Thursday, February 25, 2010

An Open Letter to Military Spouse Magazine: Updated



Whoever runs your Facebook Fanpage asked a question yesterday that caused quite a commotion. You all wanted to know what everyone thought of the cover for the March issue.

First things first...I was thrilled a new issue hit stands for one reason: it replaced the February issue. The "cover model" you selected for that one was not a spouse, but a military service member. He was chosen as the "hottest husband in uniform." This cover was embarrassing. As a military spouse I took it as a slap in the face. Saying something like "EXTRA, EXTRA! We've got pictures of hunks for you to drool over!" only supports the idea that all of us military wives are just man-hungry-bon-bon-eating-female-porn-addicted slobs. Whether my husband is home or away he is my dreamy man in uniform. I don't drool over other men in uniform, they are like brothers to me. I hate the idea that civilians at book stores were seeing that February cover and assuming that all military wives out there are like that. My husband is hot...but I'm most proud of what an amazing soldier he is.



Reactions to this month's issue were vocalized. Some tactfully, others not so much.

Many people couldn't get passed the cover model's make-up. It was over the top, but the thing that got me was the fashion spread. Spouses aren't actually featured anymore they are just dolled up for pictures. No interviews or inspiring stories, we only get to see how a stylist dresses them.

More and more you all are doing these "fluff" pieces. You apparently think you are doing us a favor by spending your resources on fashion, beauty and fitness features. I feel like you are doing the military community a great disservice. A few have been telling you all "We'd love more fitness articles." Or "I want to see homecoming fashion." These articles that you have been doing would be okay if they were less frequent. The biggest problem is that someone has lost sight of what Military Spouse Magazine's purpose is. Wasn't it to bring information, support, and community to us? To make an intimidating place like an Army post seem less scary and more exciting?

Publishing these fluff pieces caters to one group of wives: they are the ones who romanticized marrying the military and 1, or 10, years later are shaking their fists at the world screaming "I'M MORE THAN JUST A MILITARY WIFE!" Yeah, I get that. There is more to me than washing ACU's or shaking the Commander's hand. But that "more" part of me doesn't need Military Spouse Magazine. I love fashion...and to get my fill I read Vogue, Elle, or Harper's Bazaar. I like to stay fit and learn new make-up tips. So I pick up Self, Women's Health, or Allure.

I want, and need, advice on what to do when I meet a Brigadier General. I turn to....

You're it.

That's right.

Just Military Spouse Magazine. There are no others out there that can help me in this area.

I've been married to the Army for 4 years. I'm not from a military family. I've never lived on or near a post. I never knew the Army could keep my husband from living with me for 3 years until it happened.

There are others out there like me. We don't know much about the military life, its do's and don'ts, or how we will make it through the next 20 years. All we know is that those who have gone before us are supposed to be paving the way.

Is that path paved with patent leather shoes and heavy eye make-up? Is that all it takes to walk it? According to your latest issues...yes.

I beg, plead, and beseech you, Military Spouse Magazine...stop wasting our time and money. If your faithful subscribers are starting to say it only takes them 5 minutes to read an issue then toss it in the trash, there is a problem.

Be what we need you for.



UPDATE: I did receive a response from Military Spouse Magazine at 8:23 this morning. They read my email very quickly :P The bottom line of what they said was a whole lot of "We listen to our readers." My huge issue now is that either they are trying to be sly or just aren't doing their research properly. If you ask a group of women "Would you like to see more beauty and fashion pieces to balance out the 'heavy' topics?" then of course you will get many who chime in and say YES! YES! However....the question should be "Would you like to see more non-military articles INSTEAD of the military lifestyle articles people currently purchase our magazine for?" Do you see the difference? Military Spouse is missing the mark. If these "light" articles were in addition to what the magazine used to published, then great. I still wouldn't pay much attention to their fashion advice. I don't go to an OBGYN to hear the benefits of flossing my teeth everyday. But still, if they were to make the magazine bigger that would be okay. That other stuff would be what it is...extras.


