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Where are the women's magazines?

Updated on May 26, 2012
Women's lib[eration] march from Farrugut Sq[uare] to Layfette [i.e., Lafayette] P[ar]k 26 August 1970
Women's lib[eration] march from Farrugut Sq[uare] to Layfette [i.e., Lafayette] P[ar]k 26 August 1970 | Source


“Where are the women's magazines?”

It was a question that would bemuse, bemuddle, or outright annoy a great many book store clerks in my younger years.

They would point to the area marked "Women's Magazines," and there on the shelves would be Woman's Day, Better Homes and Gardens, and any number of crafting magazines.

“No, no,” I would argue. “Look” - and I’d point to the "Men's Magazines," which consisted of magazines in plastic wrap with brown paper protecting everything but the title from the prying eyes of children. Playboy. Hustler. Penthouse. More tame magazines, too, like Details or Maxim. Maybe a few copies of Scientific American thrown into the mix on the lower shelves of the area.

“Now where are the women's magazines?” I’d ask.

And they would, sheepishly most of the time, point to the lone stack of Playgirls, sitting alone on a top rack, 3 or 4 at most, and all of them almost hidden from view.

What does it say to us about society if women’s magazines are those that are service based, yet men’s interests are expected to be prurient?

I have a poster up on my wall in my bedroom, and it’s of this famous quote:


Because women's work is never done and is underpaid or unpaid or boring or repetitious and we're the first to get fired and what we look like is more important than what we do and if we get raped it's our fault and if we get beaten we must have provoked it and if we raise our voices we're nagging bitches and if we enjoy sex we're nymphos and if we don't we're frigid and if we love women it's because we can't get a "real" man and if we ask our doctor too many questions we're neurotic and/or pushy and if we expect childcare we're selfish and if we stand up for our rights we're aggressive and "unfeminine" and if we don't we're typical weak females and if we want to get married we're out to trap a man and if we don't we're unnatural and because we still can't get an adequate safe contraceptive but men can walk on the moon and if we can't cope or don't want a pregnancy we're made to feel guilty about abortion and...for lots of other reasons we are part of the women's liberation movement. ~Author unknown, quoted in The Torch, 14 September 1987

And somehow it rings true when I think about the problem with the magazines, and how it shows the bigger problem in society. Women aren’t considered to have the same wants or needs as men, and if we do, then it’s “wrong” somehow that we have them. We should be embarrassed. We should think about sewing and knitting and not worry our silly little heads over the fact that we’re being viewed as objects of amusement and enjoyment, yet we shouldn’t do the same to the opposite sex.

I’m not arguing against the men’s magazines, don’t misunderstand me. I’m arguing for the women’s magazines. Why don’t we allow ourselves to have the same expectations? Why don’t we allow ourselves to just be what we are and enjoy it? I hate to go back to clichés, but if it’s good for the goose, it’s good for the gander. So let’s take a gander at those magazines and see some men!

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      Julie 5 years ago

      I agree there should be more magazines for women. At least we have firemen calendars and Erotica. Although, if we dare read books that promote sexuality, we are ridiculed. One of Bill Maher's New Rules this week was to remind the women reading FIFTY SHADES OF GRAY that there was a real penis in bed with them.