A few articles with weight got my attention, like the pledge for the Australian Childhood Foundation in April’s issue, July's emphasis on marriage equality and the November issue that highlighted domestic violence and White Ribbon Day.
I noticed over the last twelve months that only three Australian women made the front cover of the Australian Marie Claire. I understand that a cover of a curtain, non Australian women may sell better, but to what point does an Australian magazine have the responsibility to reflect and represent Australian women? And to a greater extent, what responsibility does an Australian women’s magazine have in representing, support and informing Australian women about issues, that actually relate to the Australian women of today?
In the December 2012 issue, touching on both the political and personal, editor Jackie Frank hosted a sit down chat, with Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Sports Minister Kate Lundy, Attorney General Nicola Roxon, Families Minister Jenny Macklin, Finance Minister Penny Wong, Community Services Minister Julie Collins and Employment Participation Minister Kate Ellis – this was a great, fresh, current, breath of journalistic air. It was the kind of content that I personally think should be in an Australian women’s publication of Marie Claire's target age group (25-39). However I think it’s worth noting that Marie Claire did not seek this interview but it was apparently suggested to Jackie Frank by Ms Gillard's, Labor party ‘people’.
Of course I have totally directed this blog at Marie Claire, I have made no attempt to include or showcase any other Australian women’s publication and I recognise that. I simply picked up one of the many magazines that are available to us. But as one of Australia’s highest distributed women’s magazines, what option do we have? Is it a case of what we want or what we get given? For me personally Marie Claire wasn't enough. I often felt a certain, shallow undertone. Despite me being within Maire Claire’s target market, I just liked, but did not fall in love with this mag.
I feel Australian women’s publications are missing out on (I’d even go as far as to say excluding) readership. We need to find a way for Australian women’s publications to move forward, in both image and print, to stop talking at us and start talking for us. I don’t want to bore you with stats but out of 22,683,573 Australians, over half are female. Today one in every five people living in Australia, was born in another country, with two of the larger immigrant groups being from Vietnam and China. And of the 832,921 Australian women aged 25-29, over 20,000 of them are indigenous.
Publications have been revolutionary for Australian women of the past. I would like to see a change in women’s magazines for today.