I don’t read an awful lot of magazines, and delving into them whenever I’m at the hairdressers reminds me why. Part of my A-Level Media Studies course involved looking into the construction of magazines and how certain groups were represented. Women are sexualised pretty much everywhere in the media industry, but I feel as though this is definitely heightened in magazines, particularly when it comes to advertising. Company Magazine was the only magazine I ever felt was an exception to this, as I could actually enjoy reading it without ending up feeling like feminism was redundant.
Whilst I understand that advertising is how magazines make a large part of their revenue, once you’ve been exposed to thinking about how this works it is hard to simply read and enjoy a magazine in the same way. Have you ever considered how much advertisers pay to have their products displayed in magazines? What about the way adverts themselves are made (thicker paper, indented pages, etc.)? By doing this, magazines make it impossible for the reader not to be exposed to advertising. And I’m just not interested anymore.
If I’m paying for a magazine, I’m essentially paying for adverts to be flung in my face at the turn of every page. I’m subscribed to Elle magazine (accidentally, might I add) and in the June 2016 issue, the first 27 pages are made up entirely of adverts. They primarily feature white women in sultry poses, adorned with expensive items. I find this ridiculous. It is a standard of beauty that most of us will never accomplish, and yet I have to sit through 27 pages of it before I even get to any content. The welcome page is number 47, by which point I have seen 38 pages of adverts, most of which are double page spreads.
The rest of Elle magazine is much the same; content on the left, advert on the right. I just think it takes the piss a bit. What happened to magazines filled to the brim with interesting content? We’re an online generation nowadays, but are we really leaving the magazine industry behind to the extent that they have to monetise every other page? I highly doubt it.
Maybe I’m just being too precious about advertising – it’s not like magazines are the only media outlet to do it, but it offends me more when I’m paying per issue. When I buy a magazine, I’m paying for interesting content. Not 30% content, 70% adverts. So, I’ve stopped buying magazines. With the exception of an Elle subscription that I’m fairly certain I haven’t renewed since March 2013, my interaction with magazines is solely from clickbait articles provided by Cosmo. Because sometimes you just need a laugh, amirite?
What do you think about advertising in magazines? Is it crucial? Or is it just annoying af?