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Adult magazine People set to shut down by end of year

Last year, Bauer Media Group’s Cosmopolitan Australia stopped production.

 

Issues of Cosmopolitan Australia
Bauer Media Group closed Cosmopolitan Australia last year

 

News.com.au reported that adult magazines, People and Picture will face the same fate by the end of the year.

The soft – core pornography magazines have faced backlash, with 7 – 11 and BP service stations pulling them from the shelves after an online campaign demanded changes.

Adult magazine, People is on its last legs and is set to close by the end of the year.

 

At the time the article was written, Coles and Woolworths still sold the controversial publications.

Activists and drop in sales blamed for magazines’ demise

Protest from Collective Shout and a decline in sales have been blamed for the collapse of People and Picture.

Former Zoo editor, Paul Merrill has also pointed fingers at the #MeToo movement.

With the #MeToo movement in full flow, [the magazines’] days were always going to be numbered.

While #MeToo has started debate on the treatment of women in workplaces and society and pornography is becoming scrutinised, it is still being watched at a huge rate worldwide. According to Psych Central, in the U.S. alone, 40 million people view porn sites regularly. Most are men, however, a third are women.

The most popular site is PornHub. In 2018, Australia was numbered 12th in the number of views by country.

The downfall of the magazine industry

As I pointed out above and have written in the past, the magazine industry in Australia has been dwindling for some time. Magazines continue to close down.

This is largely due to the Internet and the digitising of news and entertainment.

I also don’t think magazines, like Cosmopolitan Australia, People, Penthouse and Picture have failed to ‘read the room’, so to speak.

Cosmopolitan Australia didn’t move enough beyond the 1970’s. Much of their ‘sex advice’ became laughable. Too many people didn’t buy it (pardon the pun). Personally, the repetition (as well as endless ads) was what got me. The articles (what was left of them) were not very insightful.

Ethical concerns about mainstream pornography

Pornography is not just condemned by conservative Christians. Feminists have long been critics of pornography and its objectification of women. Psychologists and adolescent experts have also been worried about its effect on young people, the brain and relationships.

Last month, SBS aired a three – part documentary, Porn Laid Bare. Six young adults from the UK explored the porn industry in Spain: its production, its affect on the brain and damaging affect on consumers, actors and society as a whole. What struck me was the dangerously fine line between mainstream pornography and sex trafficking.

To me, the collapse of Penthouse and People magazines are a sign of a changing media industry and (slowly) values. Do people still want cheap ‘fast food’ sex entertainment? At the moment, obviously yes. However, I also think that mainstream adult entertainment will have to evolve or die on ethical grounds eventually. Ethical ambiguities that pornography presents will no longer be acceptable.

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Media

Magazine ‘Cosmopolitan Australia’ is stopping production at the end of year

Collage of fou4 issues of Cosmopolitan Australia
Four issues of a revolution in women’s media about to come to an end

After forty – five years, Cosmopolitan Australia is set to close it’s doors. CEO of  Bauer Media, Paul Dykzeul released a statement confirming the closure, stating “commercial viability is no longer stable for magazines”.

This is the third magazine that Bauer Media has stopped producing, with Dolly having stopped the production of it’s paper magazine in 2016 and Cleo also ended print editions the same year.

What’s going on?

I’ve written before how I find it disheartening that women’s media is slowly collapsing. Not only have I felt it as a consumer on and off for fiften years, but it has also made me wonder about the future as a female content creator.

Frankly, I find the reasoning questionable. Newscorp, Fairfax and other media outlets around the world have been able to transfer their content online and create a paid subscription service. I’ve also seen a number of Cosmopolitan companies producing apps for women with a small subscription fee (you can also buy single editions of different magazines from around the world).

So, why couldn’t Cosmopolitan Australia, Cleo and Dolly just go digital and have subscribers pay a fee per month?

Now I get it. I think paid subscription services, especially for independent, little  – known media companies is risky and, frankly, I don’t think it’s always viable. But, for newspapers and magazines like Herald Sun, Daily Telegraph and Cosmopolitan, Dolly and Cleo; products that have been consumed and trusted for decades, why can’t they transfer to digital and remain in business?

Is women’s media just not profitable?

When Cosmopolitan started by author of Sex and the Single Girl, Helen Gurley Brown, it was revolutionary. The idea that women didn’t have to be married to own their sexuality. However, Gurley Brown was accused of spreading the message that women needed a man and playing down sexual harassment.

Yet, her product worked. For generations, women were informed and entertained by articles that thousands, if not millions of women could relate to. Also, Cosmopolitan evolved, and they were instrumental in campaigning for same – sex marriage last year.

They have explored same – sex relationships and fluid sexuality.  However, I have asked whether they’re approach helped or hindered campaign towards LGBTQ+ rights.

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Has women’s media hit a dead – end?

Is it possible that women’s media is just not needed anymore? Are women just sick of reading the same relationship advice, same old sex advice, etc? Over the years, I know I have been. While I do appreciate some of what magazines like Cosmopolitan Australia, Cleo and Dolly have done for me and countless other women, it got to the point, where, frankly, they were monotonous. It was the same old, same old: same relationship advice, same fashion advice, same… advertisements. Like Cleo before it, Cosmopolitan Australia ended up lacking on high – quality articles that made me a fan of them in the first place.

