Go to any magazine rack, anywhere in America. Look at the women’s section. What you will probably see are racks and racks of smiling, beautiful and fashionable faces underneath captions like, “How to Please Your Man, 100 Men Tell All!” or “Fifty Hairstyles That Will Turn Heads this Winter” or “Oprah, The First Woman President?”. Then, to a stark contrast, I would like you to turn to the “Men’s Section” (in quotations because its not technically called that- but you know its geared towards men). Yea sure, you will see maybe a dozen adult magazines, a few sports magazines, a whole lot of fitness magazines and some car magazines- but do you know what else you will see? Magazines discussing foreign affairs, business, science. Scientific American, National Geographic, Psychology Today, Entrepreneur Magazine… When was the last time you saw one of those magazines outline in pink with a bright orange background and bright yellow words trying to tell us all about the benefits to staring an online company? You won’t see one; they aren’t geared towards women, because women usually aren’t the ones who buy these types of magazines.
The Economist? 64% of their readerships are men. The Atlantic? 61%. Newsweek? 56% male to female ratio. An exception would be The New Yorker, who boasts a 51% female to male readership. The reason? Its content is substantially higher in the “Culture/ Lifestyle” section, and substantially lower in National Affairs, the Economy, and International Affairs sections.
I find this disappointing. Please note, this is absolutely not meant to be a bash on women or our reading habits. Absolutely not. It could definitely be said that these magazines do themselves a disservice by not targeting women. In terms of color scheme and language, why does The Atlantic look more like GQ than Women’s Health?
However, what I am attempting to do here is questioning why Cosmopolitan exists. How does that magazine, and others like it, help us earn the position we deserve in society? (While we are asking questions, how does it even entertain women?) It is not the same to earn something rather than simply demand it of a world that is desperately trying to be politically correct. That’s all. I’m not saying that your average twenty something year old guy is reading up on foreign affairs in his spare time either (These magazines also boast an older readership, on both sides of the gender equation). I’m saying that being knowledgeable on topics other than the newest seduction techniques or the latest gossips within your sorority is imperative to being taken seriously in today’s’ world. And I am finding it harder and harder to have these conversations with people other than my older male colleagues.
So ladies, do your brains a favor, please stop reading Cosmo and start reading a magazine that does not reiterate the same topic in bold new colors each month. For the love of feminism.