Friday, April 25, 2014

No ladies at home

This is partly due the shift from print to ebook and Internet, of course. But I can't help but thinking if part of the decline of a 131-year old magazine isn't in part to the fact that fewer women these days are either ladies or interested in home-making:
The monthly Ladies' Home Journal. After 131 years, the July issue will be its last, reports Ad Age. The website will continue on, and the magazine itself will become a quarterly special-interest publication available starting this fall on newsstands, vs. via subscription. Nonetheless, the entire editorial staff was laid off as part of the change. LHJ has a circulation of 3.2 million, down from a 1968 peak of 6.8 million, according to parent company Meredith.
Of course, such things are often harbingers of a pendulum about to change direction. Given that more mothers are staying home than previously, LHJ may have done the equivalent of buying at the top.

14 comments:

jimmy-jimbo said...

Homemaking used to mean doing the things to make life more manageable, but the homemaking & "lifestyle" magazines became elitist a la Martha Stewart and seems awful expensive with the crafting phenomenon. These days, keeping house is much much easier with modern appliances and imported cheap goods. Why make it if you can buy it? Whenever I scan these magazines, I wonder who bothers trying out the recipes and the holiday crafts. Many holiday crafts are actually done at the schools as part of the curiculum. Unless you home school, you don't have to lift a finger doing it yourself. Still, creating a Christmas ornament is unnecessary since you can just pop into a store and buy a ready made ornament. Even baking cookies is much easier with pre-mixed dough.

The internet is where I go to get a recipe, instructions on making a craft, and especially to figure out how to fix something at home. Another thing, these things don't change much. Just recycle the same instructions every year.

August said...

Nowadays, when I hear some female refer to herself as a lady, I have the urge to ask for credentials.
Perhaps I should start referring to myself as a lord, and see were that gets me.

Natalie said...

And print mags just take up space. Unless the content is worth rereading they mostly end up as clutter. There's a couple I'll buy at the airport - Real Simple, Garden and Gun, and Backpacker. Those I may actually go back to again.

cailcorishev said...

I was telling some kids today about how, when I was in school, the boys took shop class to learn how to build stuff (and treat injuries), and the girls took home-economics to learn homemaking skills. They were amazed. I suppose that's a thing of the past too.

Alexander Thompson said...

The 3.8 million thing isn't how many people read it. A fancy lie. They jam news racks in grocery stores full of magizines and way more than half go back to be shredded.

Jack Amok said...

The 3.8 million thing isn't how many people read it. A fancy lie. They jam news racks in grocery stores full of magizines and way more than half go back to be shredded.

I was going to say, if someone can't make a profitable business selling over 3 million of something every month, they've got a problem.

b1bae96e-6447-11e3-b6bb-000f20980440 said...

Modern housewives have pintrest full of crafts, recipes, easy cleaning methods, gardening techniques, etc, they don't need LHJ.

b1bae96e-6447-11e3-b6bb-000f20980440 said...

I was going to say, if someone can't make a profitable business selling over 3 million of something every month, they've got a problem

Its not even that some get channel stuffed shredded. Print circulation numbers are also garbage in the sense if they sell 1 print magazine they assume upwards of 3 readers. That is why the NYT actually charges you more for a digital only subscription (which assumes 1 reader to the advertisers) than it does to have a human being drop a physical object on your door daily, which by the way comes with a free digital subscription

Desiderius said...

"I was telling some kids today about how, when I was in school, the boys took shop class to learn how to build stuff (and treat injuries), and the girls took home-economics to learn homemaking skills. They were amazed. I suppose that's a thing of the past too."

We all, both genders, took both, but it was being phased out mid-80's, especially shop. Too working class.

Now there's a ground swell to phase it back in. Home Ec actually never fully went away and is now overwhelmingly popular - again, for both genders. Guys dig the sort of gals that like Home Ec.

Eric said...

Supposedly they have subscribers. The problem is ad revenue cratered as advertisers target people with Facebook and twitter.

I wouldn't be surprised if a large number of working women get LHJ for the same reason they spend $50k on kitchens they never use.

rycamor said...

This is interesting. I have a cousin who just took the helm of one of the other big names in traditional womens' mags. One of LHJ's largest competitors in fact. Their physical subscriptions have gone up over the past couple years. I think the difference is this mag has made the connection that Generation X is the new prime audience, and that Gen X--even the SWPL urban types--are interested in a return to traditional home life.

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