First Cleo, now Dolly – what does that mean for women’s media?

First, women’s magazine, Cleo finished production earlier this year. Now, teen mag Dolly has faced the same fate. Publisher Bauer Media Group confirmed the closing on Wednesday. Former Editor – and the youngest editor they ever had, Lisa Wilkinson said that the closure was “inevitable”, and put it down in part to the magazine not adapting to the digital age quick enough.

Dolly was a fairly large part of my life growing up, in a way. I read it from 14 to about 17 – the age target. I generally skipped over the model, celebrity and boy stuff. I read the Dolly Doctor and gained some fairly useful information from it. I read articles on things that,  weren’t talked about around me…. I’ll leave it at that. I also loved the career articles they had. I remember when I was about 17 – 18, I read about working in Marketing and I was obsessed with the idea of studying it – especially when I found out that it was available both in a town near where I live and through Open Training and Education Network (OTEN). It didn’t come into fruition, obviously (yet?), but, it peaked my interest, anyway.

 

Another iconic magazine has ended, now what? What does that mean for women’s media? Will print media survive at all? Will this give rise to more independent media outlets? Questions remain, but one thing seems to be certain – the media landscape is changing. Traditional media, without modification – can  no longer survive. I wonder if this also goes to content as well. Do teenage girls want more from their magazines? More of what, exactly?

I wonder whether the collapse of women’s magazines industry is partly due to simply the rise of the Internet. People don’t have to turn to magazines anymore for advice on sex, relationships or even celebrity gossip. It’s all on – line, including social media (following celebrities on Instagram, liking the Pages on Facebook, etc). Yet, digital media hasn’t been totally immune from being shut down, either. In March last year, women’s site The Hoopla created by ABC’s Wendy Harmer announced closing down the site, citing tough competition from the likes of Newscorp, according to women’s site, Mumbrella.

 

So, what now? Maybe media outlets, bloggers, etc who’s target is women need to change their whole approach – the media types (i.e. incorporating print with digital), but also content – what do women – particularly young women – want to read? Times are definitely changing. Maybe attitudes and demands are changing, so are needs, wants, values of women around the world – particularly the West. The question is how can a media organisation or independent blog/ site creator create content that suits these changes, because somewhere along the line, wants are not being met, at least from what I see.

Anyway. I’ll leave further speculation to others.

 

Did you read Dolly? What did you get out of it? Feel free to share your experiences in the coments. 

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Feminism needs to advocate for ALL women – including ATSI victims of domestic violence

Former chairman of the Prime Minister’s Indigenous Advisory Council and Order of Australia, Warren Mundine wrote an piece in “The Australian” highlighting the pandemic of domestic violence in Aboriginal communities. He condemned the Aboriginal leaders for being silent on the epidemic and also punishing anyone who does speak out. Women who dare speak out about violence are shunned by their tribe and are often blamed for what happens to them. The perpetrators are often protected. For those who don’t know, this isn’t coming from a “white” columnist. Mundine is from the Bundajulung tribe – traditional inhabitants of of far North – East New South Wales and southern Queensland.

Mundine highlighted a number of cases, (which are really hard to find on Google, I might add), of where women were brutally attacked or killed by partners. One was near Bill Bell Park, Darwin and another incident was a woman who was constantly stomped on and kicked by her partner in Alice Springs. According to Mundine, the Bill Bell  Park murder occurred the same time Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull demanded an Royal Commission after ABC’s “Four Corners” aired a segment with concerning footage of events in the Don Dale Detention Centre in Alice Springs. These were not heard of in mainstream media. The only exception was Sky News’ (Australia), Matt Cunningham. Since then, Andrew Bolt from the Herald SunABC Radio National (RN) have spoken about Mundine’s article.

Nothing on Mamamia even though they have spoken about the domestic violence rate in Aboriginal communities last year… that article took me a while to find, by the way. From what I saw, there was nothing about the more recent murder near Bill Bell Park. Nothing from Clementine Ford’s site (should I be surprised?). I didn’t watch “Studio 10” today. Whether the panel mentioned it, I’m not sure.

This is quite an appalling record by many in the Australian media, especially by those who claim to champion the rights of women and children. As Mundine asked rhetorically:

Are people outraged only when white women are abused? Do only white children deserve protection from pedophiles? (sic)

 

So, why is there a lack of reporting? Most likely “cultural sensitivity” gone mad, not wanting to rock the boat and risk causing offence or demonise Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people collectively. Mundine had a blunt message about that in the article too:

Frankly, if Indigenous people remain silent we deserve to be tarnished. When communities protect abusers they are complicit in abuse.

