Who The Hell Are You? What The 2012 Reader Survey Told Us About Y’all

Back in June, when the sun was high in the sky and birds frolicked in meadows and young maidens reveled in the beauty of their fleeting existences on this lush green earth, we conducted a riveting Audience Survey in which you — yes, you! — let us know how you feel about us. For example, 63% of you find us “sexy.” I hope the remaining 37% of you at least think we have a good personality.

We garnered over 3,000 responses this year and now we know you better than we know ourselves. Or at least we know you better than we used to.

I’d like to thank Intern Geneva for the incredible infographics included in this incredible post.

 

The Basics

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Sexual Orientation

Several months back, we posted a titilating listling which featured many of the ways in which y’all described your sexual orientation via the “other” write-in box, highlights including: “fuck labels in the ear with a banana,” “i just really like butts,” “bossy bottom boned by butch,” “funsexual — i only date fun people,” “Emma Watson,” “one night stands with a side of straight-up trust issues” and “pussy 4 dinner.” Many elected more traditional responses, however, as indicated:

Of the 55 survey-takers who identify as “straight”…

93% have queer friends of some kind

39 identify as “female”

12 identify as “male.”

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Whereas…

78% of readers between 45-54 identify as a “lesbian”

Only 61% of 18-24-year-olds do

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And although…

53.4% of under-18s identify as “queer”

only 27% of 35-44-year-olds and 11% of 45+ readers do.

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Gender Identity

Speaking of gender identity — much to absolutely nobody’s surprise, only 1% of you identify as “male.” That being said, of the 38 human beings who selected “male,” 14 also selected “trans man,” which is predictable, and four also selected “female,” which is both special and less predictable.

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Age

70% of our readers are over 21, and we’ve got equal numbers of readers over 35 and under 18. The numbers below strike fear in the 31-year-old hearts of your editors who sincerely hope you plan on sticking around well into your 40s and 50s, because we sure do! But once again we found most Autostraddlers concentrated in the 18-35 range:

Coincidentally (including all our new interns!):

These numbers are pretty much exactly what they were last time, and like last time I was surprised that we didn’t have more readers over 35. Also like last time, equal numbers of survey-takers requested “more content for younger people” and “more content for older people.”

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Working/Learning

Consistent with the rest of this fine country, we seem to be rocking an 8% unemployment rate around here. Fun fact: only 45% of 18-24 year-olds are presently full time students.

100% of our readers over 25 have graduated high school, which is crazy, good job you guys! (It’s 87% nationally.) Furthermore, 97% of our 25+ readers have completed at least a little bit of post-secondary education, which again is really weird. (In America, about 56% of humans over 25 have completed at least some college.)

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Where Are You From?

This was a write-in topic on the Reader Survey and therefore impossible for my little brain to tackle, but I’ve pulled data from Google Analytics to show you that we know where you live. Obviously most of our readers are in the U.S., but also, HELLO SINGAPORE!

Let’s get specific: which cities have the largest number of Autostraddle readers?

 

Deep Cuts

How Gay Is Your Life?

 95% of you are out to somebody, so that’s good! 65% are out to your close friends. When age is parsed out as a factor, under-18s are more likely to be out to their close friends (71%) but less likely to be out to their families (45%) than the group overall. 43% of survey-takers over the age of 35 were out to everybody, compared to 25% of the overall group and 11% of under-18s.

How many other gays do you have in your lives? 14% of you say most of your queer friends are online, but 62% of you have at least some queer friends in real life.

Also, most of you are single and ready to mingle and 37% of you have used or currently participate in online dating. Only 3% of y’all are married or in a civil union or domestically partnered, which’s surprising because seriously every single person in my universe has gotten engaged or married in the last two years. Maybe when you’re married you get really busy picking out babies and can’t fill out a survey.

 

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What the Hell Do You Do With Your Time?

