More on Gender and Magazines

Last year I complained about a periodical incursion–how magazines for men were increasingly being annexed by magazines targeted at a female audience. I was down at Pharmasave today, and snapped this photo of this ongoing trend (click for a bigger version):

I couldn’t get the whole newsstand in, but this is certainly representative. You can find a smattering of men’s interest magazines on the top shelf, but that’s really it. And most are buried in the third or fourth row, the way girlie magazines used to be.

I’m not actually lobbying that men deserve more shelf space. It’s pure economics. Consider this table from the Magazine Publishers of America. Of the top 50 magazines sold in 2007, only three could be considered primarily of interest to men (by my count, two others might qualify as appealing equally to both genders). The top male interest magazine, Men’s Health, is in the 17th spot, with a single copy circulation of 544,054. Cosompolitan, the top magazine, has a circulation of 1,882,061.

Men just aren’t buying magazines. Or, more accurately, women are buying a lot more magazines than men.


  1. I guess it does depend n your perspective but I see at least half of these magazines being gender neutral or mainly for men.
    Dogs, suduko, real estate, hockey, cooking, personal development, skiing, running, golf – do you consider these mens or womens mags?

    Or perhaps your eyes fell on these sexy cover. I agree there are more women featured prominently but thats the store not the mags.

  2. EJ: Remove ‘cooking’ from your list, and the rest of the topics are poorly represented on the shelf. I see one real estate magazine and one dog magazine.

    That said, had I the time, I’m confident that (excepting hockey and golf) I could find stats that supported the argument that all of the other topics have a largely female audience.

  3. On a side note, there are lots of beautiful shapely women on both men’s and women’s magazines – what’s up with that? Don’t men deserve as much cover time as women? Or is it that women are so much more susceptible to the images that are projected? Eating disorder, here we come…

  4. Exactly what I was going to say Andrea. It definitely depends on where you shop. Drug stores and department stores in the mall are always going to have more women’s mags. Convenience stores like 7-11 and Mac’s definitely carry more men’s magazines. Neutral places like gift shops on ferries or in airports I find are pretty equal.

  5. Men are also not buying shoes; at least, not in Victoria. The best shoe store in town doesn’t even carry men’s shoes anymore! And the others are carrying fewer this year.

    Sometimes Victoria is so small.

  6. I was going to make a comment about the babe factor as well: those men’s magazines that do show up often have pretty women on the covers as well. The amount of skin on the cover of “Oxygen” is about the same as on “FHM” or even “Playboy.”

    I think that’s because, crudely, women are supposed to think, “I want to look like that!” for the women’s magazines, and the men are supposed to think, “I’d sure like to sleep with her!” for the men’s magazines. Presumably, men aren’t especially interested in looking like men who might appear on covers intended for us.

    But we _are_ apparently interested in driving those cars, or using those computers, or taking pictures with those cameras, or even firing those guns.

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