Women in Magazines

Weird how there appear to be no female columnists, reporters or essayists. Also weird how “General-Interest Magazines” include publications focused on men (GQ), but “Women’s Magazines” need their own category. Also weird how the Women’s Magazines group purports to include “health and fitness magazines and family-centric publications,” since health/fitness and family = lady-stuff. But even weirder that Men’s Health is then nominated under “Active- and Special-Interest Magazines.” So anything having to do with lady-stuff — lady’s health, lady’s fitness, lady’s families, lady’s popular culture, whatever has a woman on the cover who is not making a blowjob face? “Women’s Magazine.” Anything focused on dude culture? General interest, or gets its own damn category as “lifestyle” or “active” or “special interest.” And so dude magazines span every single category other than the “women’s” category. And dude mags get more awards and greater recognition and can further justify why they are more More Important and Mainstream than anything having to do with women.

8 comments for “Women in Magazines

  1. QLH
    April 4, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    Thanks for the post! Just sent a letter to asme@magazine.org.

  2. Jenny Wren
    April 4, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    Maybe it’s an across-the-pond difference, but here in the UK I tend to see the opposite: women’s magazines (of which there are far more) under “Lifestyle”, “Living”, “Celebrities” or somesuch, and a separate header for “Men’s Magazines”.

    The other categories aren’t necessarily male-dominated, either; there’s usually a kids’ section, a puzzles section, a music/film section, a craft section, computer mags and the raunchy ones at the top. It’s pretty even.

  3. April 4, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    At our bookstore it’s just “Women’s Magazines” and “Men’s Magazines”

  4. Mxe354
    April 4, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    I can’t help but think that women’s magazines are thought to belong necessarily to a separate category because anything that women find interesting is somehow radically different (not to mention inferior to) from what men care about.

    It’s “Men are from Mars, and women are from Venus” all over again in my eyes.

  5. April 4, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    The other categories aren’t necessarily male-dominated, either; there’s usually a kids’ section, a puzzles section, a music/film section, a craft section, computer mags and the raunchy ones at the top. It’s pretty even.

    In my supermarket, the computer/technology mags (which I read) are filed with the men’s “lifestyle” magazines on the top shelf — that I as a pretty average-height woman cannot reach.

  6. D
    April 4, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    reasons like this, and other general sexism caused me to drop subscribing toThe New Yorker, that i’d read forever…….
    it’s a ghetto out there.

  7. D
    April 4, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    (not that TNY was ever catagorized as ladybusiness)

  8. April 5, 2012 at 12:49 am

    What the fresh hell? I’ve worked in magazines my entire career and this categorization is news to me. Until 2011 the awards were by circulation, not topic; “The Economist” was in the same category as the “Food Network Magazine” and “Wired.” I didn’t pay attention last year but now that I know I’m absolutely going to write a letter. This is perhaps (?) marginally better than it was last year (categories fro 2011 below). Doing it by circulation just makes so much more sense.

    I worked at Glamour when they won the Ellie for their circulation group. It was an ENORMOUS win, and it was because we had shown that content aimed at women could compete on the same ground as “neutral” magazines. We beat Time. We beat Time! Not that Time is so fantastic anymore, but it was such a wonderful feeling, to know that our peers believed Glamour to be more worthy of the distinction than one of the oldest, most legendary titles in publishing. And, you know, Glamour kept on being nominated too—as did Martha Stewart Living, Real Simple, and fashion magazines like Vogue and W. I can’t help but wonder if there were some disgruntled voices somewhere about having to compete with those titles, like “Why should National Goddamn Geographic have to share podium space with frilly ladyspace?”

    2011 nomination categories:

    Fashion, Service and Lifestyle Magazines: Honors women’s magazines, including health and fitness magazines and family-centric publications (Essence; Real Simple; Vogue; W; Women’s Health)

    Food, Travel and Design Magazines: Honors lifestyle magazines for men and women [i.e. not “Real Simple”] as well as shelter titles (Conde Nast Traveler; Garden & Gun; House Beautiful; Martha Stewart Living; Saveur)

    Finance, Technology and Lifestyle Magazines: Honors men’s magazines as well as business, science and active-interest publications (Backpacker; Bloomberg Markets; GQ; Popular Mechanics; Scientific American)

    And, for comparison, nomination categories before they switched to theme versus circulation:

    Circulation under 100,000:
    Aperture, The Believer, Legal Affairs, Ready Made, The Virginia Quarterly Review

    Circulation of 100,000 to 250,000:
    Chicago, Foreign Policy, Harpers Magazine, Harvard Business Review, Town & Country Travel

    Circulation of 250,000 to 500,000:
    The Atlantic Monthly, Backpacker, New York Magazine, Texas Monthly, Technology Review

    Circulation of 500,000 to 1,000,000:
    Esquire, Everyday Food, House & Garden, Marie Claire, Runners World, Wired

    Circulation of 1,000,000 to 2,000,000:
    ESPN The Magazine, Fortune, Martha Stewart Living, The New Yorker, Vogue

    Circulation over 2,000,000:
    Glamour, National Geographic, O, The Oprah Magazine, Prevention, Time

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