This is a little rant leading off from this article from GQ magazine:
1: GQ is a men’s magazine. That’s not the problem. The problem is that as a high roller kind of men’s magazine, it doesn’t cater to the Wizard Magazine type of reader.
Which leads into the next problem:
2: GQ has a tendency to be sexist not always to women but to other men who don’t meet the requirements of their “cool factor”.
I’ve read a number of GQ magazine articles in the past while waiting for my haircut at the men’s salon, but they usually have articles like “Death of the Douchebag: Is the Jersey Shore Trend Over”? - what makes these types of articles worse is that while geeks and nerds are blamed for the “infantilisation of the media” - the so called “Douchebag” class of people aren’t nearly as ridiculed for their fandom or belief system (Guidos and GQ share some value systems) but they’re ripped on for being annoying. They are not referred to as “immature” like fans of comic book movies and book adaptations of stuff like Harry Potter are.
3: Men’s magazines are not evil, but they suffer a lot from the same problems that magazines aimed at young girls and women do.
Men’s magazines like GQ present a sophisticated, intelligent analysis of modern culture - but sometimes take sexist (towards men) approaches to how to approach issues that men face that may be more complex than they seem. They also seem to have a very classist approach to how certain news stories are presented, see the article I paraphrased earlier, “Death of the Douchebag”. What concerns me is that while it’s considered obnoxious to behave like the Jersey Shore stereotype, the attitudes of “do whatever it takes to succeed”, implying one must trample over weaker men who do not have the same financial or even physiological or biological security other men this magazine is aimed at to attain an alpha-male role.
Problems with this are prevalent because men’s magazines are so vague in what actually consists of the actual demographic a man would read a magazine for to gain information about issues of their interest are ignored in favour of gender stereotyping applied to males.
Compare this to magazines about the Arts, which are very gender neutral indeed. Many Arts magazines acknowledge that their audience’s gender is nowhere near as important as the ideas they need to read about to gain awareness of the current state of the art world. Even though nobody really knows the gender demographic of Arts magazine readers, everybody working in that sort of publishing at least acknowledges that art shouldn’t be a matter of buying a new suit to look fashionable and appealing to women.
Arts magazines aren’t about seducing women, or impressing other men. They simply exist for the discussion of ideas.
Meanwhile in Men’s Magazine Lad Land, the marketing team for a lot of these magazines has no idea what the archetypal “male demographic” wants. GQ tries to act sophisticated when presenting a viewpoint on a current issue, but there exists such a things as being sophisticated and pretentious at the same time.
Lad’s mags like Maxim however, have no pretensions in pandering to a demographic marketers already know exists - teenage to early twenties males who enjoy cheesecake. While questions are raised about whether such magazines are sexist towards women - it can never be argued that such magazines are deliberately sexist against men, because the kind of men who enjoy Maxim will buy Maxim, perhaps on a regular basis - without being judged by the journalists of the magazine Maxim itself.
GQ is more of a grey area. GQ isn’t just a light fluffy magazine like Maxim, and light and fluffy magazines do need to exist. They need to exist because otherwise, the world is just too depressing. Even the most hardened haters of girly mags like Tiger Beat know that.
The world, I’m sad to say, FUCKING NEEDS Tiger Beat, because it is like a light and fluffy marshmallow in magazine form which exists to allow females in its demographic to enjoy and entertain fantasies about cute boys and make up solutions.
However, GQ has problems of the variety that it seems to be presenting itself as an intellectual and sophisticated magazine all the while discrediting many male subcultures as not worthy of being a part of GQ's alpha-male agenda.
Discrediting other subcultures in male culture can be justified in some cases of legitimate criticism, but I don’t think enjoying the Harry Potter movies is equal to being an immature male. Blame the geeks and nerds all you want for why Hollywood isn’t making “movies for adults” - but the praise of Inception despite it being a movie geeks and nerds also enjoy puts your argument into question, GQ.
Inception makes heroes out of pragmatic corporate raiders who have a code of operations that rewards betrayal of anybody who doesn’t support the mission. Sure, Leonardo Di Caprio and his buddies are marketed as dream world super-spies, but let’s not kid ourselves. Geeks and nerds like Inception because of the interesting ideas presented about when the world of dreams and future age technology collide. GQ seems to like movies where stereotypes about male role models such as in Inception, a movie that makes heroes out of handsome, fashionable - corporate white alpha-males is the norm, and emotional attachment to anything prevents you from completing your mission.
Which worries me, actually, about how close this seemingly is to GQ's imagined reader demographic. Inception is loved by both geeks/nerds, and GQ's writers and readers as it seems. But I don't think they have quite the same agenda in why they like it so much.
Which leads me to the final problem I have with men’s magazines.
4: Men’s magazines tend to oversimplify issues pertaining to men as a gender rather than going about the political or cultural conflict since it’s more acceptable for the media to see a problem as political or cultural when it may actually be a gender trouble or even a male dilemma.
Does it bother anybody but me that unlike women, who treat their issues with gender a lot more seriously than men do, for many important reasons - men seem to brush off their woes as half of a species out of conformity to the idea that a certain type of male-ness is something to be aspired to?
Where are my articles detailing the increasing about of male suicides that go unreported in men’s magazines because it doesn’t fit with the half-serious male dialogue about entertainment disguised as “criticism” of media you’re supposed to be lending to issues like THAT ONE?
Why is it that men’s magazines assume everything in a man’s life comes down to being solved by sex (according to these types of mags, preferably with women) or money (where gaining it by trampling over weaker men who “don’t deserve the rewards you won” is encouraged as if we still live in the Darwinian Neolithic era!)?
There are complex problems that men have that are actually worth discussing in magazines aimed at men but are not taken seriously enough - not just by feminists who critique male privilege but the very possessors of male privilege that ignore these problems exist for men in the first place!
It baffles me that all men, according to these magazines, care about on an unconscious level is sex and money. Surely men think about other things right? Like their loved ones, hopes and dreams for the future, bettering the world around them for everybody involved?
The feminists say, “We’ve come a long way baby.” But the masculist movement is so obscure and ignored my fucking spell check doesn’t even recognise it as a damn WORD.
We haven’t come a long way at all as men who come from all kinds of backgrounds. We haven’t even fucking BEGUN.