The Courier-Mail

Women sur­ren­der to cliches in de­grad­ing Bach­e­lor bat­tle

- KAREN BROOKS brooksk@big­pond.com

WHAT do some main­stream women’s mag­a­zines and the com­mer­cial TV hit, The Bach­e­lor, have in com­mon?

Apart from fea­tur­ing a va­ri­ety of women, it would seem, not very much. But let’s take a closer look.

For years, women’s mag­a­zines have been both much maligned and feted.

His­tor­i­cally, they were im­por­tant for rep­re­sent­ing women’s voices and con­cerns. They brought the pri­vate into the public do­main and im­bued it with a sense of worth.

Dar­ing to dis­cuss women’s sex­ual needs and de­sires, high­light fears – of rape, do­mes­tic vi­o­lence, can­cer and other chronic and acute ill­nesses – as well as is­sues around con­tra­cep­tion, par­ent­ing, per­sonal, fa­mil­ial and pro­fes­sional re­la­tion­ships, they were of­ten a source of com­fort, recog­ni­tion and in­for­ma­tion.

They united rather than di­vided and cre­ated a fe­male com­mu­nity.

Re­cently, how­ever, this sense of of­fer­ing some­thing wor­thy has de­clined mean­ing not only have some women’s mag­a­zines copped crit­i­cism from with­out, but also from within their own ranks.

At­test­ing to this are books such as The Body Snatchers: How the Media Shape Women by Cyndi Tebbel, for­mer editor of New Woman; and Spin Sis­ters: How the Women of the Media Sell Un­hap­pi­ness and Lib­er­al­ism to the Women of Amer­ica, writ­ten by Myrna Blyth, for­mer editor-in-chief of Ladies’ Home Jour­nal.

Far from fo­cus­ing on a di­verse range of women’s in­ter­ests, so many main­stream women’s mag­a­zines fea­ture noth­ing but celebrity pic­tures and un­sub­stan­ti­ated gos­sip about fa­mous fe­male’s lives, sto­ries about “hook-ups” and “breakups” as well di­ets, sex tips to please your man, food,

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