Former Cosmopolitan editor Linda Kelsey has said she is “shocked, bewildered and disgusted” by what has happened to women’s magazines” in recent years.
Kelsey, who edited Cosmo for five years in the mid Eighties, has written of feeling an “overwhelming sense of nausea” browsing a magazine shelf.
She cites coverlines such as Closer – “Incest Mum Shoch: Sex with my son sets me on fire”; Bella – “Why I want my daughter to be a hooker like me” and Thats Life! – “What was sticking out of his bum?”.
Kelsey suggests that the increasingly sensational mag coverlines are the result of the increasing use of reader focus groups by publishers.
She writes: “The idea of a magazine as a girl’s best friend, an entertaining pick-me-up…has disappeared.”
“Now women themselves, by buying these toe-curling weeklies, are colluding in the view of themselves as worthless.
“My hunch – or rather hope – is that as the recession bites, people will want to know once more what to do with their leftovers, and that knitting needles will be put to use in turning a ball of wool into a sweater, rather than for stabbing your best friend’s eyes out and living to tell the tale in a tawdry magazine.”