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Saturday, September 17, 2005

No wonder women's magazines are fluffy

I found this open letter to would-be women's magazine editors penned by freelance journalist Elizabeth Spiers who feels that the women's magazine market is underserved by the assumption that women basically want to read about beauty tips, diet regimens and relationship woes. Very telling in Spiers' letter is an incident she relates about a conversation she had with an editor in chief of a women's magazine:

I sat next to the editor in chief of one women's mag at a dinner last year and got pulled into a conversation in which another women's mag colleague lamented that women's [magazines] weren't taken seriously enough by the rest of the media industry. I mentioned that I tend to read men's mags more often than women's mags, which they seemed to find offensive, as if I had betrayed my gender. "I'm interested in politics and business," I said, "and I want to read pieces that have a sense of humor." "Well!" snapped the editor in chief, "I don't see why women have to act like men to be considered worth reading!" As far as she was concerned, politics and finance were exclusively male realms of interest and I suppose men had a monopoly on funny as well. I also suggested that men's mags were more willing and likely to do features that were controversial, which prompted the editor to point out that she got over 20 pieces of hate mail for a feature her magazine ran about women whose kids were eligible for a military draft, should such a thing return. Not wanting to start a fight, I declined to suggest that twenty pieces of hate mail for seven-figure circulation base struck me as an incredibly low ratio for a controversial piece. (I probably get more hate mail daily for typos alone.)

I would like to believe this is parody, but Spiers did an informal sampling of the issues in print at that time and here is what she came up with:

Elle: September (Jennifer Lopez on the cover)
10 Days to a New Body: It Won't Be Easy---But It Can Be Done!
Jennifer Lopez: Answers the Questions You've Been Dying to Ask
Fall Fashion Extravaganza!
Single and Loving It: Is Now the Best Time to Be On Your Own?
Plastic Surgery Update: Why Some Celebs Look So Scary (And How to Avoid the Same Fate!)
540 Pages of Great Style!: Your Biggest Shopping Guide Ever!
The New Supersexy Jeans You'll Want Today
Plus: The Best Boots to Buy Now
What Does Your Hair Say About You?
Fertility Wars: Is Egg Donation The New Dirty Little Secret?

Marie Claire: September (Reese Witherspoon)
Fall Beauty: 73 Best Hair and Makeup Looks for You!
What Gets You Noticed First?
Reese [Witherspoon] On Loving Her "Imperfect" Body & the Fight She's Taking Public
Save Big $$$ on Fashion: 803 Sexy Looks: All Shapes * All Sizes * All Prices
The Wine Chocolate & Cheese Diet (It Really Works!)
Break Your Worry Habit
Hot Sex: 4 Facts You'll Love
Will You Get Rich? A Revealing Test
Busted! Men Who Take Sex Tours
Free! Designer Makeup

Vogue: August (Madonna)
Living With Cancer: A Model's Will to Survive
The Age Issue: Stylish and Inspiring Lives From 8 to 81
Fashion Star at 20
Rocket Scientist at 30
TV Dynamo at 40
Life of the Party at 50
Queen of Vegas at 60
Eco Heroine at 70
Working Girl at 80
Madonna: Reinvented for the Very Last Time: Marvelous Mom and English Lady of the Manor
The Secret to Tight, Toned Arms (It's Not Just Exercise)
The Second Sexual Revolution: Heating Up the Bedroom at Any Age

Harper's Bazaar: August (Cate Blanchett)
New Season: 525 Ideas
Quick & Easy Beauty Tips
Fall Preview Issue
Fashion Buys You'll Never Regret
Fabulous at Every Age

Glamour: Supersize Anniversary Issue! (September 2005)
Your Best Sex at 20, 30, 40: What Works & Doesn't for You…and for Him
How to Outsmart Stress (In One Minute or Less)
Must Read Bonus!: 800 Sexy Looks for Every Size…
Free Diamonds! Massive Giveaway
30 Things Every Woman Should Know by Age 30
Pick Jennifer Connelly's Best Fall Look: Open Here!

Cosmopolitan: The Hot Issue (August), Kate Hudson
Sex Survey: 5,000 Men Took It: The Position They Crave, Their Biggest Turn-off, The Female Flex They Love
How to Read His Feelings Instantly
Love Being Naked! 17 Body Confidence Boosters
Guys Uncensored: You Won't Believe The Dirty Thoughts Dudes Have
4 Gyno Mistakes You Must Learn About
Sizzling Sex Tips: End Your Summer with a Bang!
Kate Hudson: A Very Revealing Interview
The Best Jeans for Your Shape

I did my own research by going to the MSN Women's section. Here's what I found today:

This Week's Favorite Recipes
Flank Steak with Pineapple Salsa
Apple-Glazed Salmon
Cranberry Pear Pie
Orange Chicken Salad
Apple Pumpkin Soup
Herb-Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

Just For You
From runway to real life: Fashion Week Spring 2006
New Miss Manners: Who really means "no gifts"?
Slideshow: lush and luxurious mocha accents for home
Quiz: Do you date smart?
MSN Spaces Lifestyle Filter: You create the buzz

Fluff? You tell me. Anyway, I'm dying to try that wine, chocolate and cheese diet!

Sharon Cullars Coffee Talk at 9/17/2005 08:05:00 PM Permanent Link     | | Home


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