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    Observer Woman Magazine is still crap

    by Sunny on 13th September, 2007 at 2:26 PM    

    For various reasons, usually outlined in the Spitting Mad Woman (SPW) blog, the monthly Observer Woman Magazine (OWM) is really quite crap. For a serious broadsheet to regularly produce such mind-numbing fluff is just incomprehensible, especially since their other supplements on Sport and Music are usually quite good.

    Perhaps realising that they weren’t doing enough to be ‘right-on’, the editors of OWM decided to do a feature on the ‘New Feminists’ this month. You can see the pictures below.

    The feature can be read from here.

    SPW wrote a hilarious skit on her blog imagining the conversation preceding the feature.

    But she explains (in the comments) the reason why OWM is still crap.

    What made us spit is that when OWM finally got around to discussing feminist ideas, they do so by reducing them to vacuous soundbites in response to brainless questions. It is hard to imagine a format less likely to produce revealing, informative, thought-provoking, persuasive or intelligent analysis.

    Meanwhile the neighbouring feature on the New Misogynists was about 3,000 words long, featuring in depth interviews that gave you a real insight into the (ugly) minds of the subjects, lovingly portrayed as dashing rogues. If you can honestly see nothing worthy of mockery and ridicule there, then you should probably just move along.

    Indeed. Of those featured, I know both Mina Rai and Jess McCabe (as well as Atiha Sen-Gupta’s mother Rahila Gupta).

    The problem isn’t with any of those featured (for myself or SPW) but with the OWM’s pitiful coverage. Jess also pointed out to me that they weren’t given make-overs for the piece as SMW speculates, and published her responses to the questions on her blog.
    Feminist Fire also has more.

    Oh OWM editors, you tried so hard. But you’re still crap.

    Update: One of the interviewees, Cate Sevilla, is also disappointed.

    (pictures from Flickr on a CC license)

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    Filed in: Sex equality

    12 Comments below   |  

    Reactions: Twitter, blogs

    1. Jagdeep — on 13th September, 2007 at 3:34 PM  

      It looks like one of those ‘real women’ Dove adverts.

    2. Sofia — on 13th September, 2007 at 4:06 PM  

      There was an interesting article on Cif about mens mags,sexism and modern feminism…and how many women are complicit in the sexist literature and opinions out there. I used to find observer woman quite interesting a while back..but haven’t read it for a long while now…boring and irrelevant…new feminists?? how long did it take for them to think that one up?

    3. Spitting Mad — on 13th September, 2007 at 6:43 PM  

      Many thanks, Sunny

      It’s fun to speculate on whether the OWM team really did ‘try so hard’ or whether they knew exactly what they were doing when they cut the interviews down to a handful of words. My hunch is that while they like the idea of making feminism fashionable, they believe that actually giving any thought to the subject would be far too boring for their readers. At least there were a couple of well-placed barbs allowed to slip through in the interviews.

      In a rare moment of fairness, we should point out that the feature they did on sportswomen in Morocco was actually quite interesting. Not interesting enough for them to put it online though, obviously, which is why we didn’t mention it on the blog.

      While we’re here, can we also give a bit of a plug to our comment on The Thneed? I think you Picklers will probably share our total, abject disgust!

      Spread the bile folks

      dolly, ally & all at OWMMS xx

    4. Robert — on 13th September, 2007 at 10:24 PM  

      I am a big fan of the ex files!

    5. Spitting Mad — on 13th September, 2007 at 11:54 PM  

      Actually, credit where due again, the Ex Files was very good this month. Genuinely interesting couple.

    6. Jai — on 14th September, 2007 at 9:09 AM  


      It looks like one of those ‘real women’ Dove adverts.

      If this was Sepia Mutiny, by now there would be about 300 posts by horny American southie desis going on about how insanely hot they think the Asian kurri in the second picture is.

    7. Ravi Naik — on 14th September, 2007 at 11:08 AM  

      “If this was Sepia Mutiny, by now there would be about 300 posts by horny American southie desis going on about how insanely hot they think the Asian kurri in the second picture is.”

      Are you implying that northies are incapable to see beauty in darker shades? :)

    8. Sofia — on 14th September, 2007 at 11:12 AM  

      I don’t think many indians or pakistanis full stop can think being darker is in any way attractive.
      I think Asians (mostly women) in general have a complete insecurity about skin colour. The amount of times i’ve heard it makes me sick.

    9. Chris Stiles — on 14th September, 2007 at 11:42 AM  

      Should a broadsheet actually be in the business of trying to publish a womans magazine? Inevitably it would seem that they’d end up competing (notionally if nothing else) with the likes of Marie Claire etc. with the figleaf of middle class intellectualism.

      What issues are they trying to address, and why can’t they be addressed in the context of a Sunday broadsheet with a mixed audience? Do they even know what they are trying to do?

    10. Spitting Mad — on 14th September, 2007 at 6:26 PM  

      Chris “Do they even know what they are trying to do?”

      Yes, of course. They are trying to sell advertising to the bluechip fashion houses and retailers. End of story.

      So it is immensely gratifying every time we see the advert for Skoda cars in there - it means their time is surely coming :-)

    11. Jai — on 18th September, 2007 at 3:03 PM  

      Are you implying that northies are incapable to see beauty in darker shades?

      No Ravi, I just mean that many of our US-based Southie friends on Sepia Mutiny frequently become drooling, “ooohing” and “aaaahing” nutters at the merest glimpse of a photo of any Asian chick, hot or not ;)

    12. katie — on 13th October, 2007 at 11:17 PM  

      Your running the photographers pictures for the observer’s feminist spread on your website. It is abuse of her copyright. She is a woman and indian though so perhaps thats ok, with the people who run this site? Perhaps you could pay her some money from your advertisers on your site. Do they pay well the cashmere gloves advertisement?

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