Thursday, September 20, 2007

Cross-Promotion: My Issue with "Parenting" Magazines

I take on the ridiculous mommy-centrism of the parenting magazines today in On Balance:
Inevitably, reading through the issues, my blood pressure would rise. Even leaving aside the "beauty tips," nearly every article was explicitly targeted at moms, with story after story filled with "mom tips" or "mom advice" or "a real mom's story." It was as if half of the parents just didn't exist.
Not surprisingly, I'm getting a lot of pushback in the comments from readers who say that because women -- mostly -- buy these magazines, *of course* they get explicitly targeted. I want to be realistic. If this is a pure pander, and these magazines are purposefully ignoring dads (or worse, subtly undermining us) to capture women who are looking for a snooty, just-us-moms attitude, then the problem with these mags is actually waaaaaay worse than I've made it out to be.

But I think it's mostly old, bad habits, assuming that parenthood=motherhood, and that panding has little to do with it. Sports Illustrated, no doubt, has a mostly male readership, but that publication rarely addresses its articles to "you guys out there" to pander to their XY-dominant subscriber base. If SI can write about boxing in a gender-neutral way, why can't Parenting do the same for parenting?

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