At the weekend I went to the hairdressers, a place where I’m often found amongst the world of the weekly women’s magazine. I usually grab a good handful from reception on the way in and work my way through half a dozen or so whilst sat in the chair.
And as I reached the end of this month’s selection, something occurred to me about what I had been reading. Or rather, what I hadn’t.
Diet plans and guaranteed weight loss tips. Clothes, shoes, handbags and haircuts. The latest fashions the latest lipstick the latest hair care product that will Change. Your. Life. Creams and potions, botched up surgery, giving birth when you didn’t know you were pregnant. Duped by a toyboy just looking for a visa. The latest beachwear essentials. What’s on in the soaps this week!
And not one single article on work. Nothing on education or careers. Not even a frothy ‘how to deal with your horrible boss’ or ‘hot new suits for the office’ type piece.
In one magazine there was advice on almost everything. A doctor for your embarrassing body problem, a relationship advisor for your tricky boyfriend problem, even a financial advisor for your cash flow problem. But no one talking about work or careers. Not a single thing that implied women were interested in anything but how we look and what we eat and who we are dating.
It is sometimes said that newspapers and magazines simply reflect back what their readers want to read. What they already think and care about. Maybe it’s more profitable that way. And I am sure that they do plenty of research into their target market, and understand just want their readership want to see, week after week. They know exactly what makes their publications sell and that seems to be lipstick over livelihood.
But pick up one of these magazines as a young women and there is nothing to inspire you or to aspire to. No role models. No stimulus.. Where are the articles on work, on careers? Where is the ambition?
Maybe I’m taking this all a little too seriously. Maybe this is just about what I want to read. Maybe, next month, I should just take along my copy of People Management instead and be done with it.
But all the same, it made me slightly sad.
Is there any point in hoping for a little something more, or even highlighting the issue? Would these magazines see the benefit of including an article on developing your career, or how to get the job of your dreams, feature the story of an awesome, inspirational business woman, if it’s not what their readers want to read?
Or maybe, given the opportunity, their readers would like to read this stuff. Could be, would be, engaged in a little more career stuff. I am very much hoping that it’s not just me.
I’d like a little more inspiration, if you please.