I travel often. Hell, it’s my favorite thing in the whooole wide world. With this comes buying overpriced magazines to entertain me in waiting rooms. It’s when I feel all philanthropic and stuff for purchasing an honest-to-God physical print of something. Who pays for journalism anymore? Silly rabbits.
And when I go to buy them, I am gender-crossing; I am gender-crossing inside a magazine store. I feel as awkward as when as a 5’10 (1.78 c.m. for the rest of the planet) person I stumble into the petite section of a clothing store. It just makes me giggle.
But back in the magazine shop: I get disapproving stares. I must be confused! Poor, lady me… if I am supposed to be on the OTHER side of the shop. I mean I am traveling alone too… who do I think I am? The only people who travel alone are businessmen or mules. As a Colombian I am already the latter, of course. I am a gender-crossing, confused, alone, mule.
And this is all because apparently all my favorite magazines were not written for me. I usually want to read: The Economist, Wired, National Geographic, Scientific America, New Yorker, Foreign Policy… Pretty gender-neutral you may think. Yet they are nested amongst all the other testosterone-heavy publications such as Esquire, Playboy, or Maxim. They are part of the men’s section, and therefore not intended for my pretty eyes.
If I want to be the lady that I am, my options are all very bright pink: Cosmopolitan, Vogue, Vanity Fair, Home & Garden, Elle, Marie Claire, Motherhood, and the list goes on. All mansplained to me in a well-lit corner of the shop: All the beautiful airbrushed women just waiting for my self-loathing. Eeek no thanks.
Now, before magazine peeps jump out at me, I understand the concept of niche publications: there are magazines targeted to women, and magazines for the men. My question is, why is any niche publication on any substantial topic by default a male publication?
Not to discount women’s magazines. As an article on the Huffington Post noted, because of the magazine that articles are published in, there is a default bias of them being considered either better or worse journalism. Take a look! It’s fun to play the game of what-was-this-published-in. It is an interesting experiment, to see whether our bias about which publication something appears in makes it be superior or inferior journalism. Anything girly must be fluff. I have to admit that I am a perfect victim of this. If your cover is about how to be thin, sex tips and makeup, I will likely not buy the publication to find the human interest piece within the cover.
Yet all of the biases will continue if the intellectual silos continues as well. The argument against this may be that, according to any figure, the publications mentioned above are bought more by males than females ( I am actually not sure of this. Just guessing.) Even if the publication is not targeted this way. Yet it will probably continue to be so if women are told that these are not for them. I know I don’t want to read Maxim… but if someone puts Wired in the same category, and I had never heard of it, I would probably stay clear of it too. The silos grows with the perpetuation of stereotypes. My petition is this: ALL AIRPORTS OF THE WORLD please mix up your magazine racks. Or at least label them accordingly. I have a feeling that this all began as a default if-its-not-a-women’s-magazine-it-must-be-a-men’s-one. Nothing is so binary. Especially interests. By: Andrea Alarcon