As (maybe) 1 final note...they claim that they only use real military spouses for their cover and photo shoots. Not so. If you read (what little there is to read) of the fashion spread you learn about the 4 ladies who "star" in it. Each one is named and then a title or description is given. The cover girl actually is a spouse. So is one of the other women. Then there is one who is described as "the daughter of a former Air Force brat." Um...basically she is the daughter of someone who used to be a brat. She's not a military spouse, she herself is not even a military brat. Wanna know who she is? She's the daughter of the stylist who worked on the shoot. Light bulbs going off for anyone??? The last women isn't listed with any description or military connection.


From their response:

"
What I can also say is that our goals with the cover (and images) used for the magazine is for it to be representative of our entire community. Different ages, different races, different backgrounds, different lives. We've had cover models that are in their 50s, as well as this most recent 19 year old. What connects with one person may not connect with another...but, that's ok, because next issue or down the line, one will. We have to have something for everyone. What is important is the content within, and we hear what you are saying to us. Keep your ideas coming, ok?"

Good job connecting with the community.

And one last thing...they say people want more "feel good pieces." There are plenty of feel good stories and experience in the military community. Not every issue needs to be packed with dark stuff like "What to do if your husband gets _________ in action." They are over looking the beauty of the military community and that has made me completely lose faith in Military Spouse.



ETA: I've had many people ask what they can help do with this issue or just say that they also want to see a change happen. I just responded again to Military Spouse's email and I'm waiting to see if anything comes of it. The biggest thing I think that everyone can do is tweet about this, email Military Spouse Magazine, post blogs about it, link back to this letter...whatever. Word just needs to be spread. More people need to speak up.



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26 comments:

BSS said...

I completely agree, after the past few issues, I'm pretty sure I won't buy another copy. I can glean more useful information just by reading blogs :)

K said...

I completely agree!! Very well said!

Mrs. G.I. Joe said...

Thank you ladies!!! It means a lot to know someone else agrees.

I figured even if my opinion ends up being "unpopular" I need to speak up for those of us who feel let down and left behind.

♥ Annie ♥ said...

I completely agree! Each issue gets progressively worse and more detached for its initial purpose.

Sarah said...

I've never even read this magazine, but wow.... that's definitely dissapointing. It's late or I might have more to say...

Katie F said...

I started reading this magazine from day one and I have become disappointed with it. Loved your post. I def don't buy military spouse magazine to learn about fashion or to see the hot guys out there. It reminded me of when Cosmo magazine used to do their home town hottie's spread. I havent't bought the last two issues for the reasons stated in your post

Mrs. G.I. Joe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mrs. G.I. Joe said...

I just got the most laughable response from Military Spouse. I didn't expect them to say "We'll change everything just for you" and I certainly didn't expect them to respond first thing in the morning.

But they basically didn't even read this. (I copy/pasted it into an email at 2 am)

I was hoping some good would come from this...don't know what...but oh well.

I guess if more people spread the word on this then maybe it will caused them to stop and listen. The military spouse community deserves better than this.

Name: Holly Bowne said...

Wow! I'm not a military spouse, but from what I see here I'd say you are spot on with your comments!

There most certainly are plenty of typical fashion/beauty/GQ-type magazines out there to fulfill other purposes. You would think Military Spouse publishers would recognize its unique market niche and capitalize on it instead of trying to look like every other magazine out there.

Stephanie Hartman said...

Very well said girl I totally agree...

Sarah said...

Wow. I've never read the magazine..and didn't even know it existed. But, I'm pretty sure I won't be picking it up anytime soon. Maybe we should start a boycott?

Mrs. G.I. Joe said...

Haha yes! A boycott sounds great! Seriously...that mag can be a military spouse's best resource...but its starting to fail miserably these days.

I finally got their Facebook fanpage link fixed.

R said...

Not having any military connections myself (other than my Grampa having served before my mom was born) I had no idea that this magazine existed, and only see the "glitterized" versions of military life that are shown in movies & on TV (and how real are any of those right? Band of Brothers? We Were Soldiers? The Thin Red Line? Pearl Harbor? etc. etc. - although I have to say I've enjoyed the show Army Wives on Lifetime - not expecting that it's very factual though!) but if I were in the position of being a military spouse - I'd be downright ticked off that a magazine that is supposed to be for ME and others LIKE me - is doing exactly the opposite. If there is anything that I can do to help out with your boycotting cause, I'd be more than happy to! Our military families give up SO much for the rest of us, shouldn't a magazine dedicated to these families actually BE for them? Ugh. It disgusts me.

