Introducing Reductress — It's Like The Onion For Women



Reductress-2Photo: Courtesy of Reductress
LadyBits is an ultra-cool collective of tech journalists who look at the world with smart, lady lenses. And since we're always in the market for the best stuff out there, we'll feature its know-how on the regular. Below, check out this LadyBits story, prepared especially for Refinery29.

Have you been yearning for a new shade of lipstick to empower your lips and fight off bullies? Have you hoped against hope that Oscar Mayer might at last release a bologna…just for her?

No?

Well, that’s okay. Reductress is here, like it or not. Launched on April 29, and already catching the attention of mainstream beauty brands, this is news bent on calling out the absurdity of empowerment through lip gloss and the less-than-applicable life advice of supermodels and actresses. This is satire from a distinctly female perspective.

Founders Sarah Pappalardo and Beth Newell are veterans of the New York comedy scene, but found that their punch lines often fell flat. It took a bit for them to realize the common denominator: Guys just didn’t have the context to find the same jokes funny.

The articles on Reductress, written by a team of 20 under the editorial ship of Newell and Pappalardo, run close enough to real news that many readers have been duped as to their reality. While most of the comments are filled with appreciative hilarity, their 6-year-old fashion blogger — written by a team of 20-somethings — has been seriously asked to consider being interviewed for a French style magazine.

“Obviously, we’re in it for the money,” replied Pappalardo when interviewed on the future plans for Reductress. Certainly an admirable goal, but what does success really look like? “Success looks like a green juice — it’s bright, colorful, picks you up in the morning, and is an excuse not to eat solid food. Does that answer your question?” Completely.

By poking fun at the media, Pappalardo and Newell make the media visible. The line between product and identity has been blurred more and more, tying self-realization to purchasing power. After all, what are all those advice articles really saying? “The Most Flattering Swimsuits for Your Crippling Self-Loathing” sets the record straight, tongue firmly pressed into cheek.

When The New York Times laudes a woman's beef stroganoff before her contributions to rocket science and a senator's latest pantsuit gets more airtime than her politics, the line between reality and the absurd is already blurred. Most of us are just so used to it, we don’t hear it any more. Some people — not just men — never notice it at all.

“This is a platform to comment on the absurdity of entertainment media, of blogger culture, and the media industry itself,” said Pappalardo. Scoffing at the sex tip reruns in Cosmo — the same ones, over and over, month after month, for 20 years — the founders noted there’s also a laziness to what women are being fed by the media. It’s obvious to the Reductress crew that there’s a demand for answers, for guidance. Why not point out the absurdity of our expert guides?

No, this isn’t a strictly female issue. However, as Pappalardo says, “It came down to the fact that women did not have one place to address the way media speaks to them,” said Pappalardo. “There just wasn’t a platform for it, and we knew that women had a lot of funny things to say.”

So far, Reductress has been run off spine and grit alone, producing articles certain to have you snorting your cosmo across the table. In case you’re more of a looker than a reader, it's adding a video series, kicking off with Julie Klausner and followed up by Janeane Garofalo.

With more content coming in, they’re looking at a full-site redesign. But they’re not interested in typical online advertising to fund their production, opting to crowdfund through Kickstarter instead. “Putting up crummy banner ads would really undermine what we’re doing,” Pappalardo said. That, and every company will have to think twice when they’re getting placement next to “Eating Raw and Other Ways to Pee Out of Your Butt.”

Obviously, you should try before you buy, but if you want more tips on how to make your name look less fat or advice on what not to do when you’re single — hint: go outside? uhhh, nope — check out their Kickstarter and land yourself a tit-flattering T-shirt, or even a poster of all eight ways to destroy a man’s penis.

Authored by Alexis Finch.