Wednesday 14 March 2012

Why I'm Quitting Magazines.

Bit of a different post for me this one, and I'm sure it'll be a little tl:dr for many of you but I needed to have a little rant...


Tuesday night has always been magazine night. I buy my magazine at lunchtime or on the way home, then read it while eating my tea. When I lived with my sister, we’d sit there together, munching on pasta and half-watching Don’t Tell The Bride, while she flipped through Closer and I read Look. Then we’d swap.

Getting home on a Tuesday night and realising I’ve forgotten to buy my magazine is the worst. It’s my routine! Tuesday night is magazine night and NO ONE CAN TAKE THAT AWAY FROM ME.

Um. Except me. And I’ve done just that. See, lately I find that when I get sick of the magazine piles in my room and chuck them in the recycling, I’ve actually hardly read any of them. And the ones I have read are, well, underwhelming. So, I quit.

Why I Quit Magazines.

1) They’re kind of horrible.
I used to be a diehard Heat fan, around 8 years ago when it was genuinely hilarious, but then they just got MEAN. I’m not interested in seeing which star is worryingly thin or which star is ‘embracing her curves’ or which star is not wearing makeup. No matter how Heat puts it, they’re just putting photos of women on their cover and inviting us to stare at their flaws. That’s really healthy, Heat.

I read Heat a few weeks ago for the first time in years and it’s got worse. They have a feature called ‘Tasty body, but lose the head’. That’s NOT okay.


2) ...and very hypocritical.
Most noticeably on the subject of weight. A recent issue of Look had an article about Demi Moore's 'worrying weight loss' a few pages apart from a photograph admiring Kate Bosworth's red carpet look.

3) Over reliance on blogs.
If you’re relying on blogs to provide your content, well, it’s kind of a no brainer really. *boots up Google Chrome* I’m always pleased  and proud when I see bloggers I know and love in print, but there are some titles that have turned into Spot The Blogger features. Once in a while these success stories are interesting, but every week or every month? Not really. (*ahem*Company*ahem*) And don't get me started on magazines using hashtags and internet speak. Journalism isn't just a longer version of Twitter.

4) Sometimes, they just LIE.
I always read Look magazine for the fashion, not the gossip. But week after week their front page deals with some made-up celebrity story (which seems pointless considering almost every issue has a genuine celebrity interview – put THEM on the cover!). Yeah, I said it. Made. Up. I’ve lost count of the amount of times they’ve reported Brad and Angelina have definitely broken up, or Jennifer Aniston is actually pregnant, or Cheryl Cole is back with Ashley Cole. NONE OF THOSE THINGS HAVE HAPPENED.

This cover is a year old. Angelina and that surrogate have been pregnant for a long time.

5) Almost all the content has already been online.
Let’s face it, any fashion, celebrity or general news of note hits Twitter within seconds of being leaked. I mean, by the time news of the new Mulberry bag hit magazines, it had already been all over Twitter and countless blogs. If I want gossip, I have Oh No They Didn’t. If I want runway commentary or a real perspective on high street fashion I have flipping hundreds of knowledgeable women all over my Google Reader, Instagram and Twitter timeline. And I PREFER that.

A magazine isn’t going to tell me that a skirt is nice but comes up two sizes too small, or that the zip sticks on that dress, or to run to the shops now because the sale just started. It’s why my favourite fashion blogs are the ones where they’ve ben out and bought the items themselves and are discussing them without being biased.

6) I’d kind of rather read a book.
Because not finishing Wuthering Heights because I was reading about the baby that some journalists thinks that Kate and Wills might have at some point in the future based on no evidence other than the fact that they have interlocking parts is really not a good way to live my life.


And although I’m pretty sure I’ve guaranteed my exclusion from any future magazine features about bloggers by posting this, I wish the magazines would actually read it and realise that I’m not being critical for the sake of it, I’m suggesting ways in which they could improve. Come on, Heat. Go back and read your hilarious issues from 2000 and get that back. Stop focusing on reality TV contestants and start focusing on small, indie shows again and amusing commentary about celebrities. Or embrace your teenage readership and actually include some content that won’t turn them into body obsessed, shallow morons who think making jokes about disabled children is funny.

