Which seems a bit unfair to Red magazine, because it’s not like it stands alone in being shite. Every single women’s magazine that I picked up or flicked through whilst back in the UK was equally, if not more, shite than Red. I only pick on Red because it was recommended to me and so was the one I bought despite being a bit dubious when I looked at the cover.
I asked Twitter a while back which women’s magazines were worth bothering with and was told that Red was good. Great in fact. Some professed to loving it.
I made myself a mental note to have a look when back home.
I was dubious when I found it. It didn’t look any different to rest of the tripe on the news stand and it was giving away a free lipstick/balm thingumy which is never a great sign in my books. I kept the recommendations I had received in mind however. Maybe it would be awesome despite it’s cover.
I was game to try it.
Prepared to be won over.
I love magazines, love having it physically in my hand, something to read, short articles about things of interest. Funny, sad, thought provoking, interesting. However I didn’t want to commit to a years subscription without having a look first.
Thank God I didn’t.
I had to flick through 70 pages of adverts, 70 pages of beyond perfect, photoshopped images of women selling ways to make you look and smell better, before I got to the first article. Yes okay, they had interspersed it with an editors letter, a letter page and contributors page, but seriously? 70?
In whole, Red holds 184 pages of adverts in a 308 page magazine, leaving 124 pages, less than half, for articles.
But what of the articles? They must have made up for it, right? I mean people love this magazine. It’s a big seller. Twitter told me to buy it.
Well, umm, no. Despite the fact that I admittedly got bored of trying to find the articles amongst the adverts towards the end and was just skim reading, there was a grand total of 3 articles that I enjoyed.
A story about the woman behind uncovering the MP scandal, an amusing, column style article about people that bring their mobile phones to dinner, and another column style article about how the kitchen of a home changes through the years.
That was 4 pages out of 308.
Worth the whopping £3.50?
I think not.
But then again, perhaps I’m not really Reds intended audience having little patience for endless articles about how to make yourself thinner and prettier and I’m not a great lover of real life stories or celebratory interviews, all of which makes up, along with the inevitable shopping pages which I loath, the vast bulk of the magazine.
The problem is that Red is not a stand alone magazine. It is just one of many all churning out the same crap about, looks, appearance, beauty, clothes, make up and celebrites.
All women’s magazines are like this.
What I wanted, when I wandered into WHSmiths that day, was a magazine of interest. Something that cares not about the looks and appearance of its readers but gives them articles that make them think, laugh, gape in wonder or grit their teeth in anger. Something interesting, appealing, inteligent and worth the money.
But I found nothing of the sort.
I looked at the mens magazine section but it was all tits and bikes. I picked up Private Eye and Spectator which I enjoy to a point. I picked up Time and National Geographic which again I enjoy to a point. But I realised that what I really wanted didn’t exist. Or at least I didn’t find it.
Which got me thinking…what would I like to see in a magazine?
Something that combines the likes of Spectator and Private Eye (for satire), Time (for ‘behind the news’ stories), National Geographic (for interesting travel, environment related stories) and adds some column style articles of the likes you find in the Sunday paper magazines, some techy/science stories, reviews of the new gadget, books and DVDs worth a watch and perhaps a short story series.
Basically a general interest magazine that is…well… generally interesting.
Does it exist? Did I miss it?
Or have we been well and truly pigeon-holed into our respective ‘male: tits and cars’ ‘female: make up and shopping’ roles?
What about you, what would you like to see in a magazine, or are you happy with the ones you read?