I've always read women's magazines but my consumption has increased since I signed up for digital subscriptions. However, the titles and editions I read on a regular basis has changed.
As a child, I regularly flicked through my mum's Hello and OK! magazines. I always preferred Hello and got my introduction to gossip that way. I also used to read Mizz and Bliss, which were 'early teen' magazines but really and truly some of the content was a bit dodgy. I moved on to Elle Girl and then Teen Vogue when it started. I absolutely loved Elle Girl and that helped set the tone for the types of magazine I'd seek out later in life. I wanted to write for them so badly and thought it was brilliantly done so I was shocked when it was shut down. I think there's still a void in print magazine for teen girls (along with other forms of media for teens - I talked about television before- but thankfully publishing is still considering young people) but that's a story for another day.
Eventually, I started on the 'grown up' magazines. I didn't like the pure gossip rag mags like Heat and I didn't like the Cosmopolitan type magazines either. So, I naturally gravitated towards the fashion magazines. I became a regular reader of Marie Claire UK, Elle UK, and In Style UK. However, I started to also pick up the US versions and began to notice a difference between the UK and US/Canadian versions. This difference has become more and more pronounced as the years have progressed, so much so I rarely pick up UK editions these days. This difference is diversity.
In the US magazines, at least I can read the beauty pages and find recommendations for my skin tone or products suitable for my hair. This is rare in the UK magazines, which makes little sense to me as we do have a diverse population. Of course, it's a tiny island but there are women from various ethnic backgrounds who wouldn't mind seeing product recommendations for them or articles about people like them. To be fair, it has gotten a little better - there's often a feature with an ethnic model - but we still have a long way to go. Take the covers for instance (see the table below of the magazines I buy on a fairly regular basis). As you can see, with the exception of Jennifer Lopez and Jessica Alba, the UK magazine covers are pretty much devoid of any colour. Heck, Marie Claire UK doesn't even like people with any other colour hair than blonde by the looks of things. So far this year, all of their covers have featured blonde ladies (the pattern has not changed this month either - January Jones takes front and centre). Can you see why I'm reluctant to part with my money?
Another big difference I've found is the type of article found in each edition. I feel like the US versions are more optimistic and often have good careers advice and profiles of women doing interesting things. I also prefer their beauty sections (as noted above). However, the UK editions often pick up on cool trends earlier and are definitely more on point where the fashion is concerned. So, I suppose it depends what you want from your women's magazines. Do you want a more cultivated, fashion forward magazine - heavy on the pictures, light on the content - or do you want women's stories with a good dose of beauty of advice thrown in?
More recently, I've enjoyed beauty and lifestyle websites such as Into the Gloss, which I think is brilliant at showcasing a broad range of interesting women.
Overall, I prefer the US magazines but I'll pick up a UK edition if I like the cover star (for example, I was excited for the Elle UK with Rebel Wilson on the cover). I would say I'd love to know what the editors of the UK magazines think of this but I probably don't want to hear the answer considering the Vogue UK editor said black models don't sell covers - then again she also said there's no racism in the industry...
What do you think? What magazines do you buy - if any - or do you prefer online reading? What are your favourite lifestyle blogs and websites?