Fix Your Shape / Eating Disorders Are Bad / Underweight Woman Loses More Weight YAY 4 HER

And Look – embrace what you’re good at. If you must, include some HONEST gossip, not useless speculation pieces with about as much truth as a National Enquirer article. Quit putting flipping Beyonce or Angelina on the cover. Or diet tips from Victoria Beckham WHO IS UNDERWEIGHT. You’ve got an exclusive feature with Nicola Roberts in there – put that feisty redhead up front! But honestly, I think you should lose the gossip. That’s not why people read you, it’s the fashion news from the high street that I always used to read you for (hell, I can’t afford any of the selections in Grazia!) so do THAT. I think you’ve lost sight of why you’re popular.

Oh, I could go on, but I won’t. I know that I’ll still read the occasional magazine when I’m getting a train or whatever (and I don’t really count newspaper supplements), but that weekly habit is well and truly kicked.

But anyway. Rant over. I’d love to know your thoughts, though. Do you think the internet is killing magazines? Ultimately, I think yes, but only because magazines are kind of terrible. Give us a reason not to abandon you, magazines! You were good once!


  1. Good for u! Could agree more re company! Everybody in that mag is a bloody blogger and reader edits is just another way to get free content! I love look but if I wanted celeb gossip I'd read a gossip mag!

  2. I aggree 100% with this post. I stopped buying mags ages ago. I still have my elle and vogue subs, but only really because they are gifts and I do once every 3 months get them out and pour over what I've been missing!

    With a capital freakin' F.
    This is the reason I don't read magazines. Bloggers are so much more honest and down to earth, and don't TRY to be so in an oh-so-condescending way that makes them sound like Gok Wan on oestrogen that mags tend to have. I used to read them for the fashion too, to add little scraps to my lookbook...but I couldn't care less what Princess Kate is up to, I don't care that Demi Moore wears joggers (SHOCK HORROR) like everyone else...I just want the fashion and the fun!

    Good for you for speaking up. My actual hero! xxx

  4. This is one of the best and most well thought out posts I've read recently. I couldn't agree more with practically everything you say. Magazines seem to pander to the lowest possible common denominator. Most of the people they feature, I've never heard of and would have absolutely no interest in reading about whatsoever. They need to stop feeding this sick, fame hungry, no talent required culture and raise the bar! Give people something interesting and substantial to read about. Realise that people want to be informed and educated as well as entertained. Look at the meteoric success of the fashion and lifestyle blog and take notice. I definitely think magazines need to adapt in order to survive. Most of the titles you've featured are barely a cut above The Sun!

    Lucy x

  5. Really good post! Someone had to say it!

    I completely agree with everything you've said. I also have been thinking of giving up my weekly Look magazine; I only started buying it in the first place for what it was advertised as 'a high street fashion magazine'. Now its moved into celebrity gossip territory I'm just not interested. I get all the fashion info etc. I need from the blogs I read. Bloggers seem to be one step ahead of the magazines anyway as blogs are almost instantly accessible. Saying all this though I will still read Glamour and Marie Claire; don't give up on them. Their articles are positive and dare I say it 'feminist'. Still, books for the win!!

    Madame Squirrel x

  6. Here here. I have been toying with the notion of trash mag cold turkey for a while. They are badly written and just plain mean. I think the journalists for them must hate women. My sister says they're bad for your soul & I think she's probably right.

