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

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