A Farewell to Racked

On Saturday, the staff of Racked announced the website would be ending, and that they would be moving to a new section by Vox called The Goods. This weekend was already not getting off to a great start; I have spent the last couple of days cursing my college student immune system for allowing me to develop a cold, and listlessly staring at my roommate’s stick-on wall decoration that says “LIVE every MOMENT.”

Every time a website that hosts good, funny, thoughtful, and important writing shuts down, it cuts into my heart a little bit, and this news about Racked was the same. At least the concept of the site won’t fully be going away, but as writers on my Twitter feed started reflecting on the importance of such an outlet, I also became nostalgic. The simple truth is that Racked is everything a women’s magazine should be.

Women’s magazines, chick lit, woman writers, and all writing about fashion and beauty especially are frequently dismissed as vapid and unnecessary. I have been guilty of this, especially in my young teens during my not-like-other-girls phase. I have even disregarded this very publication when people ask me where my writing is published, waving my hand and saying “HerCampus… it’s kind of a place to write fluff pieces,” or something similarly dismissive. But fluff pieces are great! We need fluff pieces.

The current women’s magazine Bustle, founded by the morally questionable Bryan Goldberg, is defined by Goldberg’s thought that “Isn’t it time for a women’s publication that puts world news and politics alongside beauty tips?” How revolutionary! Thank god a man finally figured out that women can care about lipstick and the midterm elections.

Racked never assumed women were dumb. In fact, it assumed women were smart, cared deeply about issues such as gender expression, prison, living wage, and plus-size fashion, and not easily tricked by the myth of feminist brands. They also did a data-driven rundown of exactly how much useless free stuff women’s publications are given, which I… definitely have no experience with. None at all. [Kicks over several bottles of dry shampoo]

In addition to social issues, Racked explored the very human side of how fashion and beauty affects every detail of our lives, in sometimes unfortunate ways, like what do you wear to your brother's funeral, or the experience of putting on makeup to hide the physical effects of a heroin addiction.

Racked was a fantastic place to read and write about the experience of being a human, especially a woman, in a consumerist world. I regret that I never got a chance to work with any of their incredible editors, and I will certainly miss the website, but I look forward to what The Goods has in store.

And remember, stop doing things to your vagina for journalism.