I’ve felt largely like an outsider since I was a kid, but these days I rarely experience the full force of it except when I visit a news agent’s and confront the glossy magazines. They carry hundreds of titles. And at a pinch I can maybe find one or two that might interest me mildly.
I don’t expect to find much of interest in the ladies section. The non-gendered mags are pretty few, and it doesn’t really matter to me that I don’t give a shit about interior decoration or design or antiques. What gets to me is the message the men’s section broadcasts to me.
“This is what interests men. If none of this interests you, you are not a man.”
The men’s mags are trying their very best to make guys about my age buy them. The editors study their target demographic and painstakingly make sure that the cover story is the one piece in each issue that will capture the interest of the 20/30/40-something male. Many titles are narrowly focused on a single topic of great interest to my peers. I think the people behind the mags know what they’re doing. They pretty much cover the topics the male (glossy-mag buying) Swede wants to read about. But me, not only am I unwilling to buy a magazine on any of these topics. It’s worse than that. In many cases I wouldn’t even care if the activities or classes of object these magazines cover came to an end today, never to be heard of again. (Meanwhile, I don’t think I’ve spoken to a single woman who isn’t interested in the topics covered by ladies’ mags, but I’d be happy to be enlightened on this point by the Dear Reader.)
Waiting for the train at the Stockholm Sluice news agent last night, I copied down the following list of what the men’s mags mistakenly expect me to care about right now.
- World War II
- Men’s fashion
- Michael Douglas
- Microsoft Office
- Old rock bands
- Video games
- Spectacular criminal cases
In other news, Dr. Fredrik Svanberg of the Museum of National Antiquities and the MUSEUM. NU blog has been kind enough to give me the Beautiful Blogger Award! Thank you Fredrik!