More Editor-in-Chief Reponds to Literary Gender War

By Jason Boog Comment

moresite_logo.jpgLast week, Details deputy editor Chis Raymond unveiled the 25 Greatest Gen X Books of All Time in his magazine, and told GalleyCat: “Just look at the features in men’s magazines. They’re often much meatier than the fare you find in women’s magazines.”

In response, More magazine’s editor-in-chief Lesley Jane Seymour fired back an email response. “Yawn–another men’s magazine editor proclaiming that men’s magazines are ‘much meatier’ than women’s. It’s such an old-fashioned concept, I’m surprised people feel the need to keep perpetuating it,” she explained in an email interview. “The truth is, there are fluffy magazines for men as well as women out there, but lumping women’s magazines as a whole into the fluffy category is just plain irresponsible.”

She also explained about her magazine’s literary content: “More readers are book lovers who tend to favor literary fiction, memoirs and historical non-fiction with a twist. Our coverage is headed up by Editor-at-Large and Author Dawn Raffel, who has been an assistant adjunct professor at the MFA program at Columbia. She oversees a stable of prominent reviewers including Jane Ciabattari, president of the National Book Critics Circle, and Jayne Anne Phillips, a 2009 finalist for the National Book Award for fiction. We do tend to favor books by or about midlife women, who are severely underrepresented in book circles. We do also take into account the lives of the author–does she have an interesting reinvention story or a unique spin on a news story. We consider ourselves the resource for intelligent and thoughtful midlife readers–and our book pages consistently rate high in the pages of the magazine and on”

She concluded: “Some of the recent More stories I’m incredibly proud of include: our piece on the Endangered Uterus, which uncovered that doctors routinely avoid informing women about less invasive alternatives to hysterectomies; our groundbreaking report on midlife women and HIV, which is now being cited by the CDC; the last profile of Benazir Bhutto before she was assassinated at a political rally in Pakistan; and a profile on anti-abortion activist Leslee Unruh in which More Contributor Amanda Robb found that Unruh had not been completely forthcoming about her personal history. Now that’s a big helping of ‘meat.’ And there are plenty more servings in More and other women’s magazines.”