As many of you know, I’m an Anglophile. I have been one since I was 13 and my mother, sister, and I traveled to Europe. We went to France, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, and England. They were all wonderful (well, not Germany, but that’s a long story), and I fell in love with England and have stayed in love ever since.
For a short time, I had a specialized travel business, organizing personalized trips for people going to the UK. I loved doing it, although in the days before the internet, it was a challenge. But it gave me the excuse and the wherewithal to travel to England on a regular basis.
While in London, I bought British magazines. Mainly interior design, gardening, and “women’s” magazines. I actually continue to subscribe to some.
One of my favorites is Women and Home. It’s focus is on women over 35. And it does this better then any magazine I have ever seen!
It is filled with features. The August edition, for instance, includes an interview with Helen Mirren, short interviews with four interesting women in media, stories with photos of real women who have changed their lives, and a fashion layout featuring five real women, aged 36 to 68, all sizes, shapes, and colors. Here’s some photos:
The photo above is of Fern Britton, who is a television presenter in the UK. She was also on the cover of this August issue. Obviously not a skinny minnie.
Compare this to More Magazine, which is also focused on older women. It has a feature, “This is what 40 looks like”, with 25 photos. The women are of different races, but only one shape — thin. It also has a “re-invention” feature which includes 15 stories; only three show women who are not model thin.
Here’s some photos from the “over 40” feature in More.
How Come? How come the British seem more comfortable showing women who truly reflect the population? Why do they think this will attract readers and/or viewers? Why don’t American magazines think the same way?
I did some research, but still don’t have the answers. American magazines measure their success by the number of ad pages. Advertisers seem not to pay much (if any) attention to the buying power of older women. Therefore magazines that depend on ad pages don’t care either. Including the one’s that should, like More.
Try as I might, I could not get a clear idea about how it works in Britain. I think it is more about number of subscribers and/or readers (not the same, by the way) and less about ad pages. But despite research on the web, I could not get a definitive answer.
Any ideas anyone? Is it because the UK has a Queen? Just kidding . . .