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August 26, 2004


Joe G.

"Sex, shopping and style — a new concept in women's magazines".

I had to smirk when I read that. A new concept, eh? I thought "women's magazines" have either been doing this covertly (Redbook, YM) or overtly (remember Cosmopolitan anyone) for years, at least here in the U.S.

What a great post on the 84th anniversary of the 19th Ammendment for the right of U.S. women to vote in national elections! :)

Trish Wilson

Thanks for the plug, Hugo. I guess I'm willing to give Scarlet a chance. I'm not put off by the shopping thing because I figure the magazine needs advertisers. Men's magazines like GQ tie to shopping too, although it's the "guy thing" Sharper Image sort of stuff. The only thing I really don't get is why Sex And The City is so popular. That show did absolutely nothing for me. I like Nip/Tuck much better. That show is like watching a train wreck. ;) Maybe it just appeals to my cynical nature.


I had the same reaction as Joe. What do they think other women's magazines are about, knitting?


Ditto what Joe and Camassia said; I actually laughed out loud when I saw that "new" claim.

Maybe I'm being too negative, but what this sounds like to me is a laddie mag for women. Marketing this notion of overgrown immature narcisistic notion of man(boy?)hood (cheap sex and expensive toys, mostly) has been such a marketing coup that they can't help but try to sell it to women, too. buth the key to selling it to women is to dress it up in some cheap "empowerment" talk.

Or, "Sex in the City" feminism, which is the notion that it's somehow subversive and powerful to take the most grotesque characterizations of what masculinity ought to be about, dress it up in some banal language of empowerment, and pass it off as feminism, becuase "women aren't acting like they're supposed to". Great--you've pointed out a hypocricy. But for God's sake don't stop there!

(Trish--I'm glad to see you don't like Sex in the City. I find it one of the most retrograde and overrated shows on TV, but I hesitate to criticize it because almost without exception, by female feminist friends love it. I'm convinced they're mistaken to be impressed with the shows feminist credentials; one of these days I'll force myself to sit through a few episodes and write a critique on my blog. And nice blog, btw, thanks for the pointer Hugo.)


That's good, DJW:

"the key to selling it to women is to dress it up as cheap empowerment talk."


Emily Dubberley

Thanks for all your comments (and thanks, Trish, for pointing out that the reason for the shopping is 'cos we need advertising. We do)

Re: empowerment talk, it's meant to be genuine. I've been running cliterati.co.uk (NB: do not visit the site if you are offended by adult material as it's a site full of fantasies written by women, many of which are graphic) for the last few years for love, not money, because a lot of women out there want sex material that's aimed at them. Sure, providing shopping info isn't that new but freely - and proudly - providing women with masturbation material, is.

We're a *sex* magazine for women, not a *magazine* for women, so the vast amount of content is sex-related. And we will be tackling it in a way that hasn't been tried in the mainstream before - or at least trying to. One of our editorial policies is 'If you'd see a feature in another women's mag, it won't be in Scarlet' So if anyone has any features ideas they've always wanted to see in a women's mag, and haven't, by all means drop me a mail. We're looking to encourage new talent (and everyone gets paid the same rates, whether they're new writers or established writers, so it's not just a way to get cheap content. We mean it!)

Re: casual sex, we're certainly not going to be encouraging it. Neither are we going to make women feel bad for doing it. Whether someone is a virgin or sleeps with lots of people, it's her choice to make and we don't want to perpetuate either the 'only bad women sleep around' or the 'everyone should have lots of sex or they're worthless' myths. We want to help women feel good about themselves. If casual sex makes a woman feel bad, of course we don't want her to do it. And yes, the best sex is within a loving relationship; if you feel bad after any encounter, then it's not something that you should encourage in yourself (or feel pushed towards)

We've changed the strapline on the new site launching soon btw - it was a holding page line. Now the strapline is 'For women who get what they want'. Hopefully, we'll become one of the things that women want - particularly by listening to all the feedback out there and responding to it, which we are.

And finally, Gavin is a lovely publisher: I am in control of the content for the magazine so it's on my head if people don't like it. Which is why I'm so keen to get input and adapt the magazine to what the readers really want when it comes out.

Thanks again for all your comments. I am paying attention.


Emily, thank you so much for your comments and for clarifiying some of what troubled some of us about "Scarlet", at least as the holding page presented it.

I'll be interested in seeing how the magazine develops -- and once it appears, I'll be sure to let my women's studies students know about it, even here in Cali.


I've been reading all these comments with interest and look forward to buying Scarlet.

Camassia might be interested to note that over at bintmagazine.com this week it really is about sex and knitting. I've only just chanced on your blog Hugo so am yet to read your other threads, but have a look at bint and see what you think: might make your blood boil, might not. There's also a blog you might find interesting...


Real sexual confidence is as much about saying no as saying yes. That's a point that young women (and sometimes not so young women) need to hear, over and over and over again.

I'd say young men need this one also.


While this is up, I would like to point out that there is still way more pressure on young women to put their sex partner above everything else in their lives at all times than there is for them to be promiscious. I love my boyfriend, but I think it's perfectly human to want him out of my hair sometimes, but to actually say so is taboo. I think it *is* empowering for young women to get messages that having a variety of feelings about men is perfectly natural, that it's not bad if you don't feel worshipful all the time.


I just happened upon Scarlet and I find it quite refreshing. At least a few different people here threw daggers based on their personal interpretation of the press release. The line "Have you ever looked at a bloke in bed next to you and thought 'Can't you just go home now?" Isn't necessarily about casual sex, it can also be about those times you really want some alone time and your significant other just won't go away. If this magazine speaks to the that part of being a woman that isn't socially acceptable (like the fact that every once in a while I really would like to just "hit it and quit it.") I say bravo. The Erotic Literature concept is excellent. Harlequin Romance novels have been big forever and I don't know about you, but Cosmo doesn't have a monthly story for my reading enjoyment. I don't know if I will suscribe from here in the States, but I hope Scarlet does well!

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