Holy grail or poisoned chalice?

Three generations of men’s magazines

Authored by: Annabelle Mooney

The Routledge Companion to Media and Gender

Print publication date:  December  2013
Online publication date:  December  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415527699
eBook ISBN: 9780203066911
Adobe ISBN: 9781135076955


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In the 1980s particularly, a general-interest men’s magazine was seen as the “holy grail” for publishers (Nixon 1993). The explosion of interest in men’s magazines and masculinities from the mid-1990s onwards makes it easy to forget that magazines for men have long existed although these were not targeted at “men” (Edwards 1997) and lacked large readerships (Crewe 2003b). Rather, they served readerships defined by a particular interest or hobby, such as those dealing with cars, fishing, or sporting pursuits. However, the launch of “style magazines” in the 1980s (Arena, GQ) was met with great enthusiasm. This further intensified with the launch of so-called “lads’ magazines” in the UK in the 1990s. Despite several announcements that this market was disappearing or “growing up” (Carter 2000; Hodgson 2002; Marsden 2010), general-interest men’s magazines appear to be surviving, if not thriving, around the world. The launch of weekly lads’ magazines in the early 2000s underscores this longevity, while also providing some innovations on the older models.

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