On a scale of one to five thousand, you are busy little beavers. Also, when you’re not cooking or exercising, 48% of you are hoping or planning to attend a future A-Camp and only 7% of you actually have! Furthermore, you’re very community-minded and probably are planting an urban garden this afternoon. No but seriously, 20% of you walk/run for a cause! I just walk/glide while reading magazines, I don’t know what to say for myself.

Drinking is a thing many of you enjoy doing. Not all of you, but many of you.

And when you drink, you drink beer! Hopefully this will inspire a beer company to give us lots of money. You should drink more whiskey though, just saying.

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Now Back To Us

How Do You Use Autostraddle?

Two-thirds of human beings who read things on the internet will never comment on them, but only 48.6% of you haven’t ever commented here, which makes you way more chatty than the average blog-reader. I think this is because y’all just have a lot of feelings. Also noteworthy — amongst daily commenters, 26% of you have been reading Autostraddle for a few months or less and 44% say Autostraddle is your first stop every day.

Obviously Autostraddle isn’t the only website on the internet, but luckily we have more than one website on the internet — we’ve got a tumblr, a facebook, a twitter, and lots of formsprings! (for a complete link list to all our formsprings, check out our tumblr.) But seriously, you need to friend us on facebook, it makes us feel better about ourselves.

Other sites y’all like to read include Jezebel, AfterEllen, Gawker, The New York Times, Feministing, Bitch and everyoneisgay.

Statistics on internet usage always strike me as somewhat delusional, as it seems highly unlikely that most Americans really only spend two hours a day online. Don’t y’all have email at work or watch porn or anything? In any event, it will not surprise you to learn that Autostraddlers spend way more time online than the average bear:

But how did you find us, anyhow?

35% of you got here via a link from another website or blog

16% took a friend’s recommendations

12% via search engine

and 8% via Riese’s blog/recaps

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Common Pathways to Autostraddle Cited In The Write-In Section:

attending Smith College

googling “how to have lesbian sex”

Effing Dykes

Hannah Hart

The Gay Pimp Podcast

Tumblr

Your Ex-Girlfriend

A link to that Taylor Swift post

When it comes to content, y’all are all over the map. We asked you to indicate how often you read/watched different types of Autostraddle content, allowing survey-takers to indicate what they Always, Sometimes, Usually or Never read. Overall, the most popular features are definitely NSFW Sunday and Lists/Listlings, and almost everybody at least sometimes checks out our Interviews, Lists, Galleries and You Need Helps.

But what type of content has the highest number of readers who say they “always” read that particular type of content? Ta-da:

The topics most of you wanted to read even more of are Sex + Relationships, International News and Gender/Trans* Issues.

In conclusion: as of this survey, only 6.5% of you had been to an Autostraddle meet-up, 10.1% had made offline friends through Autostraddle and 5% had traveled to meet people you knew from Autostraddle. But times have changed, we’ve had another International Meet-Up Week and probably a lot of you have picked up new blazers, and blazers change lives!

 

Profile photo of Riese

Riese is the 33-year-old CEO, CFO and Editor-in-Chief of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York City, and now lives in The Bay Area. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are!

Riese has written 1762 articles for us.

124 Comments

      • Thumb up 3

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        I think it’s the type of education. We’ve all gone off and gotten ourselves learned real good when all we’re entitled to know is child rearing, man pleasing, home making and … fucking patriarchy!

        • Thumb up 19

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          i actually don’t think that’s what the original comment was implying, though what do i know about boop’s actual thought process, so take this with a grain of salt BUT — i think the implication was more that when you go to university you have the privilege of learning certain things in a classroom that you may not (or you may!) have experienced in your actual day to day life, and it’s important to remember that educated in a college classroom doesn’t mean “smarter” or “better” than someone who has not had the privilege of obtaining that knowledge. does that make sense? i’m not saying i agree/disagree with boop — i actually am not sure what i think, and am not even sure if i’m on the right track — but the divide between college-educated and not-college-educated in the queer community can be stark and is often filled with tension, so i just think it’s a valid thing we should all be aware of, and wasn’t necessarily a jab at women going and getting educated.

          but maybe i’m wrong and boop is a jerk who believes all we’re entitled to know is child rearing, man pleasing, home making, and fucking patriarchy, in which case FUCK THAT, obviously.

