The Pink Canoe Challenges Women's Media
By Charlotte Anderer
Student startup offers satirical critiques
Flipping through an issue of Cosmopolitan, one could assume women are eager to master the art of eye-sex or establish a vigorous anti-aging skin care regimen in their twenties. Some media sources like Teen Vogue are becoming opinion leaders, yet the majority of these websites rely on frivolous sex, weight loss, and relationship articles. Do women ever take this advice seriously?
Tulane Senior Courtney O’Donnell noticed this disconnect a year ago. “After reading an Elite Daily article along the lines of ‘How To Make a Guy Want You,’ I realized how anti-women and antifeminist the content is.” Courtney started to find the humor in articles supposedly geared towards women’s interests. A natural comic, Courtney created a website that would challenge these all-too-common headlines.
Courtney designed a website called The Pink Canoe after brainstorming over fifty headline ideas with her friends. The Pink Canoe is a satirical women’s news site that pokes fun at websites like Cosmopolitan, Glamour, and the Odyssey. Beyond the catchy headlines, the articles are hilarious perspectives that expose the ridiculousness of popular women’s media. Courtney believes these websites have lost sight of what women are interested in reading and that, “the people who are writing for women have no idea what the modern woman is actually like.”
The Pink Canoe reads like Buzzfeed and parodies topics ranging from Life and Health to Style and Beauty. The website currently has twenty-five articles mostly written by Courtney. She posts four original pieces on the site and creates promotional posts for The Pink Canoe Facebook and Instagram.
Three Workouts That Will Make Your Mom and Dad Get Back Together is a primary example of Courtney’s ability to highlight the absurdity inherent to routine Cosmopolitan and Glamour headlines. “Websites claim a workout you can do in five minutes will make your ass huge. The promises aren’t true and give women a false idea about what we’re supposed to do and what we’re supposed to be like.”
Courtney said she understands the reality of the media industry, but wants to push The Pink Canoe readers to see her side of it. “I get that they’re a magazine and they need to get readers, but is that what’s really important to women right now? Like telling women what it’s really like to have rough sex, can’t we talk about politics? When I post those articles that are really silly, it’s so people question how this is really newsworthy.”
Maddie Scott, Tulane student and Pink Canoe contributor, believes comedy can be a powerful tool to challenge perspectives. “When you use satire as a lens to examine an issue, it resonates with people more than just explaining why something is wrong,” Maddie said. Every day Maddie and Courtney text each other comedic bits back and forth to inspire new content.
In many instances, Courtney makes light of relatable situations for women. For example How To Sing Along to Taylor Swift While Still Reminding Everyone That You Hate Her came to her in a moment among friends. On the other hand, Three Clutches that Your White Privilege Fit Perfectly In is a more pointed take on a cultural issue. In any case, Courtney doesn’t think readers should take the content too personally. She notes, “we’re not trying to offend anyone, but in comedy there’s a duty to poke fun at everything.”
The Pink Canoe is filled with content that Millennial readers will appreciate. Courtney said she is always looking for contributors and suggests contacting her here for more information on getting involved.