Deep think of the week: Can women’s magazines produce serious journalism?


Elle EIC Robbie Myers says yes — and I wholeheartedly agree!

Basically, if you’re saying women’s magazines don’t care about good writing, you’re saying women don’t [either], because that’s who reads women’s magazines.”

So why do women’s fashion/lifestyle magazines always get the short shrift when it comes to credibility and seriousness? It’s now time for a rethink. As someone who has been on both sides of the fence and is a voracious reader to boot, I think it’s doing a disservice to women readers anywhere (and in the magazine world, we are the bigger market than the men) to marginalize women in this way — because it is marginalization when we view the issues that are relevant to a group of people as “less than” or “other” and not important enough to be part of the main conversation.

Anyway, read the rest of Robbie’s interview here here.

And here’s the link to the article in New Republic: “Can Women’s Magazines Do Serious Journalism?” The title alone is enough to infuriate me, frankly.

Says the piece:

“Crowe didn’t ask other female editors in Wintour’s—or any other’s stead—because, as he put it, ‘unfortunately these are not the people editing’ truly excellent magazines. This reveals another pernicious assumption: that what women’s magazines publish is not as influential or important as what men’s and general interest magazines publish. How and when did this assumption arise?”

Unfortunately, this way of thinking is not limited to the foreign press. I’ve encountered journalists — men and women — who look askance and condescendingly at the fashion and lifestyle press as if what these were doing were not as important as their work. In my opinion, it takes the same amount of skill and chutzpah, if not more, to report about lifestyle subjects and make them come across as relevant pieces as it does to report “serious” news. And equally as important. Because more than the national headlines or the major stories, it is the “trivial” the fashion/lifestyle/cultural writing the sort that comes out in women’s publications when they report about everyday ephemera that makes an impact and resonates down the ages. Picture this: Two millennia from now, when archeologists are digging through our records of what our lives are like, it will be popular culture, as recorded in women’s magazines (among others) that scholars will look to for leads, the same way that archeologists now look at cave drawings and artwork on jar shards to know what life was like ages ago.

There is enough space in the journalism playground for both kinds of writing to exist.