    • Thumb up 20

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      no, i don’t think it’s a good thing, i wish we had a more diverse readership w/r/t education, so i didn’t really know what to say about it besides that it’s “weird” and “crazy.” i mean i think our team is more diverse in that respect than our readers, which again, i found weird. i even thought my group of friends was more diverse in that respect than our readers, but then I realized that might not be true, since “some college/post-secondary education” includes everybody who got other certifications or associate degrees or took one class at the community college before deciding it wasn’t their bag. That last one I think applies to a lot of people.

      as sullivan murphy pointed out, my “good job, guys!” was just a “good job graduating high school, readers!” to everybody who had done so, it absolutely was not “I’m pleased that this website attracts educated folks exclusively!”

      ETA: also! i just said that 97% of readers over 25 had attended some post-secondary education, i’m sure that there are lots of younger readers who don’t intend to.

    • Thumb up 12

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      Hi all!
      Apologies for not being clearer and putting more thought into my comment.

      Firstly, I did realise that Riese didn’t mean it in the sense of “I’m pleased this website exclusively attracts educated folks.” That isn’t clear from what I wrote, definitely, I acknowledge that wholeheartedly.

      Secondly, yes, what was worrying me was not that women are getting an education (!) but that the range of readers is relatively limited, especially within a subject topic like sexuality that (I think) tries to be aware of social differences, privilege, etc.

      Thanks! And sorry again for not being as clear or thoughtfully written as I should have been.

    • Thumb up 2

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      Totally! And the place where I think this deficit is most obvious is in the article comments. If AS had a less educated readership, we might be seeing replies more along the lines of “Ur gay!!!”, “OMFG so fucking lame dude”, “all these fags who complain on this video i couldn’t give two shits about”, or “Omg wat da fuk dumb bitch! If women lke tat cnt heck ter drink DNT fukin DRINK!!! oh n respect 2 da guyz 4 not hittin her juz trow her out!! Wat did she fink she can knock a guy out l mean ther mre stonger then us women silly slut…lol……” AS is really missing out!

    • Thumb up 1

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      I KNOW RIGHT? I don’t remember if I listed every possible country I am from in there (if I did Malaysia would be on there) but how many other Malaysians read this site enough to be able to make the Top 20? MAHU KENAL.

      • Thumb up 0

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        It does say that the country stats are from Google Analytics, not write-in responses, so I’m not among those boosting Singapore’s stats since that’s not where my physical/IP address is now. Which gives me hope! But only a little, because where are you guys for real?!

        I did suspect for a moment that it was just spindrift ^ refreshing Autostraddle a lot when she’s in Malaysia.

        • Thumb up 0

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          yes, it’s all google analytics — because the location thing on the survey was a write-in, the prospect of going through 3,000 answers searching for real numbers about geography was too daunting. so i just looked at the countries with the most visitors from that country this year.

    • Thumb up 4

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      Sidenote: it occurs to me that if it were done as readers per capita, it is highly likely that Singapore (popn. 5.3 million) would near the top of the list, possibly even *at* the top.

      My future is a little brighter for it.

    • Thumb up 5

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      i can’t really figure out how many people, exactly, read AS from each state, we just know how many visits we get from each state. When number of views from each of the 50 states are ranked by google analytics, it appears that Kentucky comes in 27th!

      the top 10 are california, new york, massachusetts, texas, illinois, pennsylvania, florida, washington, ohio and michigan. what’s really weird about that is that i have lived in five of those states and have so much family in ohio and have spent so much time there throughout my life that it almost counts which means 6 of the top 10 states reading autostraddle are places i once lived. COINCIDENCE???!!

  1. Thumb up 2

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    The graphics are gorgeous! Great job whoever designed them!!

