Jezebel Founder Anna Holmes And Modern Women’s Media

The founding editor of the hugely popular online women’s news and culture magazine, Jezebel, shares her scrappy, brawling, feminist view of the world.

Anna Holmes is the founding editor of, a wildly popular online news and culture magazine designed for women, but written without the problematic sheen of traditional women's publications. Anna Holmes' new book is called, "Jezebel: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Lady Things." (Anna Wolf)

Anna Holmes is the founding editor of, a wildly popular online news and culture magazine designed for women, but written without the problematic sheen of traditional women’s publications. Anna Holmes’ new book is called, “Jezebel: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Lady Things.” (Anna Wolf)

Anna Holmes got her media start at Entertainment Weekly, women’s magazines Glamour and Star and fashion mag InStyle.  In 2007, she broke out of that world as founding editor of the online sensation Jezebel.  Glamour airbrushed.  Jezebel kicked tail.  Kicked over the old women’s magazine tropes.  Looked at celebrity and sex, yes, but in a fresh, un-airbrushed way.  And roved much wider into culture and politics and new territory of women unbound.  Men too.  Up next On Point: we talk with Jezebel’s founding editor Anna Holmes about women in the world now.

— Tom Ashbrook


Anna Holmes, founding editor of, the online women’s news and culture magazine. Author of “The Book of Jezebel: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Lady Things” and “Hell Hath No Fury: Women’s Letters From The End of the Affair.” Columnist at the New York Times Book Review.

From Tom’s Reading List

New York Times Book Review: What’s The Most Erotic Book Review You’ve Ever Read? — “It’s about first love, but it’s also about sex: Katherine has a close, functional family, an interest in tennis and a carnal curiosity that eventually finds expression in her relationship with Michael, to whom she loses her virginity. Although not particularly graphic in its depiction of intercourse — readers remember the corny name bestowed on Michael’s reproductive organs better than the sex itself — the book, which has sold more than 3.5 million copies, remains, for better or worse, one of the most memorably erotic novels I’ve ever encountered.”

Mother Jones: How Jezebel Smashes the Patriarchy, Click by Click — ” It was part of my mission to call out women’s magazines for the way images are manipulated. When we held a contest for the most egregious examples, I was sent an image of Faith Hill on the cover of Redbook before it had been retouched, and we showed the before and after. It made national news. Now some women’s mags are very vocal about how they don’t use Photoshop like that anymore. I think that’s an indirect result of the stink that we made for many years.”

NPR: If You’re Looking To Read ‘Lady Things,’ Choose Jezebel Over Jones — “If you’re looking for jolly feminist cultural commentary, giveMad About the Boy a pass and, instead, pick up The Book of Jezebel. This is a lavish encyclopedia composed of contributions from the writers and artists who’ve helped shape the Jezebel website, which was created in 2007 by award-winning writer, Anna Holmes. The Book of Jezebel is packed with gorgeous graphics and photos, as well as witty and unruly entries on everything from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “Little House on the Prairie” books to speculums. Most gloriously, this is an encyclopedia with a voice.”

Read An Excerpt of The Book of Jezebel: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Lady Things” by Anna Holmes

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Dec 1, 2015
Bethany Winder, a nurse who lives in Colorado Springs, Colo., plants a sign in support of Planned Parenthood just south of its clinic as police investigators gather evidence near the scene of Friday's shooting at the clinic Sunday, Nov. 29, 2015, in northwest Colorado Springs. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Women’s health, American politics and gun violence after the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood shooting.

Dec 1, 2015
In this 2010 file photo, Dr. Tom and Ann Earley work a Salvation Army kettle with their dog, Bocce, in an Atlanta, GA-area shopping center. (Flickr / Vicki DeLoach)

On #GivingTuesday, we’ll explore the trends in giving now from crowd sourcing to big charities and beyond.

Nov 30, 2015
Shoppers walks in front of a holiday display Sunday, Nov. 22, 2015, in San Francisco.(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

From Black Friday to Cyber Monday and beyond, we’ll add up the dollars and trends and bargains of the 2015 holiday shopping season.

Nov 30, 2015
United Nations climate chief Christiana Figueres, center left, Minister of the Environment of Peru and COP20 President Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, center right, and French Foreign Affairs Minister and COP 21 President Laurent Fabius, center, pose for photographers during a press visit to the COP21, Paris Climate Conference, site, in Le Bourget, north of Paris, France, Sunday, Nov. 8, 2015. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

World leaders converge in Paris for the big climate talks. We’ll look at what it will take to get a global climate agreement.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Where Did #GivingTuesday Come From, Anyway?
Tuesday, Dec 1, 2015

Today’s #GivingTuesday. But how — and where — did it start?

More »
Fresh Ideas For Your Thanksgiving: Recipes
Wednesday, Nov 25, 2015

Did our Thanksgiving 2016 episode make you hungry? Good news — we’ve got recipes right here.

More »
Karl Rove Still Won’t Get Involved In The 2016 G.O.P. Primary
Tuesday, Nov 24, 2015

Karl Rove may say he’s not endorsing or getting involved in the 2016 G.O.P. presidential primary, but that won’t stop from offering advice on how to beat Republican front runner Donald Trump.

More »