 

Maybe a part of the problem is that Australia, maybe out of guilt, has over – romanticised Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture. But Mundine pointed out failings in Aboriginal communities in regards to domestic violence. For example, women who are abused are too often afraid to speak out because she runs the real risk of being blamed and ostracised by her own family, as well as the supporters of the perpetrator because the abuser and victim are often from the same tribe. Brave women have risked backlash by speaking out. These include: Jacinta Nampijimpa and Bess Nungarrayi Price, who condemned the number of children being abused in Aboriginal communities.

 

Yes, there is a lack of commentary and reporting from feminist bloggers/ journalists. I must admit, I’m not innocent in this. This is the first post that I’ve dealt with the issue of violence in Aboriginal communities in any sort of depth. It hasn’t been a topic that has entered my mind a lot. And, admittedly, the fear of seeming like stigamatising the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities has crossed my mind. But this can’t be seen as acceptable by anyone. It’s appalling and should be called out. I do commend Warren Mundine for speaking out about this. I doubt this would’ve been easy for him to expose, either. Hopefully, he’s sparked a much needed discussion about violence within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. A discussion that is long, long overdue.

 

What’s Happening to Women’s Media and Journalism?

I read with a degree of sadness that Anne Summers’ magazine (that I didn’t know existed until a few seconds ago), is stopping production and the company is in debt. This is one of a string of publications started by women that have stopped production. The site by Wendy Harmer, The Hoopla stopped making updating content last year. In March this year, women’s magazine, Cleo stopped production after 43 or so years.

Print journalism is obviously an industry that is declining, rather rapidly, with the Fairfax papers collapsing, and, according to the Institute of Public Affairs, an extra 20 to 30 Fairfax journalists were made redundant in the first week of May this year.  Fairfax papers are getting thinner and thinner as time goes on. The one produced in an area near where I live is anyway.

Back to to women’s media productions in particular – where do women fit in modern journalism/ on – line publications? Is the genre just too crowded? Too outdated? Is existing media outlets drowning the independent publications out? I do have one theory.

If you look at the post from Andrew Bolt’s blog about the collapse of Anne Summer’s magazine, just looking at the covers, you find a sort of regurgitation of information and commentary from other, more developed outlets, such as Mamamia. It gets to point that women’s media lacks variety in opinion, information and critique. There is a lack of debate on these sites; everyone agrees with one another. At least in Newscorp papers you do have a variety of socio – political opinion and a variety of topics covered:childcare, at – home shopping, same – sex marriage, you name it. These are topics that raise discussion, debate (sometimes heated) and a platform where different people from different opinions can get a medium that expresses their views. Where as, what does much women’s media cover? Sex? Men? Gay rights? Sure, these topics are talked about everywhere, but maybe that’s the problem. There’s too much of the same – old, same old.

 

It’s still doesn’t make it any easier though. Young women (and men), who want to pursue journalism and related fields should be able to. I’d hate to see the industry collapse, especially if it gets to a point where there is a lack of diversity in perspectives and publications that people can work for. The market for aspiring journalists, bloggers, writers, etc just seems to be getting smaller and smaller.

So, what do you think? What’s the future for women in media? Is the independent media/ blogosphere just too crowded? Let me know what you think.

Unrealistic Images of Weight Loss

Trigger Warning: eating disorders, body dissatisfaction. 

Due to recent events, I’ve put off posting about this, but I decided to go ahead with it since I promised my FB followers that I’d post about this from Mamamia. It’s about an unhealthy attitude toward a “healthy lifestyle”, and how it can become disordered eating and exercising.

Everyone knows that even too much of a good thing can be bad. When I read this, what struck me is how obsessed we are with so – called “health” and weight. . I mean, duh, it’s obvious, I know. But this article made it more… obvious I guess.

We all know that being overweight can harm your health. We know that not enough exercise or not eating healthy aren’t good. But I think the obsession in media and society is gone into overkill. Think of the amount of advertisements you see: Weight Watchers, Michelle Bridges’ 12 Week Body Transformation, Jenny Craig, Lite ‘n’ Easy, you get it. It’s a crowded market. What I realised, is that when you see, say the Lite’n’ easy, the people (usually women), are ALWAYS on the go.

In mainstream media and news outlets, the obsession’s the same. How many times have you seen Michelle Bridges being interviewed and NOT have anyone mention her fitness business or her time at TBL? I can’t think of ONE time. Can anyone else? The weight loss obsession

In fact, obsession over healthy eating is characterised as a type of eating disorder known as orthorexia. It isn’t yet a disorder recognised in the DSM V, but is still harmful. Excessive dieting can cause symptoms such as: irritability, depression and heightened risk of an eating disorder (bulimia, anorexia or binge – eating disorder).

