Would You Like To See More Hard-Hitting Stories In Women’s Magazines?

The fact that women’s magazines are full of fluff isn’t news to any of us who receive them monthly. But we may not stop to think about the fact that behind those cotton-candy pieces about lip gloss and blow jobs are female journalists, who may want to write something more lofty but are probably not being given the chance to do so (didn’t you see “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days”?).

Over at Think Progress, Alyssa Rosenberg considers the fact that as men’s magazines like GQ and Esquire publish serious, long-form, award-winning articles, there is an absolute dearth of the same in anything remotely resembling a women’s mag:

…a women’s magazine hasn’t published a nominee for a Feature Writing prize in the last twenty years. Unless the interior design magazine Nest counts, no women’s magazine has ever produced a nominee for profile writing in the two categories that have existed to recognize that form. If we count Self, six Public Interest award nominees have come from women’s magazines in the last twenty years: two in that magazine, one in Golf for Women, one in Redbook, one in Glamour, one in Family Circle. Between 1991 and 2001, no women’s magazine has produced a winner or a nominee in the Reporting category.

So I wonder — would you, as a reader, be interested in a magazine that provided more balance? In at least having the option to have your fashion up front and your “groundbreaking, beautifully-written reporting,” as Rosenberg puts it, piece in the back? Or are you content with lip gloss and blow jobs?

P.S. — This is a safe space. If lip gloss and blow jobs get you through the day, more power to you.

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    • disonfire

      I am a 22-year old who loves fashion editorials, shopping and beauty advice from lady mags, and not much else. I don’t feel compelled to read the entirety of a lady mag. But I read GQ front to back, pieces I am interested in as well as pieces that don’t grab me at first. I don’t think this is due to the presence of serious articles in GQ, but rather the style and tone of writing throughout the magazine. Most, if not all pieces, have sarcastic, irreverent tones to them, which keep me reading.

    • Cassie

      I would just call it entertainment compartmentalization… if I want hard-hitting news stories, I’ll get it from a hard-hitting news network. If I want lipgloss and blowjobs, I go to fluffy women’s magazines.

    • Jape

      Please, yes! I am always grateful and engaged when a women’s mag does something more substantial. There are many stories and issues that have a special significance to women and may not get much play in standard news outlets, like honor killings in the US. These often get an extra dollop of emotion or a sugary writing style, but I would rather have that than nothing but lip gloss.

      We readers: please link to and share more substantial stories, write responses to the mags, and otherwise support such work with your traffic and engagement!

      Publishers, hear the call: when you invest in and print stronger, more investigative or long-form journalism, you make the rest of your print content look more interesting and more credible. Even if that content is about fashion! And you might be able to sell a broader range of ads. (Bottom line, people.)

      *off soapbox*

    • brikbrown

      Oh god yes. I don’t buy lady mags for this specific reason. I feel like it’s almost an insult to women everywhere.

      • Amanda

        I agree. I love fashion and makeup, but I never buy cosmo because of the dumb sex tips (don’t get me wrong, I love sex too, but I don’t think that shit like “sprinkle some pepper under his nose right before he orgasms for more intensity!” will improve anything) and the lack of faith in their readers’ intelligence.

      • JO


    • Eileen

      Nope. Don’t get me wrong, I like serious stories, and I appreciate when female writers get to write serious stories, but if I’m buying Cosmopolitan, I’m buying it for the lipstick (I don’t do gloss) and blow jobs. That doesn’t mean I don’t think there’s a market for a more focused women’s magazine, but it’s not one of the ones we have right now.

    • Jinx

      From Cosmo et al, I’m content with lip gloss and blow jobs. It would be too weird and off-putting if they suddenly started writing hard-hitting, serious pieces. However, I truly believe there’s room in the market for a new magazine that writes about, say, honor killings, Iraq and current events in a readable, woman-friendly, theGloss-like tone. I’d subscribe.

      • Jo

        I think it’s fine that they don’t write “hard hitting” articles, but the totally heteronormative and assumptive way in which they write is just absurd. Like, as far as their magazines are concerned men and women are polar opposite and gay people don’t exist. Also, all women are dying to get married. Ugh, it makes me sick.

        If you want to write about sex, FINE, but write about it in an inclusive way, not a way that not only leaves out a lot of perspectives on sex, but also assumes that everyone fits into their narrow view.

    • Christina

      I definitely want hard hitting pieces in women magazines. I have a copy og Eurowoman & Euroman from December 2010. Euroman has several fashion pieces but also have room to write interesting pieces about spanish politics and danish newspapers. While Eurowoman is all fashion, make-up and an article about champagne, that of course revolves around Sex and The City, because every woman loves that show. The lack of intelligent and interesting articles in women magazines is just sad.

    • Anne walterich

      Try reading Ms. magazine. No blow jobs, no lip gloss, just journalism.

    • l

      can the gloss just be a magazine please?

    • Tanya

      Yes! As a journalism student and an avid The Gloss reader, I don’t see why hard-hitting articles can’t be interesting; The Gloss does it all the time! I think part of the reason people are reading newspapers less is (aside from the invention of the internet) because their articles can be long and tedious, which, let’s face it – our generation doesn’t exactly have the patience for. But if you take a serious article and break it down in a way that interests people, like through humor and with a casual tone, there’s no reason we can’t incorporate politics, business, or other world issues into magazines.

    • Journal Femme

      It’d be great to see more content in the mainstream magazines. I read Ms. magazine or Bust from time to time but I also enjoy the inspiring visual aesthetic of the more popular mags.

      A magazine that combines the two would be great. Marie Claire often comes close to hitting the mark.