10.2.14

And the internet is just one of the factors.


Maybe from the first glance at this post you would assume that I am about to spill derogatory arguments about how printed magazines should die, how they have lost their power and all, but that is not it. As a matter of fact I am an avid magazine reader--since the adolescent days my mom put me in several teenage magazine subscriber list in no time because she concerned about my ability to grow properly as a female adult--and to be honest with you, I still am an avid magazine reader AND writer. But women magazines are no longer in my purchase list these days--the franchised ones to be exact. Instead, titles like Smith Journal, Delayed Gratification and some random independent magazines are what caught my eyes and brain and heart, despite of their relatively high price. They deliver fresh reporting, oftentimes experimental writing, or in another words: something I cannot obtain from reading big titles like Vogue, Elle or Glamour. This wave of independent publishing might have been seen with one eye by more established publishers, but in fact, their streams of content are to be considered serious counter act in responding to the deteriorating publishing industry these days. But that would be another story.

The first and foremost reason as to why I stay away from women magazines is actually personal. I do not feel that my voice as a grown woman is well represented by those magazines. The pages are filled with the newest trends and items that are repetitive and correlated with the imagery of lean women, most of the time are the Caucasian ones. Maybe that will not be the case for magazines printed in the US or Europe, but isn't it an irony for local magazine to feature ridiculously massive pages of Caucasian models when their readers are NOT Caucasian? Proceeding further to the other content, I think that the promotion of monotonous lifestyle--working from Monday to Friday, hanging out on weekends, chasing after hot guys, visiting beauty salons, travelling once in a while--has come to the down side of the curve. And to assume that all women are supposed to go through that particular lifestyle is somewhat shallow. That alone is an irony when the magazine itself aims to empower women and celebrate femininity. But who are the women we are talking about here?

Without a second doubt, internet has also come into mind when proposing argument against purchasing women magazines. Brilliant websites and blogs like Man Repeller and The Cut suffice the criteria as mandatory reading for modern women. Feeds from inspirational public figures and even friends can enrich modern women as much as magazines do. Not to mention the fast pace of reporting culture the internet has brought. Trends change faster, news are available as soon as the event happens and (online) discussions are prompted at no time. This, I think, has caused almost all magazines to feature the similar thing, bring similar discussion to the table and lay out singular point of view when it comes about trends. All trends, anything. Whether it is about fashion, health, finance or work, the voice printed on the paper sounds pretty much the same. I can imagine the editorial meeting starts with something like: "So, what is new this season?" And everybody starts googling, in which they will come up with uniform results. Therefore, presenting something "new" and nothing else should be rethink by the editors, because such way of work brings no additional value to the readers. And when it comes to advertisers, who are we kidding here, the women magazines, or should I say the "highly commercialised" magazine as a whole, have turned into some kind of catalogue. They display whatever the advertisers wish to.

To close this rather lengthy piece I just want to remind myself. Not all women magazines gradually transform themselves into rubbish. They are, after all, what keep part of the economy going. But to think about how influential media really is, don't we wish for a better quality of magazine to influence women in a more positive way? And until that dawn of women magazine revival comes, I would be happy with my current reading list. What about you?

image is from here


P.S: A new magazine has just been released by Net-A-Porter group, titled Porter. From this article it sounds promising and all, but I am not ready to spend that much amount of money for a women magazine that comes from a luxury retailer. It claims to adopt "global approach" as part of the editorial voice, quite literally, because the first day it is sold in the US, I visited my local bookstore and found the very same issue.


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