Now Women’s Magazines Are Using Vulgar Headlines. What Does that Mean to You?
Blogmaster’s note: Although I had to go back to work Wednesday, apparently not everyone else did. In other words, as I tried to write the Industry News post this week, I couldn’t find a heck of a lot. What I did find–and it has business ramifications–was about profanity in women’s magazines.
The New York Times article’s headline draws the parallel for you. 50 Shades of Vulgarity. While everyone associated with the literary world and just a few others were enthralled last year by 50 Shades of Grey, Glamour magazine’s cover included a reference to an article published in November 2011 called “12 Ways to Get Your Sh*t Together.”
Granted, this is Glamour, the magazine that acted as a catalyst in a Seinfeld episode about who could master their own domain. (If you didn’t see it, think about it in context of profanity and a new genre called mommy porn. It’ll come to you.)
Still, it wasn’t MAD magazine or Howard Stern Monthly or even Sports Illustrated, which sometimes has an affinity for certain female body parts. Glamour is a magazine published for and marketed to women (and George Costanza). There was so little reaction to the article that the September 2012 cover included a reference to an article titled “Sh*t GIrls Say About Clothes.” The November 2012 issue included an article discussing workouts to improve your, uhhh, butt.
Granted, Glamour isn’t aimed at your grandmother (or at you, if you are a grandmother). But you wouldn’t expect a woman’s magazine to be a leader in the cause of profanity on mainstream magazine covers. And yet it is.
But maybe it’s not so shocking. In a Cheers episode from the 1980s, Diane asked Sam if he knew that the difference between him and a fat, braying ass was. (He didn’t.) Granted, she wasn’t asking about anyone’s posterior. But it was just a few years later when Margaret Whiting told Robert Urich’s Spenser that she would sue his [butt]. Then, a few years later, we got to see Sherry Stringfield’s matching body part on NYPD Blue. More recently, William Shatner starred in a TV show called $h*! My Dad Says. Is it really shocking to see profanity on a magazine cover? (And replacing the vowel with an asterisk really makes no difference.)
The question about this trend toward coarser content for women isn’t whether it’s good or bad. It exists. It’s part of the landscape. And in a world where sexy vampire novels and S&M series dominate literature for women, the real question is what you’ll do about it.
Do you give into the flow and do what’s commercially expected? Or do you stand against the tide and use your lack of profanity as a discriminator?
Is the trend toward profanity and explicit content affecting your writing?