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Women's magazines (are they really just for women?)

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  • Women's magazines (are they really just for women?)

    A bit of an unusual choice of publication for me to write about, I know, but just in case you do find any women's magazines from the DYR era... My late mother not surprisingly used to read them back in our decades of relevance (well, why else would she buy them for?) As she was more mature in her years, she often went for Chat, Take a Break and My Weekly for over ten years, but also sometimes she went for Woman and Woman's Own; she often went for DC Thomson publications as they catered more for the middle-aged person than IPC or Bauer does. Just like today's newspaper is tomorrow's fish and chip wrapper, it seems to me that this week's women's magazine is actually next week's doctor's surgery or hairdresser's read-while-you-wait publication before your name is called. One glimpse to an average Woman's Own and one sees the sexism before oneself - the models on the fashion pages are enough to get excited about no less - here she is in leggings; here she is wearing a denim skirt; here she is wanting a permanent contract with a modelling agency, etc.

    The agony aunt pages (the Virginia Ironside era at least) are full of letters from women with one thing on their mind in which ironically, they always seem to think that it is only men think of it all the time; and the medical pages are probably the reason why women live longer than men, and also the indication that women are more likely to visit the doctor if they have anything wrong with them. (I think I know why they are called "Agony" Aunts methinks). Remember the TV Times (when it was ITV and Channel 4 only) when they had Katie Boyle before Dr Miriam Stoppard replaced her circa 1988? My mother had even kept the edition of Woman's Own dated the week that I was born for goodness sake - it was only 14p when I was born and I was only eight pounds back then myself.

    My point is that it is not just women that needs TLC; men do as well. We have just had International Men's Day on 19th November; such a fuss is made of its female counterpart in March. Aren't we supposed to be equal in society? Personally, I wouldn't mind a male version of these magazines. Not some sexist rubbish like Nuts or Zoo but literally a male version of those magazines, or would that be far too feminine, I wonder? If I had problems with relationships, or wanted to know about medical issues if I was ill, then hiding it inside women-only publications isn't going to do much good, especially if a couple consists of both a man and a woman - it does take two to tango, doesn't it? Thank goodness for Relate, the Samaritans and medical dictionaries. But then again, I have purchased a few women's magazines myself from the 1970s and 1980s on eBay for the benefit of how life was back then, and what do we get on the back cover? Adverts for Rothmans and John Player Special cigarettes, contradicting the health messages inside the book. If we're lucky, the back page advert would be for Plumb's stretch covers a la a 22p My Weekly in the latter half of 1986. Make up your mind!

    It also makes me think that readers of Viz are also readers of women's magazines, hence the Top Tip parodies; it made me think how on earth do these women readers discover that these tips actually work - do they have a science laboratory in their kitchen trying all these out, or did they actually happen to find all this out by accident, I wonder? My Weekly was in the family home for so many years that I thought that Life and the Wadhams was the next big thing after Coronation Street, just before we get to page 54 and the Between Ourselves page, and the cat ad dog cartoon caption. As a man I have found them almost too informative, and in many ways, the health pages are just as much relevant to males as to females. It does make me think that this is why men are often embarrassed to visit the doctor when they find something wrong with them, and it shouldn't be like this. Why should I have been embarrassed when I took Textiles as a GCSE option - something associated more with females such as sewing? It's a shame that DC Thomson had closed the Weekly News down - I know it was a newspaper, but still...

    They do make good reading though, even if they are slightly biased...

    I've everything I need to keep me satisfied
    There's nothing you can do to make me change my mind
    I'm having so much fun
    My lucky number's one
    Ah! Oh! Ah! Oh!

  • #2
    My Mother used to get Woman's Own once in awhile, usually for a recipe I think (could be wrong). About all I ever noticed about most of these magazines was the use of the word 'perfect' over and over, especially on the cover. I think I'm allergic to the word and thus most of these magazines... look through once, read maybe one or two articles, and then out they go. I love magazines, but mostly went in for music related and 'cult' tv things. I have a small number of '60s fashion magazines to go with old Rave, Pop Weekly, and Beat Instrumental I got into collecting for awhile.
    My virtual jigsaws:


    • #3
      Yeah mum buys womans own all the time cant remember a time when she didnt buy it.

      Now and again id read stories from it too.