The other morning I said to my husband, ‘Why are there no magazines for women?’ He laughed and said there were dozens. You only have to go into WH Smiths. OK so there are dozens but they are nearly all the same. They are either ‘fashion and celebrity’ like Now or Hello or the Take A Break type full of competitions and real life stories that could feature on Jeremy Kyle. No I mean ‘proper’ magazines with interesting articles, opinions and news.
Years ago I used to buy two or three a week from Cosmopolitan (too much sex) to She (what was that about?) to Woman’s Weekly – remember that line from Victoria Wood’s ‘Let’s Do It’ ‘…. beat me on the bottom with the Woman’s Weekly’. I once submitted a short story to Woman’s Weekly but was told that it was not appropriate for their readership to murder someone in the first paragraph let alone the first sentence. Actually I never read Woman’s Weekly which is probably why I got it so wrong.
In 2006 when it was believed that women actually may have wanted to read a news-based publication there was a great weekly magazine called First which was ‘first with the news’. It was really interesting and I even had a letter published in it. There was also another called In The Know which never really got off the ground but they both folded in 2008. This was the time when the major publishers started crossing fashion with celebrity and women’s magazines started to really shift in emphasis.
I also used to read Best and Bella and Woman’s Own from time to time but even they have gone down the same road – the celebrity road that is. I look at the shelves and try to find a magazine that doesn’t have a B, C or even Z-list celebrity on the cover. Do I care whether Kerry Katona has had another life-changing experience? Do I heck. Do I want to know whether Kim Kardashian has had bottom implants. I don’t even know what Kim Kardashian does. Or whether Katie Price has a new man. What happened to Peter Andre? He was quite sweet but that was at least three husbands ago.
I’m starting to think I may as well start reading the Saga Magazine but even that is full of celebrities – just older ones. There is Prima of course if I want to crochet a hat for my dog or make finger puppets of the Teletubbies. I jest. It’s actually quite good and I used to buy it in the days when I knitted jumpers for my kids.
Other magazines include speciality subjects like slimming or furniture restoring or running but I’m not really interested. There are Homes & Gardens and Cookery but I tend to get ideas from Pinterest or the BBC website. Local magazines are usually full of adverts – which brings me back to glossies like Vogue which are crammed with adverts for expensive clothes on stick thin models and celebrity (that word again) endorsed watches. Things I couldn’t possible afford so I don’t see the point in drooling over them.
I would like to see a magazine for women that has proper news and views with a smattering of adverts and even a few ‘celebrities’ like Joanna Lumley or Michelle Obama (near the back unless they have serious views which to be fair they do) and no Kerry, Katie or Kim to be seen. I want to see a cover spread that doesn’t have pictures of celebrities without make-up showing their cellulite on the beach having been snapped from half a mile away by some paparazzi stuck up a tree. Or another article about who has had botox or is surgically enhanced while inside the magazine is full of adverts for Harley Medical.
We are so shallow in what we accept on the shelves. All this drivel is thrown at us yet I can’t be the only one who wants a decent magazine. But then magazines are driven by advertising to survive and I doubt that the big hitters want to spend their dosh on advertising in a serious magazine. Incidentally, this is why the BBC should remain advert free or the advertisers will drive the content and we will end up with more cheap reality shows and rubbish programmes. Rant over.
But come on companies like John Lewis or M & S or Dove. Surely you would put your money where your mouth is and back a proper magazine for real women.