"Gossip" magazines - as bad as Lad's Mags/Page 3?

(45 Posts)

So the recent campaigns against Page 3 and Lad's Mags are fantastic and definitely long overdue. But I want to know why no-one seems to want to make a fuss about women's "gossip" magazines.

I've just popped to my corner shop and there, staring out at me from the magazine racks are "Forced to abort my baby after my dad raped me" and similar hideousness. And "Chantelle's binge eating shame" showing some apparent celebrity with a tiny bulge of a belly lamenting how "enormously fat" she is.

I mean, WTAF?!?! My 8yo reads just fine. I'm just waiting to be asked what rape is, and then asked why a daddy would ever do that. And to be asked if that lady is really fat, Mummy?

Not to mention how triggering it must be for survivors of rape and sexual assault when there's a story about it in luminous orange text on the cover of at least one magazine each week. Or for people with eating disorders to be told that normal-sized women are appallingly obese.

I think I'd rather have the scantily-clad women, to be honest. Yes, we all know these rags aren't worth the paper they're printed on, but neither are Lad's Mags. And the messages are still out there, at child-height, for them to read.

Janet12345 Tue 08-Oct-13 03:00:58

I have to say I don't like these magazines either they strike me as just as damaging as the men's mags or the page 3 insert. It would be good if we could add them to the list of magazines to get removed from stores. Is that something we can request from the guys running the campaign ?

I dread to think what my little ones will think when they are old enough to read and they saw them...

SeaSickSal Sun 06-Oct-13 22:03:33

It is a downmarket magazine, it's certainly not Tatler or Vanity Fair. And Darkest Eyes I didn't say that all people who weren't well educated read it, but it is aimed at that type of market.

Regardless, I saw the cover of one of these magazines today and the stories were about a woman who escaped from an abusive relationship, a woman who had complications from gastric band surgery, a surrogate mother and a mother who was told to return the compensation she had received for her son's disability when he died.

I don't think magazines which print things like this in an accessible way. They discuss issues which are relevant to a lot of women and normally in a positive way which emphasizes the ability women have to move on from these problems and better their lives.

I really don't see the problem with them at all.

Darkesteyes Sun 06-Oct-13 18:09:22
Darkesteyes Sun 06-Oct-13 01:16:36

Debris thats a good point. In a way ive stopped noticing a lot of the ads. I have noticed a bit of victim blaming this month though. In an article on dating there is a statement about how, if you are not a trusting person you will attract untrustworthy men confused i was shock

DebrisSlide Sun 06-Oct-13 01:09:33

Darekesteyes, I read Psychologies when it first came out. I stopped subscribing when I spotted the dichotomy between the "be whoever you want to be" articles and the make up ads, in particular. I may be mis-remembering the cosmetic surgery ads.

How do you square that circle?

Darkesteyes Sun 06-Oct-13 01:01:29

seasick sal ive just posted in a thread on AIBU pointing out that as a working class woman ive always felt welcome on this board.
I felt i had to point this out as there were women on the thread who said they didnt feel able to post on this board as it strikes them as a bit middle class.

So after ive just been defending this board on another board ive now seen some of the comments here.
Ive not been to university Im dyscalculic so couldnt get GCSE Maths. But i dont think of myself as "downmarket" And i certainly hope other women dont think of themselves that way.
I read Red and Psychologies I cant stand mags like Womans Own. Ive always loved to read From "chick lit" to crime thrillers to erotic fiction (NOT 50 Shades)
Feeling a bit disappointed now.

SeaSickSal Sun 06-Oct-13 00:37:41

Annie yes, of course you are right that there is an issue with items like this being accessible to children or that they can view distressing headlines, I do agree with that.

But I do think that there is a place for these magazines, they do discuss issues that are relevant to women and they do it in an accessible way. I don't really think there is anything wrong with women reading stories about problems other women have faced and how they've overcome them, I think it's quite a natural human urge to want to read about that sort of thing and can be quite empowering for readers.

DebrisSlide Sun 06-Oct-13 00:19:50

That was a ramble, sorry.

I do agree that the front covers are appalling and sensationalist.Of course, if there wasn't so much violence against women and children....

Actually, if the men's mags started putting stories about men being violent towards men (the majority of violence in our country) in the same style, then perhaps it would start being noted.

DebrisSlide Sun 06-Oct-13 00:14:46

It's all judging, judging, judging as far as the "celebs" are concerned. If everyone decided that they were comfortable in their own skin, accepted difference and didn't feel that they have to have a fucking opinion on another person's random qualities based on next to nothing every 50 seconds, then the likes of these magazines, X Factor, AIBU etc wouldn't be here. (I do sometimes think of MN as like a massive Women's Proper Conduct and Attire Police Force.)

That said, I do agree with SeaSickSal - they do give many people a sense of understanding and solidarity that they might not get elsewhere. My Mum used to get Woman back in the pre-sensational days and my Dad always used to read the problem page. It didn't help much, viewing their relationship at the time, but it was interesting that he was interested, iyswim. In fact, I would suggest that, given that men are often quoted as lacking any public outlet for internal issues and seem to flock to MN as a last resort, an agony aunt/uncle website for men would be a sure-fire winner.

Being "highbrow" has nothing to do with it, Sal. And I'm afraid that I put protecting my daughters from reading horrible sensationalist headlines about rape and incest above "accessibility" about these issues. There has to be a better way to help get information out to the less educated that doesn't involve me having to explain what rape is to my 8yo.

SeaSickSal Sat 05-Oct-13 23:55:19

Annie if you are, for example, a young mother with a fairly poor standard of education who doesn't read books and doesn't have access to the net where do you think you would find out about situations like domestic violence?