  7. I'm writing my dissertation on #3 ;) It's making me not want to blog at all hahaha, dog eat dog world and all that. I don't read weeklies anymore because of all the above reasons and more but still adore monthly mags for their fashion content. Or I'd be a pretty rubbish journo student type. xx

  8. Totally agree with everything you've said. I'm so glad I quit my Grazia addiction - the celebrity gossip was always old news or just plain old lies and the magazine seemed to become more and more devoid of actual content as the weeks went on. I still buy Glamour but my favourite magazine now is Stylist - it's free and actually quite good! x

  9. Great post.
    Most magazines are just junk. I much prefer reading everyones blogs x

  10. I share your frustration in some ways, I never ever buy Look or Heat now because I just don't like their content. I also find some magazine headlines very misleading, you think you're in for a good read when in reality they have totally made it sound like something it isn't... I've learnt from that now and I make sure that I read the bit that i think might be interesting BEFORE I buy just to make sure i'm not getting ripped off. x

  11. Look was way better when it first came out & it was literally just about fashion/style, with a smidgen of gossip. The internet is definitely killing off most magazines because everything you could possibly need is instantly at your fingertips. The magazines want to report on a trend, even the weeklies, but they're too late because it's been all over the internet already. It's a shame really - I used to enjoy magazines & embraced a day of the week when it was magazine central in my household. But now, for me, it's just a massive waste of money. & paper. Those trees are crying, you know.

  12. THIS, THIS, THIS!!

    I wrote a similar tweet a few weeks ago. I used to spend a good £20-£30 a month on magazines, I bought loads of them and subscribed to at least 5. Slowly I cut them down to just a couple a week and now I buy zero on a regular basis. I used to look forward to magazine day too and now I couldn't care less.

    I get my fix of new arrivals by actually visiting the new arrival section of my favourite websites. I get fashion inspiration from the blogs I read. I would much prefer to see my favourite bloggers wearing the items I am coveting than some stick thin model who I just cannot identify with. I get to see how the items actually work on a realistic figure with no airbrushing and in real life situations rather than being styled 'creatively' (ie how none of us would ever dream of wearing said item)

    I've never read any of the gossip crap in them, I am just not interested in it all and quite frankly don't believe a word they print either. I bought the new Company to see Amy in it and although I liked the new paper I could not stand how dumbed down it has become. And what is with all the text speak?! On the occasions I have forgotten why I no longer enjoy them and happen to buy a magazine I end up flicking through it in under five minutes before casting it aside never to be picked up again.

    In my opinion magazines have had their day, we don't need them anymore.

  13. Absolutely fantastic post and I agree with every word! It REALLY angers me when magazines contradict themselves. They'll have an article saying how its REALLY important to love thine self blah blah, then two pages later have an all important 5 page spread on how to get skinny before summer, because we absolutely must impress the shallow boys. Groan.

    I gave up magazines a long time ago but recently picked up Elle for the free mascara, and oh my god - At least 30 full pages of adverts before the contents page, and it took me about 10 minutes to flick through a massive wad of pages, about 80% pure adverts - SUCH a waste of money which makes me feel used!!

  14. I haven't really bought magazines for a few years to save my pennies when I was a student. I do like Look, but skip all of their piss-poor 'gossip' and skip straight to the fashion - like everybody else does I'd imagine! I used to love Vogue and Elle about 4 years ago, but couldn't afford to pay around £4 for what was essentially 50% adverts. I've got the last 3 issues of new Company and have really liked it; sure they get a lot of content from bloggers, but the fashion is very good, the layout is fantastic and they have a lot of articles and bits and bobs that are actually worth a read!

    Time for the mags to cater for other interests - no I do not give a pig's arse about Cheryl Cole or what 5 bikinis 'Frankie Sats' took to Barbados to show off her abs and her grubby fake tan.

  15. Oh man I love this post, when I was at uni me and my housemates used to live for Heat days but once you're not sat in a group and you actually concentrate on reading it, it is totally mean disguising itself as genuine fun. I much prefer gossip or fashion blogs now AND they get updated every day! Well done to you, I'm sure you're saving a lot of money, too!

