Port magazine's all-white, all-male cover of the six most powerful print editors has been receiving its fair share of flack recently. Its editor-in-chief Dan Crowe gave a fumbling statement that attempted to address the whitewashed cover, by messing up the little diversity represented in the industry: "It is a shame there isn't, for example, a gay person or a black woman editor in there, but unfortunately these are not the people editing these magazines" (both New York's Adam Moss and GQ's Jim Nelson are gay). In a recent statement given at the Port and Moynat Paris Men's Fashion Week party, Crowe didn't seem to have changed his mind, despite the subsequent flood of counterpoint conversation. In fact, he's even less thoughtful.
"I really don't care who edits those magazines, if they were all black, or all white, or all women, or all men, or rabbits — I don't care. I'm aware that — and I was aware — that putting five [sic] white guys on the cover was going to be difficult, but you know, tough shit. That's my opinion."
Tough shit? Difficult is experiencing daily humiliating moments of sexism and belittlement because of your gender or ethnicity. Difficult is being able to out-profit, out-perform, and out-produce magazines like Port while having to face the glass ceiling every time you pass by the magazine racks at the grocery store checkout line. Difficult is not putting six men that look like you on the cover of your own magazine (though, we could make an argument that it is quite difficult to mess up easy facts in two statements like Crowe did).
Sitting down with WWD (that's Women's Wear Daily, Dan, in case you weren't aware who you were talking to), Crowe said that he enjoyed the discussion of what's going on in women's publications that happened post-cover reveal.
"I think things like women's magazines not being in the general sector of certain awards is shocking, and on the other hand, women's magazines consistently ignore general topics. For example, they might do kind of really great long-form pieces, but they're always about women. You know, why don't they do pieces about science or new ways of thinking philosophically about the way we live? It's always kind of counterpointed by being a woman, so the other argument is that women force their magazines to be niche."
…Maybe because women's magazines are for women? Just like GQ is for men? And that you don't have to look very far to include women editor-in-chiefs who helm non-gendered publications (Monika Bauerlein and Clara Jeffery at Mother Jones, Ellen Rosenbush of Harper's, Janice Min at the Hollywood Reporter, to name a few). But if we're talking about revenue and reach, women-specific publications are truly kicking butt. Fifty-one percent of print magazines are read by women, and it seems like a huge oversight to not acknowledge their buying power or cultural influence.
The issue hits U.S. newsstands next week. Judging from Crowe's sloppy defense and his blatant disregard for his female audience (ranging from his female readership to the actual female reporter interviewing him for a women-centric publication like WWD), we can't decide whether reading the issue for the sake of our subsequent rebuttal will be worth the expense of our rising blood pressure. (WWD)
Photo: Courtesy of François Goizé/WWD