    What concerns me is the alcohol thing. I get the impression you included the alcohol question on the survey because you wanted to get some data for advertising purposes? Don’t you think that alcohol companies advertise enough to the lgbtq audience? There’s no wonder that alcoholism is a problem in our community. I’d be really turned off from this website if ads of this kind were displayed.

  2. Thumb up 17

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    Holler London, HOLLER.

    The one thing that had always struck me a little odd is that there isn’t a writer from the UK on the staff. I’d love to see that, and more international content. But basically GOOD JOB, PEOPLE, WE’RE ALL HOT AND SEXY.

  3. Thumb up 1

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    i love these infographics for making me feel better about the fact that i spend 5-10 hours online each day and rarely drink. i remember that the whiskey open thread was quite popular and wasn’t there another one about flavored beers?

    find it odd that i live in a city that is in the top ten places where autostraddle readers are located and yet our facebook group is uh…pretty dead. maybe the people in the group had a fantastic meet-up in my absence and are already fantastic friends that don’t need to use facebook groups because they hang out a lot irl. also surprised by how many of y’all cook.

    also there is something endearing about the misspelling of banana in that listicle idk.

    #infographicfeelings

  4. Thumb up 2

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    I have a deep love for statistics, this made me way too happy.

    Also on the making me happy front, I have been to a meet up, made offline friends AND have just booked a trip to go see an AS friend who travelled here a couple of years ago. I can confirm that AS’ers are as intelligent, hilarious and full of beer in real life. Those numbers should really go up folks, get on it.

  5. Thumb up 3

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    Re the whole Facebook followers thing, I follow AS on Tumblr and Facebook but think Tumblr is better because there s far more added value content – formspring answers, images, links to other blogs, and the AS Facebook page just pushes articles into my feed which I don’t always need because I visit the site anyway. If you found a way of making the Facebook page a more unique contribution to the whole AS offer then you might gain more likes?

    • Thumb up 0

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      well, facebook has decided to fuck everybody by ensuring that our links won’t actually show up in your feed unless we pay facebook to do that, so don’t worry about that! having more facebook likes basically makes us look better and feel better, i guess i hadn’t thought much about its practical applications. i like pages on facebook just so they will have more likes and then i just block everybody from showing up in my feed.

  6. Thumb up 2

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    The graphics are so amazing! I was just so startled by their beauty and I sometimes had to stop to stare for a bit, even after I finished reading it.

    …but I was disappointed that there was no state-by-state map.

    However, I did think it was interesting that the percent of us who haven’t graduated high school is an entire percent lower than those that are under 18.

    • Thumb up 1

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      The age group is under 18, not 18 and under, so I think that actually makes sense. Anyone whose birthday is before May would be 18 by graduation.

      However, I think it’s important to remember that a) not everyone is 18 when they finish high school and b) that 1% barely means anything. If just a few people decided not to answer the question about age, but did answer the education question, that’d be the difference right there.

  7. Thumb up 5

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    Cool info graphics! I do think it’s possible that the survey might have appealed to certain of your readers more than others, and that may be a contributing factor for the statistics regarding education. If you are interested in testing that, it might help to do a much shorter (no more than 3 questions) survey that focuses on education level. Just a thought. There might be other methods that could be used to try to gather the information, too.

    It was fun to read the results of the survey. I’m one of the readers over 35, and I didn’t realize there were so few of us (well, so few of us that did the survey). I think you are dong a wonderful job with this site. In addition to the AS content, I have to complement the AS community for the comments. I rarely read comments on other sites, but AS is an exception. So, continued thanks to the AS team and AS community for good content, good infographics, and good conversation!

  8. Thumb up 2

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    Apparently I may have missed the survey or something, but… Hi, my name is Kelly, I’m a regular reader and 2x ACamper (Jetpack!) and I did NOT graduate from high school. I dropped out at 16. So, uh… do I get to steal 0.1% from your “100% of readers graduated high school”? My first graduation was for my bachelor’s.

  9. Thumb up 50

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    One of the 20 males who don’t also identify as transman or female here. 23 year old white European (GB) bisexual cismale to be more label-tastic.

