What’s the deal with women’s magazines?

Vogue issues on a magazine stand. Via Flickr user hayley.bailey.

Vogue issues on a magazine stand. Via Flickr user hayley.bailey.

My relationship with gender-specific magazines is complicated.

I don’t read Cosmopolitan, Vogue, Glamour, or any women’s magazines for that matter. I’m not that into fashion, and I tend to like more in-depth, longer stories than those magazines regularly offer.

But I read men’s magazines such as GQ and Esquire from time to time. Until now, it hadn’t dawned on me that people treat men’s magazines and women’s magazines differently.

The magazine community sure looks at them in disparate ways. Features from women’s magazines barely ever win awards, while ones from men’s magazines do, according to a writer from The New Republic. In the journalism world, it’s known that writing for Esquire looks awesome, but writing for Cosmopolitan makes you look frivolous.

I’m one of the many women who reads features from men’s magazines, but I doubt there are many men who pick up Vogue (which incidentally does have long, in-depth stories). I also can’t think of many male writers who work with women’s magazines, yet it’s perfectly normal for female writers to work with men’s magazines.

Don’t tell me it’s all the fashion articles that drive men away. Men’s magazines also feature expensive fashion.

Part of the reason for these differences is although women’s magazines have longer stories about more serious subjects, those don’t appear as often as they do in men’s magazines, as the New Republic writer points out. Esquire is much more about longer stories than Elle is.

But there is something else there, and I’m not sure what it is. Why don’t men read or write for women’s magazines? Why don’t women’s magazines win as many awards for writing?

I suppose it offshoots from the idea that men’s topics are everyone’s topics, but women’s topics are just for the ladies.

What do you think? What’s the deal with women’s magazines?

  1. safia said:

    IMHO Women’s mags are all about selling – I never buy or read them now, but used to subscribe to Vogue in the 80s! When I pick up a glossy at my mum’s now, I always regret it. I wonder, do they generally contain more ads than men’s mags?

    • This is just a guess, but I think some women’s magazines (like Vogue) have more pages, therefore more ads. I don’t know if there are more ads per page number though.

  2. mark said:

    This is merely a guess. Mens magazine articles focus on fixing or improving yourself while womens magazine articles focus on creating or improving relationships. What straight man ever wanted to talk about relationships?!?

    • Women’s magazines also have self-help articles and ways to improve your life (not having to do with a relationship).

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