Friday, June 28, 2013 Role Model: Reductress
When we first started reading Reductress, we LOL’d, then we became totally entranced by their satirical over-the-top takedown of fashion, entertainment, and all things ‘women’s interest.’ We caught up with Reductress editors (and comedians) Sarah Pappalardo and Beth Newell to talk about serious journalism, feminist onions, and why integrity is basically stupid.—Chris Rellas
We really like Reductress. What made you start the site?
Sarah: I met Beth one day when we were fighting over the last spot in a highly coveted yoga class. We remained frenemies for several years after that. In spite of our differences, we shared a common point of view that was clearly better than others.
Beth: Sometimes you have a point of view that’s so obviously elevated above the opinions of others, it would be criminal not to share that point of view with people who aren’t at your level yet.
Sarah: We help people get to that level.
Do you like that Reductress is often called the feminist Onion? Isn’t that a little sexist?
Sarah: For the record, Reductress does *not* think that women are better than everybody else. Women are just like you and me.
Beth: I think the question is more about whether this question is sexist.
Talk us through your usual day.
Sarah: Well, first I wake up. By then I’m usually Instagramming my shapewear for the day. The response usually dictates how the rest of my day will go.
Beth: My day is a strict rotation of weight training, napping, skin care, and virtual shopping. I prefer not to use the word “day” though, because that’s so limiting.
What is your beauty routine? Do feminists look different from regular people?
Sarah: That’s a really good question. The primary difference between feminists and non-feminists is foundation. Feminists wear only eyeliner and lipstick because it accentuates their anger points—eyes and mouth. On the flip side, non-feminists LOVE foundation. It doesn’t matter if they have any visible facial features at all. You gauge a woman’s political agenda based on how much foundation they’re buying. If you still aren’t sure, follow them to the hair care aisle.
Beth: Exactly. Feminists only wear foundation ironically. Like as part of a protest where they’re also in a cage or something. Lipstick is more obviously empowering, while the origins of foundation are clearly oppressive. And mascara is for everyone because it’d just be gross not to wear it.
Who is the Reductress woman and how do I get one?
Sarah: First of all, she is NOT for sale, because human trafficking is whack.
Beth: Right. But if you’re looking for her, you’ll probably find her at a secret after-party for some event that you also weren’t invited to and didn’t even hear about in the first place. She’s part of all the underground scenes, which ironically includes the human trafficking scene (when she feels like slumming it).
Sarah: She’s only there for the free vodka sodas.
How is a Reductress similar to a Nasty Gal?
Beth: We share the ‘nasty’ perspective and also the ‘gal’ probably.
Sarah: ..and we are probably all extras in Season 2 of Girls.
Beth: Oh my God, yeah. Can we talk about how the extras got way hotter in Season 2?!
How heavily would you say fashion influences what you cover?
Sarah: Fashion influences everything we do. Literally everything. We’ve had to turn down several interviews with notable female politicians because of their outfits. One time we swapped out Hillary Clinton for an unemployed 22-year-old intern living in Bushwick who was wearing an interesting hat.
Beth: There wouldn’t even be “covers” if it weren’t for fashion so I think you’ve answered your own question.
Do you like fashion or do you think it’s shallow?
Sarah: I really think that is a false dichotomy.
Beth: It all depends on whether you think one of those things is “positive” or “negative.” Personally, I think we’re all on a magnetic spectrum of shallowness.
What would you say to someone who doesn’t deem you a serious journalist?
Sarah: It depends. Does this ‘person’ you speak of write for a fashion blog?
Beth: Does this person deem you to be a serious journalist? What would you say if we said that about you?!
Is it really bad to make up the news? It’s already made up anyway, right?
Sarah: ‘News’ is such an oppressive term. We usually just seek out ‘trends,’ which are inherently made up. That way, we avoid having to have ‘journalistic integrity’ – another term made up by the sad and the poorly dressed.
Beth: If there’s one thing I’ve learned in this business it’s that anything with “integrity” will look like shit on you. If we weren’t meant to “make things up” then everyone would be wearing hemp instead of beautiful synthetic fabrics.
Who made you the person you are? Was it overbearing parents and cocaine? I bet it was overbearing parents and cocaine.
Sarah: Well, my parents gave me the cocaine.
Beth: At boarding school, we considered whoever had the most cocaine to be our “parent.” But I dropped out of boarding school at age 12, so that may have changed. I think they call them their social media consultant or something like that now.
Someone told me once that individuality is like butter but then never explained why individuality is like butter. Would you agree with that statement?
Sarah: Loaded question. As an individual, I’d say my individuality is more like olive oil. So I think everyone’s individuality can be its own kind of fat.
Beth: “If individuality is a saturated fat, then I don’t want to be an individual.” I’m quoting Madonna.
What is so wrong with the way women are portrayed in the media?
Sarah: If women stopped eating my hummus from the office fridge, maybe the other women in the media wouldn’t portray them so poorly. Ahem.
Beth: If some women understood that people were trying to save them from the dangers of caloric foods that feign healthiness, then I guess they wouldn’t need to perpetuate media witch hunts.
Sarah: I need the calories, Beth.
Beth: Sure you do.
Chris Rellas is Nasty Gal’s Copywriting Intern. He wants to turn into Rick Owens by the time he is 30, but will settle for a life that resembles Vivienne Westwood’s, Ann Demeulemeester’s, or one of Andrew Mukamal’s leather boots. You can read his blog at publicrevival.com, or venture into his uncensored thoughts @publicrevival