Just a Thought… on Magazines


This is a thought I have held true for a very long time, men’s magazines are better than women’s magazines.  There, I said it.  And, yes, I am the kind of girl that subscribes, buys and browses magazines.  If I am waiting, even in a short grocery line, I am reading a magazine.

True story: When I was 17 years old I purchased a wedding magazine at my local grocery store (Publix) and the cashier congratulated me and asked if I was getting married.  I love magazines, but I didn’t buy another wedding magazine until I was securely engaged (7 years later).

Anyway, I prefer men’s magazines over women’s magazines for actual entertainment for many reasons.  Primarily because when men’s magazines are being funny, they are actually funny, a little cynical, sharp, witty.  Of course there are the gross out jokes, the obviously shots, but the good men’s magazines actually make me laugh, or at least make me think.  When a magazine for women is being funny the humor stems from “this one time I got my period when I was wearing a white pencil skirt… my boyfriend walked in on me when I was bleaching my lip.”  That is not funny.  It is maybe embarrassing, it is awkward, sure, but more than that it tends to put down and degrades the events that fall into the category of “it could happen to you, at any time, you poor girl”  Haha, and when you do spill coffee on a silk blouse while catching the elevator and snagging a stocking on the way into a job interview, we’ll be laughing, you know with cute cartoon illustrations.

The other reason I enjoy men’s magazines is because no matter who they interview, man or woman, they speak to the reader the way it seems they (as a magazine) would want to be spoken to.  There seems to be a sense of partnership, camraderie between reader and writer, and like any good relationship it is mutually beneficial (the magazine stays in business, the reader learns something/confirms something/feels better about themselves).

This morning I read an article in women’ magazine written about the author’s struggle with dieting.  She yo-yo’d, she skipped crepes in France, banished butters and creams, and then would devour a box of Oreos, she went raw, she starved, and then after realizing that diet and exercise go together like peas and carrots (obviously, without a cheese sauce) she finally accepted that she was no longer a size 4.  This would never be in a men’s magazine.  

After reading the article I thought about all the ways that women, friends, colleagues, friends of friends, and myself have at one point struggled with body image, diet, exercise and being motivated to do the right things in order to feel right, never mind striving to look “right”, which today tends to mean a photo-shopped version of someone else.  Sidenote: you are rarely going to see an image in a retail venue, or magazine that hasn’t been photo-shopped.  I have been on the other side of the computer, and if the fabric doesn’t wrinkle the image isn’t real.

I find that magazines for women are designed to be aspirational, but tend to be so far out of reach that they become unattainable instead of inspiring.  The desire to live like a celebrity, look like a model, entertain like Martha, well none of it is possible for one person alone, they all have teams of people.  You don’t know about the teams of people when you read the article.  

When women are interviewed in women’s magazines they talk about how they’re adjusting to marriage, their favorite snacks for a tour to keep their figure and their favorite red carpet dresses.

In a men’s magazine they give a soundbite like this:
“A guy can come in and have a big beer belly and he doesn’t have to be anything but himself, whereas women have to wear the heels. We’re probably missing out on a lot of wonderful talent.” – Carrie Underwood, (Right on Carrie!)

That difference might be something to think about, you know, the next time you’re lingering at the checkout counter.

2 responses to “Just a Thought… on Magazines

  1. >Interesting post. Maybe it's time someone started a good woman's magazine. One that features our feminine side but is also thought-provoking, encouraging, and genuine. I'd read that! – Katy

  2. I love this post, your viewpoint is original and I like it. I’m actually creating a magazine to show to the editors of cosmo and cleo magazines to let them know what readers really want within the pages, and I’m including a page of testimonials about how women’s magazine make us feel as readers.
    It would be great to hear from you about what you think/feel about women’s magazines and I’m also looking for submissions in general. So if you have any ideas about articles that you think should be included in the ideal women’s mag for teens I’d love to hear them…
    The Magazine will be published online and in print in February/March of next year. For more info check out: http://www.pozible.com/index.php/archive/index/7913 or email me at: thebrainwashproject@gmail.com
    Cheers,
    Jessica Barlow

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