Yesterday I was in Shoppers Drug Mart, looking for a copy of Business Week or Wired. Although their magazine section is pretty massive–I’d guess thirty feet of four foot high racks in an L shape–they had neither magazine.
I stepped back, and observed an amusing effect in the way the magazines were organized. It’s clear that originally the store had intended one rack to be periodicals targeted at women (health, celebrity gossip, beauty, yoga, interior design and so forth) and the other at men (sports, cars, computers, financial news, etc).
However, the stereotypical women’s magazines had begun annexing the men’s. About 70% of the total seemed targeted at women. I expect it was, in part, the explosion of yoga magazines that drove the latest advancement.
This probably makes a lot of sense, because my anecdotal observations indicate that women buy a lot more magazines than men.
I got to wondering about the history of gender-specificity in magazines. Have women always bought more magazines than men? Surely not. If I looked at analogous racks in the fifties, would it be mostly Horse and Hound and, you know, Scientific American?
I’m too busy to ask the Internet today, but if you’ve got any thoeries, let’s hear ’em.
In related news, one can’t write ‘men’s magazines’ without thinking of porn. Maxim and FHM, combined with the availability and, uh, ease of use of Internet pornography, seem to have eliminated pornographic magazines from all but the sleeziest of corner stores and bus stations. You sometimes see Playboy, but that’s about as raunchy as it gets.