The Place of Men in Womxn's Publications

There seem to be stigmas in the media attached to certain pieces of entertainment. This exists in almost any medium. Some forms of entertainment are considered to be ‘lesser than’, consumed by those who do not possess the “good” taste. In the literary world, that stigma befalls genres such as sci-fi/fantasy, cyberpunk novels, young adult fiction, and the romance genre. The latter can be extended beyond the literary world to magazines and presently websites that are geared towards womxn. These tend to be looked down upon by men. Most of the time this is an issue of relatability: most men do not think that they can gain anything in reading a womxn’s magazine. This is not a recent phenomenon.

The reason for this stigma of womxn’s magazines stems from the fact that the magazines of 17th and 18th century mostly only catered to men or were “neutral” (Considered appealing to men, women and children). Obviously, writing and publishing were male-dominated industries.

Initially, magazines that were written for womxn, by womxn predominantly covered issues in the domestic sphere, as well as cosmetics, fashion and music. Hard news was considered a topic only to be handled by men. In the 19th century, magazines such as The English Women’s Journal began adopting a political tone, equality for women, among other concerns. This was the role of Cosmopolitan during the 20th century and currently, there are a plethora of publications geared towards womxn that are both aware of issues but also cover topics related to day-to-day living. However, living in a world where we have to gear things towards womxn in particular only serves to increase the huge chasm that already exists among the genders.

In more recent media debates, aspects of masculinity are being questioned, especially elements of toxicity and patriarchy. Movements like #blackboyjoy are attempting to redefine the stoic aspects of masculinity. Yet we seem to forget that nothing exists in a vacuum. There is no binary. Masculinity needs to relate itself within other modes of being and expression within society.

Now by no means is this an avocation for more male voices in a medium for womxn to express themselves. This would take away from the entire point of publications such as Her Campus. My interaction and participation for this publication is an attempt to show that it is possible for males to be a part of, but not take over a platform that is aimed at empowering womxn.

One of the issues covered in the publication is mental health. This is a taboo topic for most of society and is especially difficult for males, whether heterosexual or not. Society has built up an image of a man as unemotional and distant, and it is something that most men work hard to achieve. This manifests itself as avoiding any type of behaviour that would be deemed as ‘weak’ - especially expressing vulnerability, instead choosing to keep issues buried deep down. However, the issues never really go away, and tend to return in other ways, ranging from reckless to downright dangerous. This is essentially the notion of toxic masculinity. This is sort of like a splinter that is left unattended to due to the uncomfortable process of removing it. Pulling it out means getting rid of the problem, but leaving it means avoiding an uncomfortable situation right now. However, it also means dealing with a possible infection later on. More often than not, whether we like it or not, it takes a personal experience for us to be willing to change our perception on something. I would like to be able to evolve past that, but this is a process.

I think that more males should be reading this publication as it has a lot to offer from a perspective we are not always willing to embrace. Allow your perception of post mediums to be viewed through an intersectional lens. Do you want to learn more about what it means to be a person of colour in a white supremacist society? Read content by POC writers. You want to unlearn your perceptions of disabled people as victims? Follow their narratives. And I think that Her Campus provides a variety of voices on different issues that are relevant to both University and off-campus life.

Also, their Instagram page usually has a lot of posts with glitter and I love glitter.