 

We need healthy balance in our lives. Unfortunately, the media seems to make it a bit harder to do.

NOTE: If you suffer an eating disorder, or know someone who does and live in Australia, The Butterfly Foundation can be contacted by their Support Line: 1800 ED HOPE (1800 33 4673 or send an e – mail via here.

I Won’t Be Missing Cleo

I was in the local newsagent on Wednesday and checked out the magazines. The new (and final) issue of Cleo was out, as was the newest Cosmo. To be perfectly honest, what I found in Cleo didn’t surprise or excite me at all. I ended up getting just Cosmo. At least there’s still some interesting articles in it.

Look, Cleo played a major part in the history of feminism, women’s rights and women’s “sexual revolution” if you like for many years. I agree it’s made an impact. And, for the most part, it hasn’t been too bad. They even featured blogger Johanna Qualmann in an article about asexuality. I think it was one of the first major media outlets that I found a story on it. That was really good. They did talk about issues like sexism, careers and other topics really well.

But, in my opinion, six or more moths ago, I believe it fell off a cliff. I felt there were more ads in each issue and the articles just weren’t as good; it was the same old, same old. I didn’t find it empowering any more. I could barely relate to any of it any more.

 

The ending of the “Cleo” magazine is a loss, especially for journalism in this country. I do feel for all the staff, I really do and I do wish them the best for the future. I’m just disappointed on how “Cleo” ended up. I’m disappointed that such a revolutionary magazine that made such an impact in the ’70’s and ’80’s and even later ended the way it did. I’m disappointed that for the last couple of months, I didn’t even miss it when I did miss an issue. It’s a real shame. Now, wonder what the future of the media will be, especially for women.

Is Cleo Magazine Going To Stop Production?

Rumour has it (apparently not confirmed), that Australian women’s magazine, Cleo, will soon follow the footsteps of Zoo Weekly and stop production.

According to the Australian, the magazine closed it’s website in December last year and former users were diverted to the Cosmopolitan website, due to the Cleo website reportedly closing down.

 

Cleo was a trailblazer magazine in it’s launch in 1973; one of the most controversial and revolutionary features being the Sealed Section which, for the first time, featured nudity and frank discussions about women’s sexuality.

 

I wonder how it’ll affect feminism in the media, since the Cleo magazines did feature articles about sexism, sexual harassment in the workplace, and domestic violence, in the years I read the magazine. One month a few years ago, they even featured blogger Johanna Qualmann talking about asexuality. Admittedly, one of the things that annoyed me in the end was the number of advertisements, and how, quite frankly, it often outnumbered the number of quality articles.

Cleo I think has kept feminism and women’s issues in the spotlight to a certain degree. If the magazine does stop production, where will women get their information and hear the views from? Marie Clare? Cosmopolitan? Online publications? Blogs?

I often wonder too, where journalism will be in t he future, considering the closing of news papers, and now magazines across the country. Will the best bet for magazine journalists now will be to look at other media, like TV, radio, or even on – line? Seems to be like that.

 

Have you/ do you read Cleo? What do you think about it?

Feminism and Able – ism In The Media

I was watching “Sunrise” this morning and they had a story about fashion items that can cause health concerns, such as corsets, skinny jeans and high – heel shoes. During the segment, co – host, Sam Armytage made a comment that their boss didn’t allow her, Natalie Barr or any of the other female journalists wear flat shoes during work.

Now, the potential health effects on high – heels, especially stilettos are well – known. Foot deformities, weakened ankles and the risk of broken bones are some of the well – known risks of prolonged stiletto wearing, especially over a long period of time. What I want to talk about is women, who can’t wear stilettos safely because of disability.

To me, this is just a perfect example of how, yet again, disabled women, particularly those with physical disabilities are automatically left out. People with a disability are already over – represented in unemployment statistics in Australia, with an estimated one in five people with a disability unemployed, as compared to the national average of six percent.

In general, I find the media in Australia hypocritical when it comes to equality. On one hand, they get on their high horses, even interview people who are marginalised and encourage employers, etc to give them a go, but what about the media outlets themselves? All media personalities are able – bodied! Not that it’s bad that journalists are able – bodied. All power to them, but where is the diversity that they so often go on about? Or, to be perfectly blunt, do they have the same prejudices against people with a disability that many, if not most, people have? I think I know the answer to that, unfortunately.