Ashley said...

Well said! :)

Chelle said...

I've been a military wife with the ex and current for 10 years now and did not know of this magazine. Going to search it out soon.

As for the "hottest husband" ehh that honestly doesn't bother me. To me that is like the Military Spouse of the year (which I just now realized is part of the magazine). It's wives who are proud of how their husband's look/act/do and want to show them off. One could say the Military Spouse of the Year contest is a way to say "hey this wife is better then you because she does X, X, X, and X while dealing with X & X; while you're only dealing with R and doing P with a little J." It's all a matter of perception I think.

Now since I haven't read the magazine I am going off what you say about the military wife being featured. If that is the case that's wrong. They shouldn't doll a spouse up with extra globs of makeup and just do a photo shoot. Reading another spouse's insight is beneficial and I would assume the focal point of the magazine.

mrs_muffins said...

I think you should publish their response... :)

Mrs P said...

Very well said!

Maria Morrow said...

love it. You are so right.

Riding the Roller Coaster said...

Hello! I'm your newest follower after seeing your name pop up on several other mil spouse blogs. Very well said. I've actually never read the magazine. Keep telling myself I SHOULD because that's what military spouses are SUPPOSED to do. But I haven't yet, and maybe I won't after your post!

C.L.B.D. said...

It would be great if you start your own military spouses mag! But in the mean time, with the lack of quality material out there, I know plenty of spouses do/will appreciate your blog. I think any magazine is remiss to skimp on the purpose of why they exist. I stopped getting wakeboarding magazines when they focused more on the partying that the pro wakeboarders do, than the actual sport...common sense??

Kerry said...

Hi chica. I know I've already mentioned this via twitter but I wanted to blab some more, lol.

I REALLY hope they decide to change their content to fit OUR TRUE lifestyle. I totally agree with you on military wives wanting and "NEEDING" a common ground to find out info, vent, enjoy funny little articles, feel touched about emotional stories and I think this magazine can provide that. I honestly don't think they knew exactly how we felt about it until now because we're finally voicing our opinions which I think is awesome.

I don't think they expected the response they got from Facebook but I'm glad it took such a simple question for the light bulbs to go off for them. I do think they're making an effort but only time will tell.

Until then I applaud you for writing up this post and voicing your opinion, its very much appreciated. :)

The Mrs. said...

excellent post!

September Love said...

I didn't even know this magazine existed. But I agree with you, J! You have every right to be upset with them. I would have done the same!

Mary Teresa said...

I agree. The magazine was a huge asset to me as a new militaryt spouse and gave me the courage and knowledge that there were other spouses out there that had made it through the introductary 5 years of the life and lived to tell about it. While I am not so bothered by hottest husband of the year, (Mine is, but I don't like to share ;)) I am quite bothered that they are featuring models etc. that are not spouses. The name of the magazine is MILITARY SPOUSE. It should be a magazine for us. We can get our health, beauty, and food elsewhere, but they are the lone ranger for issues involving the wonderful world of military spousedom. I'm linking too you and thank you for taking the time to take a stand for those of us that may not always quite know how to take one for themselves.

Michelle Ioapo A'etonu said...

Wow! Way to go! I appreciate your passion and vigor and totally agree with everything you said. i don't read this magazine, but I was particularly annoyed with the hottie husband issue. my husband and i are both in the military and while, yes, my husband is gorgeous, i am more proud of one of his best assets--which is what he does on a day to day basis as a soldier (who, by the way, is currently deployed). maybe they should highlight all of those things that our husbands do for our nation and not waste their time on such garbage!

Vanessa said...

Found your blog from a friend and had to post!!

Love your letter to the magazine! I agree with what you said.
Most people picking up this magazine are looking for answers that they can't get from Allure or Cosmo. That is why the magazine can be a great friend to military spouses.

As for the hunky husband issue, it's nice to celebrate our spouses but really it was probably a way to get people to read the magazine once the magazine went "fluffy".

I'm a Canadian military wife and we don't have a magazine like this. You guys are SO lucky that there is something like this available to you. It's your voices so make them count!