What a relief. Just as I’m about to leave behind the interesting
and complex angst of being 30 for the nondescript down-hill slope of the
thirtysomething, Emap has invented a new demographic to make me feel
I am now, officially, in middle youth. My body may shy away from such
embarrassing optimism but my ever juvenile mind embraces the compliment
with unashamed glee.
Apparently, we women in our middle youth (the tag’s already beginning to
fit me like a pair of Wolford Lycra tights) believe in style, passion
and humour. Emap has devised identifying traits - we spend so much on a
haircut that we have to lie, gracefully, to our partner; we won’t go to
the pub unless we can sit down - and created a new magazine, Red, to
suit the stereotype.
Yet again a publishing house claims to have found the key to access the
hearts and minds of the disenfranchised female reader of a certain age.
The last time we Campaigners got this excited was when Wagadon’s Frank
made its debut, only to be met with delicately wrinkled noses on the
Campaign news desk and resigned shrugs as we all returned to Vanity
Fair, reluctantly admitting that the Americans do it best.
But Emap’s taking no chances. Red has been in development for two years
- yes, two whole years. Back then I was a tender 28, Take That were
still wetting pubescent knickers, Channel 5 was full of potential and
Christine Walker was Zenith.
The problem with boasting that your new magazine has been two years in
the planning is not only that things change an awful lot in two years,
but that research can poison creativity. I don’t like the idea of Red
because it smacks of formula, putting potential readers into a neat box.
At a time when the women’s magazine market needs a fix of flair and
innovation, Emap could well be in danger of producing a made-to-order
title that fits few real women.