 

So, where does it leave women’s media, regardless of it’s format? Personally, I want high – quality articles and commentary. I want to read about people’s first – hand experiences and things they’ve overcome. I want commentary that is well written and offers a strong argument for or against an issue (or a fair, well – written piece featuring both sides of an argument).

I want media that doesn’t make women feel like they need more to be enough, (which, ironically, was the business model that made Cosmopolitan a successful brand for nearly fifty years).

I want health to be promoted, rather than the debate on size, not the dangerous extremes. I want articles that focus on exercises that most people can do without too much trouble. And recipes that are easy and stuff that most people would actually eat. I also want LGBTQ+ and people of colour represented without being a gimmick.

 

The end of an era in women’s media is coming. But surely women’s media itself doesn’t have to. Maybe the format… and content of women’s media in the future will just have to evolve.

Have you been reading Cosmopolitan (Australian or otherwise)? What did you get out of it? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments.

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Media hype about same – sex relationships – help or hindrance to the LGBTQ+ community?

Trigger warning: homophobic violence

I feel like there is a bit of disparity here. It seems all the rage for mainstream media – especially magazines – to write about same – sex relationships or – more often – same – sex relations that rarely last more than one night. Yet, LGBTQ+ youth still face untold struggles around the world – something much of the media doesn’t talk about.

 

Earlier this year, I wrote about homophobia, transphobia and how LGBTQ+ youth are over – represented in youth homelessness statistics in the U.S. LGBTQ+ youth are more than four times more likely to experience homelessness. That’s only if you go by the “10%” figure which is widely criticised.

Also, around the world, many LGBTQ+ people face the risk of violence and not just in the countries where homosexuality is punishable by death in the penal code.

Pink News wrote a story of Brazilian mother, Tatiana Lozano Pereira was charged with murder after stabbing her 17 – year – old son Itaberli after a row on Christmas Day. The 32 – year – old had her son bashed before stabbing him to death. I have also pointed out in Brazil, there has been a violent backlash against the LGBTQ+ community after same – sex marriage was legalised in 2013.

Closer to home, the story of 13 – year – old Tyrone Unsworth made news after he committed suicide after facing violent homophobia due to this perceived sexuality. Unsworth isn’t alone in being victimised because of his perceived or actual sexuality. NOBullying.com reveals that studies conducted by Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) that:

  • 82% of students were bullied over their sexual orientation during the previous year (2015)
  • 64% of LGBTQ students surveyed felt unsafe at school
  • 44% of students felt unsafe at school due to their gender identity
  • 32% of students avoided going to school for at least one day in fear of being bullied
  • 44% experienced physical harassment
  • 22% experienced more serious violence
  • 61% never reported abuse
  • 31% said that the school made no effort in combating abusive behaviour.

As for adults, as I research this, I’m having a hard time finding data on present or very recent anti – LGBTQ violence against adults. There’s a lot of historical stuff – the 1980’s and 1990’s were particularly bad for gays and lesbians. But I can’t find something significant in the past two or so years. This is, frankly, concerning in itself. Why isn’t this monitored and studied more regularly to keep up with current rates of homophobic or transphobic violence so it can be combated? I don’t doubt that over the past thirty or so years, attitudes about gays and lesbians have greatly improved. Still, some actual stats wouldn’t go astray.

Despite this, magazines, like Cosmopolitan and Marie Claire (Australia) are more frequently featuring women who admit to having sex and/ or relationships with other women. Very few, of the women, however, identify – or end up identifying – as LGBTQ+ – some foregoing labels altogether and most going back to having relationships with men. Now I do believe that there are some people who can’t put a label on their sexuality. Some may forego them because they are too scared to admit they’re gay or bi. Some may say their bi, only to identify as gay later on. I’m not knocking anyone who identifies as LGBTQ or foregoes labels. Sexuality can be – and sometimes is – more complex than a simple label.

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What I’m wondering is: does the media’s constant portrayal of same – sex/ non – heterosexual relationships help or hinder the LGBTQ+ community, especially when the person doesn’t identify as such? Does it enforce common myths about bisexual people? To be fair, many of these magazines do occasionally do proper articles on bisexual people and their experiences. Articles like the ones above seem to be more frequent though.

Does the media’s constant portrayal of WSW (women who have sex with women) unintentionally give people the impression that bisexuality is a phase or diminish the experience of lesbians, even enforce a theory that lesbians don’t exist.

 

In my opinion I think it could be all the above. Yes, sexuality can be complex and fluid for both men and women. It is kind of good that the media and people admit that. But bi – erasure is a problem faced by many bisexual people. There also needs to be emphasis that some women are attracted to women and only women, the same as that some men are attracted only to men. If we can be frank about all people’s experiences with their sexuality without erasing LGB people or diminishing other people’s experiences, then I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

 

What do you think? Does this portrayal of same – sex relationships help or hinder the LGBTQ+ community? Does more of this help gain acceptance or increase myths and stigma? Let me know what you think in  the comments below.