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3 posts categorized "Op-Ed"

March 28, 2008

Why Australian Women's Magazines Are Dying

Women buy magazines for various reasons. Some want to be updated on fashion, others want to read relationship articles, others still love the adverts, and it goes on.

Circulation decrease also means that magazines are shutting down. New Woman (Aust) is shutting down, as reported in 4 Inch Heels Only (yes, unlike Daily Telegraph's Confidential - I can get the link right!), and I think that (within two years) more circulations will decrease at magazines like Cleo and Cosmo. Why? Well for one, the price and the proportion of adverts to articles or decent content.

My last purchase of Cosmopolitan (Aust/ACP) was filled to the brim: adverts, images from adverts, promotions, and although it contained 2-3 articles of merit, other articles were lame extracts from novels posing as erotic novels. In other words, it was promotional material, that could have been a little more raunchy. Mind you Cosmopolitan fulfilled its 'false advertising' on the front cover of that month, with a huge title: Sex Blogs. Turn the pages, and you find a scant list of blog links - and nothing else.

Disappointed, I vowed never to buy Cosmo again, and this is me, a Cosmo oldie - don't even ask me how many years I've bought Cleo and Cosmo. It has been years since these magazines had any articles of substance. The biggest laugh I had recently came after forking out a hefty (by my standards) amount for Madison, and laughing at the content. What was I actually paying for? You guessed it - adverts at a rate of one per page.

Seriously? I think more women can save more dollars by reading online magazines because they can control the advertising they see, not only this, the advertising isn't invasive, and doesn't dominate the content as it does in print magazines like Cleo or Cosmo. In addition, web site content is usually updated on a more regular basis.

For women in Australia who buy Woman's Day, New Idea, New Weekly, Famous or Hello! It is far more cheaper to look up Celebitchy.com because all the stories on the recent pages will appear in the magazines next week. Not only this, I think I have figured out how some of the writers of the above magazines get their gossip content and add 'sources'. They visit the site, get the story foundation, and then they probably add whatever they want and say it's a 'close source' said this and that, to make it juicy. Which is soooo New Weekly.

Now the war of Australian women's magazines has gone online. Sydney Confidential still can't get its linking right, so don't bother clicking on the links to find the rival blog to 4 Inch Heels Only, because the links don't work. Searching Wordpress hasn't provided anything either. One would think that these people could get the linking right. The rival blog (an ACP revenge tactic?) has (according to Confidential) posted this introduction. What is wrong with it?:

"Hands up if you're sick of that bloody little 4 inch heels wench and her terrible grammer (sic), poor writing skills, shameless self-promoting and two-week old gossip,"

It is grammar, not grammer.

March 27, 2008

ti viydesh zamuzh za menya?/ы выйдешь замуж за меня?

I think Joseph McCarthy had it all wrong. The Red Menace of then, wasn’t half as annoying as the Russian spam e-mails that come through.  They often appear with subject headers like “I like you”, “Let’s meet” to become introduction letters by alleged women who seek relationships, marriage, and introductions, who proclaim their devotion, and a bunch of other tripe and it only begs the question:Lenin

If you like a person so much, why send a spam email to countless people?

Of course, it’s not real. I know that, but the uselessness of these emails is obvious, as is the idiocy behind them. Each time I receive them in my home email I mark them for the Norton anti-spam folder, and it doesn’t end. They keep on coming.

According to male friends of mine, the Russian mail order bride thing is rife in Europe. I do remember watching a documentary on SBS about it. The documentary focused on a remote village in Greece, and how the population of the village was dwindling - no children born for years, and of the men within the village, many were bachelors (or virgins) at ages that would be considered absurd in other parts of the world. What did they do? They set out to find Russian brides, but the potential candidates, after visiting this village, were stupefied by its remoteness. Many of the women voiced their concerns, as many were divorcees with children, and they couldn’t’ see what these men (and the village) could offer them economically. The concept of the mail order bride has been given the comedic film treatment, but is it really comical? Moreover, trivializing such arranged marriages doesn't open any serious debate.

Continue reading "ti viydesh zamuzh za menya?/ы выйдешь замуж за меня?" »

September 11, 2007

Plain Jane

"It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife." – Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice)

There are thousands of classic novels, and many contemporary novels, but few novels have kickass opening sentences that summarize an era and culture, that can be transplanted into the future and resonate the same way. Although I’m not a huge fan of Pride and Prejudice, I couldn’t sympathize with Fitzwilliam Darcy, one would have to be an ignoramus not to appreciate Austen’s succinct, if not shrewd, observation of her society and her ability to group her observations into a sentence that introduces the reader to her era or any era that upholds a man’s wealth and measures a man for his potential to create wealth.

For all her observations, Austen focuses on select folk, the English gentry or ye olde equivalent of highflyer; Darcy could be interchanged with any contemporary male socialite. He could have been John F Kennedy Jnr, in the financial sense; the crème de la crème of bachelors of his day, the type of man monied women or socialites made their mission to pursue (if they move in the same social circle or ‘sphere of influence’), the type that ordinary salary women molded into their dream man, the one that they (realistically) have little chance of bumping into; the pipe dream.

Austen’s introductory sentence wasn’t isolated within her era, it has been a feature in many cultures. Even today, there are cultures who prize a man’s wealth first. I knew of a girl of Indian background, whose parents wouldn’t consider a ‘pauper’. Some potential grooms in this culture do receive a customary dowry, even now. In my culture, or once upon a time in my culture, a dowry was a given. Today this definitive dowry has evolved with the era. Back then, it wasn’t sufficient that a woman, depending on her social background, was pious, domestically skillful or chaste, she also needed to originate from a ‘good family’, and as far as I’m aware, this is a current practice. Of course, it is not broadcast on the evening news, but the first questions that many parents within my culture here will ask the prodigal son is ‘does she come from a good family?’

Continue reading "Plain Jane" »

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