When being faced with a boring, 10,000 word dissertation proposal and being given the option to choose my own topic, I did just that. I did an English degree, but want to pursue a career in journalism, so chose to do my dissertation on magazines, comparing men and women. I won’t go into the boring nitty gritty of it all, as I’m sure no one wants to read 10,000 words on it, but what I found was pretty interesting.
Most women love magazines, and there are a lot of them for us out there to read. Probably because we can read all the girly ones like Cosmo and Glamour, as well as the more gossipy ones like Heat and OK! The bottom line is, is that we care more about gossip and the boring celeb news than men, we like to know what the latest fashion is and we trust the advice that we are given. Women see magazines as more of a leisure activity. If we’re going for a coffee, or having our haircut or ‘just need time to chill‘ then it is likely that we will pick up a magazine and read it. A lot of us will spend quite a lot of time flicking through it and enjoy the time that we do. I personally love reading magazines. It gives you time to chill out, be updated in the fashion world and most importantly, relate to other people who are thinking the same thing as you.
The important thing that differs about women and them reading magazines, is that we really trust and appreciate the editors of them. If Cosmo says that leopard print is in fashion, then we agree that leopard print is in fashion. If Glamour says that Greece is the best summer holiday this year, we are likely to want to go to Greece. When they offer career advice, we take it. They are made up of a whole attitude of being the reader’s friend, and that’s because we can relate to and trust the people who are writing it. They have experience, and we want to read it. When we sit down and read a mag, a relationship is built between the producer and the consumer.
However, for men, it’s quite different. Up until the 90’s men didn’t really read magazines. Well, they did, but not general lifestyle magazines like Glamour and Heat because they didn’t think they could find a magazine to suit a general ‘lifestyle’ of men. It all came down to specialized magazines, about fishing or computers or Golf or Men’s Health. Men would read a magazine on a topic that they wanted to know more about to get information of that specialized topic. The persona of a ‘man’ prior to these ‘Lads Mags’ was built around being a gentlemen. However in the 90’s when Loaded magazine was founded and launched, it took the persona of a man to a new level, a ‘LAD’. The magazine was based around everything that men loved – football, women, humour, etc. The founders called it what would be inside their head if you shook it out. They began the same idea of addressing the reader as a ‘mate’ rather than a ‘friend’ and this ‘laddy’ tone was introduced.
So there are both lifestyle magazines for women – Cosmo, and lifestyle magazines for men – Loaded. SO why do men still not like the process of sitting down and enjoying a magazine. The main reason, is because men read magazines for information finding aspects, which is why specialist magazines are usually more popular. That is not to say they don’t read the general lifestyle magazines, but they are looking for information rather than emotion. The layout and designs of men’s mags aren’t as eye catching and bold, as that is not essential to the experience. Despite all the efforts, men don’t see lads mags as a true ‘mate’ and don’t always trust everything that is said in them. They don’t take what FHM says as truth, and believe what they want to believe. If they don’t like it, they won’t wear it, no matter how much the mag says that it is ‘IN’ this season. It’s hard to get men to create a trusted relationship with a magazine, like women have with Cosmopolitan.
So why do women love magazines? Because they relate to them like a friend, they enjoy spending time sitting down to read a magazine. Men on the other hand, are more interested in what they get out of the magazine, and wouldn’t take half an hour out their day just to sit down and read it.