retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Boston Globe reports on something called “The Good Men Project Magazine,” an online publication that “was launched in June and is one of a crop of new magazines - mostly online - that cater to men with features about parenting, relationships, and mental health as opposed to articles about sex and sports common in some traditional men’s publications. The new magazines are intended to reflect the changing role of men in society, but they are also being rolled out at a time when other men’s titles are struggling ... Recent features include a first-person essay by a father trying to understand his teen daughter’s fascination with the ‘Twilight’ movies; a straight man’s perspective on playing in a gay Boston softball league; and a college graduate who wonders when he should start calling himself a man.”

According to the story, “there have been other failed attempts at similar titles. For instance, last year, Best Life, a spinoff of Men’s Health, closed. And in 2008, after three years, Conde Nast folded Men’s Vogue, a monthly publication, back into Vogue after drops in ad sales. The new magazine editors declined to give figures on unique website visitors, but some analysts say that by launching online first, they have a better shot of surviving.

“Additionally, they say recession-related job cuts have led to a renegotiation of familial roles — a reversal that has left some men looking for stories that better reflect their new reality.”

It isn’t the only publication taking this approach. The Globe also writes about “, an online magazine launched in June with how-to articles, from the best way to approach your pregnant wife about remodeling a nursery to how to get children to complete their chores.” The online publication is said to be designed to “counter negative images of men in the media with useful content.”
KC's View:
Hard to know if these particular publications, and others like them, will succeed, but they are notable because they point to changing gender roles in the aftermath of the recession (sometimes referred to as the “he-cession” because it seemed to affect more men’s careers than women’s), and to the idea that innovative business models reflect cultural shifts.

I do have one suggestion to the “college graduate who wonders when he should start calling himself a man.” Don’t worry about what you call yourself. Behave like a man, and everything else will follow. Labels are less important than attitude.