Sunday, January 15, 2006

Observer Woman

The Observer has a new supplement, aimed at women. I feel excluded, and can't see the logic of it. If I go to WH Smith, it's pretty obvious what constituency is being targeted by magazines with titles such as Woman, She, Woman's Own etc. Equally, you know what you are letting yourself in for if you buy Computer Weekly or The Tibetan Yak Breeders Gazette. But if you buy a national newspaper, why would you find a section that by its very name excludes half the potential readership? You will say that it's the same as any other section. If you aren't interested in business, say, don't read the business section. Fine - but, like buying a special interest magazine, that constitutes an expression of choice. I can - and will - ignore the new section, and await, though I'm not holding my breath, the new Men supplement...
In the meantime, the new supplement is distinctive, apparently, because it features "relationships, style, shopping, sex and health". No disturbingly difficult political things for you to worry your pretty head about, then. And of course, this makes Observer Woman entirely different from the main Observer magazine, which features today a section on relationships, featuring advice from "the sex columnists", an article about memory loss, a fashion feature, an article about shopping for purses.... Obviously very different.

4 comments:

kat said...

They're just trying to entice women into buying the newspaper, Rob. Personally, I think it seems a bit of an insult. Big newspaper for the boys, supplement for the women.

I can't complain though. I haven't seen it and I don't read the Observer. :-)

Rob Spence said...

I think the point I'm trying to make is that a national paper should cover sport, business etc. If you aren't interested in those topics, fine, don't read that bit. But to set up a section which by its very title seeks to exclude half the readership is another matter.

Chris said...

Balanced as a men's supplement might be, the thought of an entire section devoted to just men and their specific interests smacks of raving sexism. I mean - oh, hold on..

Rob Spence said...

Well, yes, Chris, that's my point. I don't *want* a men' section, as that would be exactly the same issue as the women's. If I really wanted the material likely to be aimed at men, I can get any number of dubious magazines from the newsagents, just as any woman can get Cosmo, She, etc etc if that's what they want.