Women’s magazines need important subjects

Elizabeth Ramirez

In most grocery stores, one of the last things you see before the checkout counter are those pretty, glossy magazines. The magazines generally give women beauty and relationship tips or celebrity gossip, but lack on giving a positive image to women.

Women don’t need 10 different magazines telling them, “This is what your husband needs” or “This is what you should wear for fall.” More intellectual magazines like Bitch and Ms. which promote self- empowerment and success, need to be presented to women.

Time after time, Cosmopolitan comes up with new sex tips or “What men like in bed but women are not doing” articles. Celebrity gossip magazine Us Weekly isn’t any better. Many of these magazines are quick to give you sex advice, but lack intellectual content for women in all walks of life.

Then there are magazines like Better Homes and Gardens which reinforce stereotypical gender roles for women. It endorses the idea women should take care of the home and everything constituting it, but once again misses the academic side.

The life of a female celebrity doesn’t compare to the life of a stay-at-home mom or single woman. Celebrities live in mansions in the Hollywood Hills while common folk struggle to even have a roof over their heads. During a typical job interview, a woman is not going to be asked if she knows the latest sex tip or L’Oreal mascara. A magazine should not act like a sex or relationship therapist because the problem may not be solved with tips but rather with therapy.

Not to say there aren’t fashion magazines with hard news pieces, however, those magazines usually print one or two meaningful stories and the rest is just fashion ads. It’s a waste of paper and trees.

Magazines should cover topics inciting action among women to further succeed in life independently. They should write about topics on the ongoing glass-ceiling effect which acts as a barrier for women to advance professionally, stories on persevering single mothers or married women and about women during the current economic recession in the U.S. In other words, stories women can identify with on an emotional level.

Sacramento State women’s studies professor Vicki Hall said magazines are falling apart and lacking on readable material.

“There was a lot of intellectual material in those old magazines (like Godey’s Lady’s Book and The Ladies Home Journal). We’ve just given up (on) this idea that we should spend time in popular culture developing intellect. It’s pretty sad because it wasn’t the case in the past,” Hall said.

Women’s magazines need to emphasize topics that provoke action, bring women together and discuss experiences women have on a regular basis. Ms. and Bitch magazines speak about these issues. Yet, they are not well known.

Ms. features stories about topics women are sometimes unaware of. In its recent issue, the magazine features articles about the 2012 presidential election and what it means for women. Topics like this are sometimes dismissed by many media outlets that just focus on a broader view. Also, the magazine contains articles of not only topics on a national level, but expands globally. It publishes stories about women around the world who go through the same physical and emotional issues women go through in the U.S.

Similarly, Bitch brings a feminist point of view through its articles. It spins pop culture topics with meaningful commentary on the effect that pop culture topics have on women. Its language mimics that of a conversation between two women.

Sophisticated speech should be noted more often in women’s magazines with topics women can identify with in a deeper sense. It shouldn’t take a place of a real human being, but at least a woman from the Middle East can relate to a woman in the U.S. Advertising companies need to stop advertising in beauty magazines, making them more important than intellectual magazines. Women don’t need a bombardment of ads dealing with cosmetics and clothing attire. They are intelligent human beings who would not mind having more intellectual articles and less beauty, home and celebrity oriented magazines.


Elizabeth can be reached at: [email protected]