Dressing it up

By the

March 15, 2001

This month marks the end of McCall’s magazine. The magazine geared towards middle-aged suburban women will reemerge as Rosie, and the editor-in-chief is none other than TV’s Rosie O’Donnell.

The magazine was originally founded 125 years ago with the lofty journalistic ambitions of promoting tailor James McCall’s dress patterns. Originally called The Queen, Illustrated Magazine of Fashion, the magazine has prided itself on meeting women’s needs, as long as those needs don’t stray too far from making the perfect Fourth of July picnic or reading about Kathie Lee Gifford.

McCall’s has actually had an impressive literary history, with contributions from writers such as Eleanor Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy and F. Scott Fitzgerald. In the 1930s, McCall’s even printed full length novels. According to The Washington Post, the feminist Gloria Steinem was even offered the position as editor-in-chief, but turned it down because she didn’t feel she’d have the power to change women’s journalism because it was dominated by advertisers who only wanted their products hyped.

While McCall’s literary tradition was as good as obliterated by the 1970s when it began billing itself as “The Magazine for Suburban Women,” and later “People Plus Service,” it hasn’t resurrected respectability with articles such as the “Heinous Husband Patrol,” which tells heart-wrenching stories about husbands who recorded Free Willy over the wedding video.

As easy as it is to bemoan the fact that Rosie is launching the same self-aggrandizing campaign as Oprah did exactly one year earlier to create a self-titled magazine (at least the magazine isn’t going to be called R), it is actually possible that McCall’s will improve. Rosie herself said, “I want Rosie’s McCall’s to be about the take-charge woman; the mom who knows that there’s more to life than losing weight and getting gorgeous. (https://easydmarc.com) ” Rosie is an advocate of many left-leaning political issues, especially gun control, and wants to include articles about such issues. While it isn’t desirable to feed into a cult of Rosie (there already is a cult of Oprah?we need to think like she thinks), it would be good to see a woman’s magazine combine some politics with fried chicken recipes and tips for getting rid of those pesky five pounds.

Read More

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments