Euromaidan does not exist in glossy magazines
Women’s publications create an imaginary world of beauty with no place for revolutions. But is this position correct? Should specialized publications distance themselves entirely from today’s events?
Nowadays, when events in the country have reached such a scale, it is surprising that people do not pay attention to them or treat them as something local or something that does not concern them. It’s also amazing when the posts of acquaintances with cats or dogs continue to appear on Facebook. Of course, not everyone should turn their account into a political news repeater. Still, outright distancing seems at least strange (it should be said that sometimes such ignorance is a manifestation of a moral position). The same applies to some media. These are not TV channels or sites that manipulatively cover events and do not provide a complete picture. Now we are talking about publications that should not be affected by circumstances – these are women’s glossy magazines and women’s websites. Reading their content, you will never guess what is happening in the country – because it seems that time stops here. The world can change as you like, but the themes of gloss remain the same: women’s beauty and health, relationships with men, family and children, home and cooking, and sometimes psychology. On women’s websites, the picture is the same: whatever the events in the country, the main secrets are fixing the hair in the cold season and how to keep the passion in a relationship when it’s cold outside. Is this a logical state of affairs? Or, perhaps, in a situation where revolutionary events are taking place in the country with human casualties, even specialized resources would like to expect at least some response?
Zhanna Lavrova, editor-in-chief of “Nataly” media, talks about her vision of the situation: “Women’s magazine is an entertaining publication. We have no goal to find a boiling point, to inflame passions. It’s a magazine of entertainment and recreation: for a girl or a woman to come home, open the magazine and relax.” As Ms. Lavrova explained, the point is not that the editorial office is “above the battle” but that the publication has other tasks, which are even recorded in the registration certificate: it says that this publication is for leisure. Therefore, events such as Euromaidan cannot appear on the magazine’s pages – there are informational and political media for that.
Olena Skachko, editor-in-chief of Edinstvennaya magazine, has a similar position. According to her, the current events in the country are divisive. They divide society, so writing about them in a women’s magazine again confronts people. And the task of a women’s magazine (at least, “Edinstvennaya”) is to unite people and seek common values.
However, in this case, the question arises whether the publication does not create a vacuum, a “pink world” without “cataclysms,” in which it draws its reader? “The pink world also has a right to exist,” says Olena Skachko. For some reason, it is not customary in Ukraine to add such a feature as favorable to the scale of values. What you call the pink world can also be called positive thinking. The editor of “Edinstvennaya” emphasizes that the absence of politics in the magazine’s pages is not a vacuum. Still, life in the “field of absolute values” and politics do not belong to such values: “We have no right to betray our readers. I believe that the function of a women’s magazine is to unite, support, and give hope and faith in one’s strength.”
The editors of the magazines also reminded us about the technology of preparing monthly magazines, which does not allow them to react quickly to events. As a rule, the issue is prepared in three months, so it is not always possible to predict the topic’s relevance. On the other hand, current large-scale events have already had a profound effect on society, which is unlikely to remain the same. Is it possible to integrate materials that would be indirectly related to the topic that worries you the most? Tetyana Petkova, editor-in-chief of the Women’s Magazine, thinks about this: “Of course, women’s magazines are not bought to find new comments on the political situation. But we planned the material about the civil position, how it arises, how it manifests itself, and how people without a civil position live. “Ms. Petkova explained that the editorial office is looking for relevant topics relevant to such events – for example, at the beginning of the Euromaidan, a previously published material on how to behave in the crowd was posted on the website. “We have shown that we are not on the Maidan because we are not a political publication, but we cover in terms of human reactions. Not noticing what is happening in the country, it is necessary to live on Mars, “- said Tatiana Petkova.
Glossy magazines and social problems?
The compatibility of Euromaidan and women’s magazines raises questions about the relevance of the emergence of serious social issues in the glossy pages. Foreign journalists have already addressed this topic. So, last year the New Republic website published the article “Can women’s magazines do serious journalism?”, which provoked blog reviews. The author wrote about the media community’s underestimation of women’s journalism. He noted that articles from women’s magazines rarely won awards or prizes in journalism, even awards from a specialized organization, the American Society of Magazine Editors. Even if a severe topic appears in a woman’s gloss, it is not considered as significant as, for example, those published in GQ or Esquire. The author gives examples of coverage of social issues in the gloss, which remained ignored. In particular, Marie Claire’s article on the marriage crisis in China (where there are many more unmarried men than women due to gender policy), Vogue’s brothers-in-law politicians Julian and Joaquin Castro in Vogue, The Big Lung Cancer Business (also Marie Claire), “Violence in a relationship: the secret that kills four women every day” (Glamor), “A woman who survived Hurricane Sandy tells her story“(Women’s Health).
Is there a place for social issues in Ukrainian women’s magazines? Mostly such topics appear, and here domestic publications operate on a similar principle as foreign ones – focusing on issues directly related to women’s roles. According to Olena Skachko, Edinstvennaya writes about the problem of fertility, which is closely associated with the primary function of women in society: “Our magazine is the first in Ukraine, which openly raised social issues on its pages, without being afraid to show a not always beautiful picture. We wrote about children with serious diagnoses, serious illnesses, large families, and their problems. “Natalie also focuses on social issues close to women, such as the fate of Chornobyl women. “Women’s Magazine” (which pays attention to psychology in its pages) published an article on charity with an analytical focus and raised issues of quality of education and new professions.
But even if there is one serious article in the issue, in most cases, buyers will see a model or actress on the cover, and half of the magazine will talk about cosmetics or gossip about star couples. Of course, these topics should also be present, but now the balance has shifted significantly in favor of the latter. According to the author of the article on Levo League, the problem is that women’s magazines should be sold – and this requires stars on the cover and a lot of advertising. Decades ago, more serious topics could be found in women’s magazines, but later “advertisements on the back of the magazine moved forward and integrated into magazines. With them came a change in the perception of the magazine – from a bearer of culture, he became a bearer of consumer culture.
So, is it justified to have serious topics in women’s gloss, especially those that intersect with politics? If you consider psychology, we can assume that many people are looking for emotional salvation in the magazine. The same can be said about humorous programs or TV series – those media outlets where there are no “squares” (if we talk about current events). And this is understandable: a person can not constantly take serious information, read analytics and even news, which today are often just scary. It all leads to depletion of the nervous system. Therefore, the viewer needs lighter content. In addition, the main argument against the “square” topics in the gloss is that the reader, buying the publication, do not expect to see something like it.
On the other hand, women’s magazines constantly claim on their pages that they want to become best friends with their readers and, most importantly, write about what worries them the most. And many girls and women are apprehensive about the current events. The situation has long gone beyond politics – it is more about value choices. Therefore, constantly ignoring such critical processes is like artificially narrowing the reader’s interests, who a priori should not be interested in global topics.
Of course, the concept of the publication may not allow revealing specific topics, but you can always find your aspect because the current processes are multifaceted. For example, in the February issue of Harper’s Bazaar, the Young Fashion Talent Contest winners present their designer T-shirts, and some of them have a playground theme. “My T-shirt has a wounded heart that is bleeding. It lives because I am worried about everything that happened at the end of the year with Ukraine, “Dina Linnik said. This is a manifestation of the human reaction to the event – without analytics, which would be inappropriate here. And the complete disregard for today’s events calls into question the thesis that the magazine is the “best friend” of the reader.