An awful lot of it touches on the type of things that are discussed on this board but aimed at a different group of people. An awful lot of the stories are about things like people who have reported childhood sexual abuse years later and secured a conviction and women who have escaped domestic violence. Really in a way they bring a lot of women's issues to an audience which otherwise might not have much exposure to them.

Yes the sensationalism and presentation of it is sometimes distasteful, but at the same time they do deal with these issues in a way which makes them accessible, possibly to people who might well be the most in need of hearing how other women have coped with such situations. I don't think you should necessarily dismiss something just because it's not highbrow.

kim147 Sat 05-Oct-13 23:47:53

It's strange that there's no real equivalent for men - even with real life "life" stories in such as DV and sexual abuse.

Why is there such a demand? (even if the market is falling)

I disagree Sal, I can't see how making a sensationalist story about sexual violence, and plastering headlines about it in lurid pink is anything other than sick voyeurism. How can these stories possibly help anyone in a similar situation in any practical way.

SeaSickSal Sat 05-Oct-13 23:24:11

Closer actually had a really horrible picture of Chantelle on the front this week. She was running along the beach and had the figure of a woman who has had a baby in the last 18 months. She had a few stretch marks on her boobs and they were a little lose as was her stomach. There was this awful headline like 'Chantelle's body nightmare'. It was an unflattering photo but really she looked healthy and normal - far better than when she had her eating disorder.

Re the 'My Dad raped me and I aborted his baby' magazine's like Take a Break and That's Life. I don't really agree there is a problem with these. We're not all university professors and really a lot of these magazines do discuss women's issues in a way which is accessible to women who might not have much of an education. Yes they are sensationalised but they do deal with issues like domestic violence and sexual abuse and people who have overcome these challenges in their own lives and I think that they appeal to their readers because they can to some degree relate the stories they read to problems they face in their own lives. I don't think they should necessarily be dismissed because they are aimed at a downmarket audience.

The internal content of these magazines is less of a concern for me. Adults are free to choose their own reading matter, as dubious as I may find it.

My concern with the gossip mags is the same as my concern with lads mags; that they are out on display for children to see with cover content which is completely inappropriate for children.

MooncupGoddess Sat 05-Oct-13 22:34:55

It's the faux concern that gets me. At the checkout the other day I saw Woman's Own with the cover story 'Dawn puts on weight - friends are worried', complete with obligatory papped photo of celeb nipping out for milk. How vile is that?

The real life stories in Take a Break etc are actually much kinder - OK they are sensationalist and obsessed with sex/reproduction but they usually have an upbeat ending, major on the importance of friends and family and showcase lots of ordinary people without sneering at their uncoolness.

I'm glad it's not just me then.

There seems to be some horrible story of sexual abuse on the front of every one, and that's the bit I find worst. Who on earth thinks it's okay to put these things where children can read them?

NoComet Sat 05-Oct-13 22:09:05

Personally I think the gossip mag headlines are far worse than lads mag.

At 6-7 my good reader DD2 would have just ignored porn, but My brother killed my baby, raped by my father, 101 ways to lose weight in lurid mink and orange. I'm certain she must of read them and felt uncomfortable. Words like baby, father, child leap out at DCs.

She wouldn't have say anything and I don't know when she'd know what rape meant, but I'm absolutely certain this junk enters her head and is added to all the celeb rubbish she gets as a pre teen now.

And like many young girls who want to fit in with their peer group she's not one to discuss such things with mum.

DD1 would, but DD1 isn't likely to think that diets, fashion and BFs are that important either.

BillyBanter Sat 05-Oct-13 22:01:49

I've very little experience of them bar seeing the front pages in the newsagents and browsing through them maybe 5 times in my life.

I have mixed feelings about the true story bits but the 'this celeb is too fat. this celeb did a diet! this celeb is now painfully thin. Fucking awful stuff. No better than this girl has her tits out!

Darkesteyes Sat 05-Oct-13 21:58:41

YY Basil Nail on head. People can talk to tweet celebs on Twitter and sometimes they reply so why buy a celeb/gossip mag when you can practically talk to them directly.

kim147 Sat 05-Oct-13 21:57:23

I think it's because people are looking at the DM sidebar of shame. Celebrities, celebrities in bikinis, on a diet, should be on a diet, too thin, too fat, too old, wrong clothes, too little clothes etc.

BasilBabyEater Sat 05-Oct-13 21:55:26

Darkest is that because people are getting their "fix" from the internet now?

Like men with porn?

BasilBabyEater Sat 05-Oct-13 21:54:43

I used to have a subscription to Glamour magazine, for some reason. grin

They always refer to slebs by t heir first name only, in this really familiar way as if they're our chums. And they have this chatty, confiding style which draws you in and makes you feel like you're sitting in a girly supper exchanging confidences.

It is extremely clever marketing and if I were a conspiracy theorist I would posit that it's all designed to make women stupid and to draw our attention away from the things which actually matter. However I'm not, so I submit that it's designed to make money by making women feel like they're being talked to directly by the global corporations which produce this rubbish. It's escapism, faux-support and gossip all in one. Women's magazines are remarkable products, before the internet they had the most intimate relationship with their readers and the most loyal and connected readership. I don't know if that's still the case in the world of Twitter and FB where brands can communicate directly with their consumers now.

Darkesteyes Sat 05-Oct-13 21:52:58

whatdoesittake48

Sales of womens weekly gossip titles have been going down year on year.

So you see people ARE stopping buying them.

www.pressgazette.co.uk/magazine-abc-sales-figures-first-half-2013-all-press-gazettes-coverage

YoniTime Sat 05-Oct-13 21:48:16

Thanks for explaining Unicorns - I can sort of see the appeal if you see it as "news about people I know." Which all celebrity gossip is about I guess except we don't really know those people and what is going on in their lives it just feels that way.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now