“More” and less: Why I canceled More magazine

Is there any other midlife woman out there who gets annoyed when she reads MORE magazine?
I canceled my subscription last year after their story about Nancy Pelosi. The story itself, by Lynn Scherr, was great…well-balanced, neither fawning nor trashing. What bugged me was the tease for it on the cover: “The most hated woman in America.”
Who are they talking about? I wondered, since the tease did not include a name. Is it the woman who drowned her kids? Ruth Madoff? Casey Anthony?
Instead, their “most hated woman” could indeed be the epitome of MORE’s target reader: middle-aged or older, impossibly well-coifed, impossibly well-dressed, well-spoken and rich. A woman who has everything except self-doubt.
And that’s what else bothered me, beyond MORE’s assumption that Pelosi is universally hated. MORE is more or less for older women who have the world figured out. Does that include you?
I’ll admit that MORE celebrates many successful older female role models with inspiring stories. Many have overcome early setbacks that would have destroyed a weaker or less talented person.
But those stories about those women who are so comfortable and secure with themselves are nearly buried in the pages upon pages of ads for Restylane, Botox and Juvederm. Even their editorial pages are replete with $300 Tory Burch shirts and other pricey accessories, affordable only if you’re Meg Whitman or a Texan’s kept woman.
The more I read, the more I thought that MORE was little better than Glamour for grandma. An aspirational magazine that offered a glimpse of what can be yours…as long as you are very wealthy, very skinny and genetically gifted.
It’s bad enough when younger-skewing magazines pitch that message to our daughters. But when a magazine pitches that message to an older audience, it’s disturbing for a different reason. The implication – to me at least — is not only that it can be yours, but that it oughta be by now. We had years to get there, ladies! And now we’re out of time.
Most older women are dealing with at least one of the following: health issues, divorce, aging parents, empty nests, lost jobs, ageism. We are also dealing with fine lines, sagging jowls, thinning hair, thickening waistlines.
I would love to see a magazine that celebrates middle-aged women who do the best with what’s been given them genetically, within reason and without plastic, $1000 hand bags and extreme dieting. Who are neither fashion plates nor frumps. Who are still vibrant and engaged in the world despite loss, hot flashes and years that have not been kind. But of course that doesn’t sell Botox.
Maybe the whole idea of a “woman’s magazine” sounds a little silly as we age. What kind of magazine does an older woman really need? And between all those trips to Neimann Marcus and the plastic surgeon, who has time?

12 thoughts on ““More” and less: Why I canceled More magazine

  1. I sure wish I could express myself as well. Thank you.

  2. I canceled my subscription a few years ago for the very same reasons.

    • Eleanor, thanks so much for your comment. I find that I would much rather read lifestyle sections in publications such as the New York Times or Huffington Post than a publication geared for “older” women — especially one that so vigorously promotes expensive fashion and beauty remedies.

  3. Thanks for being another voice of reason. This is a viewpoint many of us blog about. Women will never be ‘equal’ or ‘free’ until they realize that the fashion and beauty industry doesn’t want them to be beautiful, they want women to be insecure.

  4. Margie, thanks for commenting. Looking forward to reading your insights!

  5. Love the Tory Burch comment. I recently (as in the last few months) a pictorial on the loveliness of tee-shirts. None of these shirts cost less than $40.

  6. Ummm…I’ve never heard of this magazine…LOL

  7. Years ago I heard from a woman writer (who was almost 50 at the time and had written for the magazine) that although they target women of about 50 or older, they prefer not to have women older than 40 on the cover or featured in articles (unless they’re as famous as Nancy Pelosi, I guess).

    • Very interesting! Could it be that women around 40 are in that perfect place between hot young mom and middle-aged matron and are most susceptible to pitches for Juvederm and Botox?

      • Based on my observations (of acquaintances), that’s exactly right! What’s astounding is that some women in their 30s have an idea that a certain amount of “tweaking” is somehow preventative and anti-aging. And the “MILF’s” in their 40s are certainly the target market for most of those fills and procedures.

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