  16. I wrote my masters dissertation about this exactly - is the internet killing magazines? Personally, I still love magazines, but not ones that are celebrity orientated. I don't buy Look much but when I do, it's for the fashion - I flip past the celeb bits. I buy and will continue to buy Glamour almost every month just because I like the articles (they don't have enough fashion for me - seems to have decreased over the last couple of years, is it just me?). But for pure up to date fashion, I prefer blogs because they are real people, with real bodies who you can relate to. I really don't want to see magazines die though because I like having something tangible in my hands (like a book - I love reading and will never buy a kindle) and they are not all bad. I just wish some of them would clean up their act *points finger at celeb magazines*. I am personally on the fence.

  17. I feel very similarly. I stopped reading magazines a few years ago, I used to love Cosmo as a uni student I used to look forward to it coming out. Now I would rather read blogs and see what people are actually doing, trying, wearing. I like their voices a lot better. I like you find magazines downright mean. I wrote a very ranty post about it a while ago because I hate a magazine which says, 'look how thin this person is' 'look how fat this person is' 'love yourself' 'here's a diet for you to love yourself when youre 7 pounds lighter.' all in the one magazine. It's just ridiculous.
    I've just finished a post on the best magazine freebies around at the minute where I said, I havent read mags in forever and the last time i bought mags for freebies I didn't even read them. Says it all. I still like the freebies though.

  18. I rarely read magazines for much the same reasons that you've cited here. I've even stopped flicking through the hefty monthlies on offer at the hairdressers, mainly because the majority of them contain 75% adverts and 25% anything interesting (most of which is not, imho). There are exceptions: I enjoy Psychologies, and Red, although I'm no longer a regular subscriber.
    I don't think the internet is killing magazines, I think magazines are killing themselves by churning out mindless dross. The immediacy and convenience of the internet may be contributing to the fall in popularity of magazines (and newspapers), but if the content was good in the first place then they wouldn't face such competition.

  19. I'm more into small indie magazines now - so much more original & so less obsessed with 'celebrities'. YAWN.

  20. I totally agree. The only magazines I read (when I can afford to buy them), are the film magazines. Even then, most of the information is available online, but at least you feel like you are getting some information for your money.

    I used to read Heat, but now I can't remember the last time I even looked at it, never mind bought it. I don't like sounding like an old lady, but ten years ago the 'celebrities' were people who were actually achieving something, not reality stars (most of whom I don't even recognise). The main problem I have though, is the body image thing. Heat, from what I can tell, use about 90% of their covers to lay into women (never men, of course) about their bodies, they are either too fat or too thin. Firstly, I have no interest in spending £2 to look at celebrities in bikinis. Secondly, you are completely right, they need to start promoting a healthy attitude towards weight and body image.

    I have to agree with Johanna up there ^ too - people wouldn't be turning away from magazines if the quality had remained high. Sadly, the problem is that there is a awful lot of people who won't demand anything more than photos of Amy Childs and Lauren Pope in their bikinis.


  21. Great post!

    I gave up reading women's magazines last year and it feels so good not reading absolute bullshit and paying a ridiculous amount of money for it. Every now and again I flip through one when someone has one, or cave and buy one for a long train journey, but I genuinely don't miss them. I flick through and think 'what the hell is all this? why have I paid money for it?'

    Got books, got blogs, I don't need magazines :)

  22. I totally agree! I used to be completely addicted to magazines-I bought pretty much every single weekly one. Now I buy one once in a while and then end up not reading it until I have ten minutes to wait for my tea to cook or something-because they're boring now! They all say the SAME thing and interview the SAME boring reality stars. This months glamour interview with Jennifer Lawrence was the first interview I've read in a while I genuinely enjoyed-because it wasn't about Kerry Katona's new flipping boyfriend. NOBODY CARES KATONA.

