ Work-Life Balance, we interview kids about how well they think their parents juggle life and work. In Rabbit Holes, people pay tribute to their most creative modes of procrastination. In Interview With an Old Person, well, that one’s exactly what it sounds like. We’re so excited to thread the best parts of DoubleX throughout the rest of Slate and to welcome you to Human Interest.
Listen to—or read—a roundtable with the founders of DoubleX, moderated by Slate editor in chief Julia Turner, here.