Not all, but an awful lot of women like fashion. Some also like beauty, make-up, the latest hairstyles. And because of this, they might read womens’ magazines on their way home from work, indulging themselves for a few hours in the stuff their wardrobes dream of. One of these magazines is US Glamour – a monthly glossy – which recently bagged an exclusive interview with Barack Obama. And this, according to many lofty commentators, is WRONG. Er….
‘Glamour magazine?’ they snorted. ‘Did they ask him who he’s wearing? Or how he makes his eyes so shiny? DO THEY EVEN KNOW WHO THE PRESIDENT IS?’ So far, so depressingly predictable.
Not only that – and by ‘that’, I mean mindless drivel that presumes all women who like fashion and make up are politically brain dead and probably have fake boobs – they scorned Obama for ducking out of ‘hard’ political questioning, called the move ‘pathetic’ and rebuked the President for not doing something ‘more important’, following his interview with editor-in-chief Cynthia Leive.
Since he’d gone up to eight weeks without a press conference, it was going to come as a shock that his first interview was with a publication which isn’t traditionally political. And the timing is by no means perfect – unemployment in the States is 8.3 percent, their national debt is $15.97 trillion, while a new survey of small businesses indicated that most of them are struggling. Add that to the fact that Obama’s already been criticised for ‘fluff’ interviews in the past and it’s not difficult to conclude that the news wasn’t going to be met with no backlash.
But who’s to say that the President shouldn’t be interviewed by a women’s magazine? Readers are intelligent, professional women worried about their career and their finances. The US version of the magazine has interviewed candidates at each election historically, including Bush in 2008, and reaches more than two million people every month. It took them almost five months to secure the interview. And those employment figures? More than thirty per cent of them are made up by women and teenagers combined – Glamour’s readers. If they’re not politically aware, they should be. And surely this can only serve to encourage and improve that situation?
Finally, this move from the President is a wily one. He’s opening up to a huge audience, and reaching the demographic he needs. This strategy not only works for him, but it also gives women’s magazines a voice – and a back bone. Women’s magazines are changing – for the better – but until we let the old stereotypes go and people realise that, just because you’re favourable to a massive mug of tea and the latest glossy, it doesn’t mean you have the IQ of a spoon, no one will reap the benefits. Not even Obama.