    I come to this website because… its perfect. The news is perfect, the opinion is perfect. The tone of LGBT stories is far closer to the sorts of thing I want to read than any gay male website I’ve ever read or browsed. The music is amazing, the food is delicious, the reading is broadening and the feminism is something I need to know to be a less awful person. You have changed the way I think, the way I dress, how I feel about some matters, the amount of cat and Ellen .gifs I consume in a week and changed the aspects I find attractive in both a man and a woman – damned muscle.

    I’ve never commented before because I am fully aware that I am intruding on a space that is not intended for me, but I did donate $110, $100 for my best friend as a birthday present and $10 because that was all I had when the campaign started and I wanted to give something to the community.

    My closest friends are almost all gay or bisexual women, which is partially to blame for me finding this place in the first place, and I hope I’m not being a total toolbox by making my way in here. They have always been my safe space, a place where I don’t have the fist sized lump of closeted guilt, and Autostraddle has become an extension of that, a place where I can see and hear things that challenge me, and help me to grow.

    So thanks, this place wasn’t built for me, but it is perfect for me, so I’m gonna go on reading in silence.

    Wil

    • Thumb up 3

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      I know I can’t speak for everyone, but I just saw this in the comment awards and fuck yeah! I’m glad you’re here. We all have either male friends, or fathers, or brothers, and just imagine how cool things could be if they all actually tried to understand us. I show articles on this site to cisguy friends all the time, I wish that any one of them would take that kind of interest in learning about queer women and feminism. I have a friend who is an evangelical baptist who after years of thoughtful conversations has actually come to believe that gay people deserve the right to marry and that women should have the right to make their own reproductive choices. I think that exposing yourself to new ideas that you can’t necessarily immediately relate to is super important, and I wish more people would do it. Obviously you’ve been here for a while, but welcome to AS!

  10. Thumb up 1

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    Ooh what is it about looking at stats and infographics that is so irresistable? I’m instantly fascinated by stuff I didn’t even know I was!

    Yey for the Brits at #2…

    Not so yey for being just about as far from London as you can be without being in Scotland :(

    I think I actually answered this but I can’t remember because my memory is terrible…

  11. Thumb up 0

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    At least 18 readers think educated women should have their own space. That’s fantastic, but where should the “uneducated” women go? Are we welcome here?

    I apologize for the population of women who don’t have the means to go to post-secondary education. I wasn’t aware that this puts all of us in the group of homophobic/misogynistic/transphobic trolls.

    • Thumb up 0

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      YOU ARE SO WELCOME HERE. 18 people out of 3,000. That is .6% Ignore those jerks. Anyone who believes that formal education is the same thing as intelligence is either a lot less intelligent than they think they are, or they have lived in a really privileged bubble their entire lives, and fuck that.

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      please don’t think that! i thought those stats were weird and not possibly actually representative, which is why i framed them the way i did. i sort of wish i had left them out now. :-( i don’t want people to feel like they’re not welcome ’cause they didn’t go to college! and also! i must again mention that the numbers reflect people who attended any type of post-secondary education, that includes trade school, it includes taking a few classes and then dropping out, it includes a lot of things. even if those numbers spoke to even the most general of truths, it’d be a stretch to think “university-educated” was a pre-req. there’s no correlation between intelligence and college education, obviously, and often a lot of who goes to college and who doesn’t has to do with economics, which is one of many reasons why drawing that line is especially gross and something i’d never want to do.

      and as brianna mentioned, this is something we actually think and talk about a lot because the person besides me most responsible for the editorial direction of this site, and the first person besides me to actually acquire a paid position writing for this website, didn’t go to college.

      i do think that 100% of our writers and 100% of our readers are smart, inquisitive people. and this is a place for all of us.

  12. Thumb up 2

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    Shout out to the oldsters who been reading this since Riese announced it on automatic win!!! (P.S. I think about the last post you wrote on a pretty much daily basis.) Someday there will be a documentary made by some kid who is born this year about the Dawn of Autostraddle and we will all be the herstorians.

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