  23. Have thought this for a long time. After not reading magazines for a while it's actually shocking to look at these covers and see how bad they really are! I love the fashion in Look too, they should just stick to that and good interviews! :)

  24. I sooo feel the same! I used to be kind of "addicted" to glossy mags, but they really are just a waste of money. I find blogs way better, and I usually hear things on blogs first then read them in the mags :) x

  25. Totally agree with this. I'm a magazine addict, always have been, but I think it's more of a habit now. Tuesdays are 'magazine day' and it's like I'm on autopilot... but I rarely enjoy them anymore. I have three flicked-through magazines on my desk at the moment and I'm not even bothered about it. Totally agree about Heat magazine too - they get a bit too cocky for their boots... and every time I read Company, I die a little inside. x

  26. I'm so with you. I've gave up on them ages ago. I subscribe to Elle and Vogue, although mainly for the benefit of my shelves as I often forget to read them. I occasionally buy Grazia on the train because I love their fashion (even if I can't afford it) and I think they have proper articles written by proper journalists. I think a lot of these magazines are really patronising and talk to me as if I'm stupid but Grazia doesn't do that.

    And yes, Heat did used to be funny. I forgot that.

    Penny x

  27. Haven't bought a magazine in about a year. I find them absolutely vile. I hate how they go on about weight and pit celebrities up against one another. If I see the phrase 'embracing her curves' one more time I'm going to get stabby.

    They should all be banished to doctors' and dentists' waiting rooms, or public lavatories, because that's where they belong.

  28. A really enjoyable article and true that these magazines are not worth reading. They are basically adverts for the fashion/beuaty industries and give me a rising feeling of depression if ever I pick one up on the tube! I think this is particular to women's or lifestyle magazines. There are some brilliant magazines out there, bringing well researched and weird stories that you'd never find in newspapers. For example, National Geographic, The Believer, Raw Vision and even the big fashion magazines AnOther and Tank. These don't recycle information or rely on celebrity gossip for thrills : ) xx

  29. I used to be a complete magazine junkie but now I only ever buy mags when there are good freebies. I'm not interested in celeb gossip, I follow ONTD for that and the fashion/beauty articles don't always apply to me as I'm short, a bit chub and brown! I prefer to read blogs with real people of all shapes, colours and sizes.

    I do miss some of the old teenage magazines but at 26 I'm a bit past CosmoGirl now. Bring back Elle Girl!!

  30. Hells yeah! Magazines are depressing to read. Good on you for giving them up! I think the internets is way more fun anyway. Or reading actual books. :)


  31. 100% with you. The're uninspiring and, like you, I'd much rather read a good old novel.

  32. Brilliant post!
    I agree with this wholeheartedly, magazines are fast becoming an old form of media that won't be needed for much longer. I'd rather scroll through my blog reader than flip through a mag anyday!
    R xx

  33. I know exactly what you mean! I've recently stopped reading magazines as well, Company is just boring and I totally agree with Look- the amount of times the headline has said something that's totally different to the story inside! I'm much happier working my way through the books on my Kindle :) xx

  34. I usually buy UK ELLE and the odd Grazia but I'm definitely not a fan of the trashy gossip mags (though I read them for pure comedy value in waiting rooms et al). I've tried to invest in a few more special magazine, like Lula and Frankie, with timeless content and a unique point of view. I feel that magazines are designed to be treasured and kept; I now have the internet to keep up with all the trivial things, but with magazines I'm searching for something more that isn't trying to be instant.

  35. I am 100% with you on this. I think the popularity of blogs has really raised the game for magazines, and honestly? Few of them are rising to the challenge and proving that they deserve my time.

    Also I'm really curious about the over use of bloggers in magazines especially Company. Do you think non-bloggers actually care about what bloggers do or say or think?!

  36. Great post! I am a total magazine snob and I gave up on trashy magazines years ago. To put it bluntly I couldn't give a **** about Victoria Beckham diet habits or who Cheryl Cole is dating. That nonsense is for teenagers.

    Now I subscribe to Elle because I love the photography, the interesting articles, the originality and they interview interesting people concerning interesting topics.

  37. I have literally JUST given up magazines myself, I will only buy Cosmo once a month (because i <3 it) plus the subscription to ELLE that I was bought at xmas, but the rest, Im totally over! I also used to love look, but now, i find myself spending 2 minutes flicking through the front to get to the fashion section and then its not as good as it used to be!

    I think its amazing that you've given them up, just think about all the money you'll save on magazines!



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