FiveThirtyEight has tracked how magazines are perceived across different demographics, with the most recent survey from the American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME) showing that women are less likely than men to find their own ideas compelling.
In this article, we’re going to examine why women are not as drawn to publications they perceive as offering an alternative to the mainstream.
First, a brief overview of how ASME has collected data.
Next, we’ll look at how ASSE defines “alternative” and “mainstream” publications.
The ASME survey found that in 2016, women aged 18-29 comprised 41% of the readership, with a median age of 25 years.
That number fell to 37% in 2017, dropping to 30% in 2018 and 27% in 2019.
Women aged 30-49 were the most likely to have an interest in magazines, with 51% having read a publication in the past year.
Men, meanwhile, accounted for only 9% of respondents.
In total, 52% of ASME respondents were male.
However, women made up nearly two-thirds of the overall audience, while men comprised roughly half of that demographic.
This is consistent with previous studies that have shown that women tend to be more interested in magazines that cater to women than magazines that appeal to men.
The survey also found that men are more likely than women to report reading a magazine in the previous year, with 47% of men saying they had read a magazine, compared to 34% of women.
The disparity between the genders’ reading habits was particularly pronounced when the gender of the writer was included.
Women who wrote for men were more likely to report having read magazines for men than for women.
In terms of who was reading the magazines in the last year, men were also more likely for men to be female.
When the gender and the writer were taken into account, women were less likely for women to be reading magazines for their male counterparts than for men.
For example, of the 12 magazines for which a man and a woman were both in the staff, six were for men and six were women.
Of those six magazines, three of them were for women and two were for both men and women.
While it may seem odd to think that women would read more women-oriented magazines than men, it’s important to remember that this is a small percentage of the total market for magazines.
As ASME pointed out in its 2017 study, men are far more likely and often the primary readers of magazines for women than for their men counterparts.
In 2017, there were 12,749 male magazines, which accounted for roughly 17% of all magazines.
In 2018, there was 13,547 male magazines (17.5%).
In 2019, there still were 14,741 male magazines.
Of the 12,947 male and female magazines that were in the workforce, about one-third of them (34.1%) were for the men, and the remaining two-fifths (35.7%) were largely for the women.
As women are more attracted to magazines that they perceive to be a more welcoming space for women, the lack of a more diverse range of magazines is likely to hold them back.
There is a tendency for magazines to cater to the very narrow demographics they’re aimed at, such as young, white, wealthy, and suburban, for example.
This can lead to an environment that is more welcoming of the interests of women and minorities.