Alyssa Mastromonaco with colleagues in the Oval Office
If you haven't heard, we made a major announcement: Alyssa Mastromonaco, former Deputy Chief of Staff Operations at the White House and a member of President Obama's staff for the past six years, is joining our staff as a contributing editor. We're thrilled about the new addition—we've been fans of Mastromonaco for a while now. But not everyone agrees with the move. Mastromonaco has been criticized for her decision to take on a role at a women's magazine after her most recent high-powered gig where she empowered women with dreams of working in politics. But it goes beyond her decision to leave Obama's side. Politico wrote an article in response to the decision, claiming that women's magazines demean the achievements of the powerful women they feature. Apparently any woman who so much as glances in the direction of a trendy clutch, her successes are immediately discredited.
Mastromonaco took to the Washington Post to express her dismay towards critics of her decision. While Mastromonaco may no longer be walking the halls of the West Wing, she says that this is her opportunity to share her experience and "pay it forward" to the next generation of female leaders. Mastromonaco is placing herself in a position to connect with women about important issues—issues that are already at the forefront of women's magazine's coverage. Anyone who argues that women's magazines are solely stuffed full of superficial content hasn't picked up a women's magazine in quite some time. As Mastromonaco says, right now is one of the most exciting times for women throughout history. "Every week, it seems, a new, fresh take on what keeps working women from getting their due and having it all captures the zeitgeist," Mastromonaco writes. No one knows this more than women's magazines, and that's why publications everywhere write about tough topics, as well as lighter-hearted ones. Women's magazines shouldn't have to abandon anything that isn't hard-hitting news in order to be taken seriously. Read a few pages deeper and it's clear that real journalism is ingrained in the mission of many women's magazines today.
But article's like Politco's remind us that despite how far women have come in terms of being media mentionable, the double standard still exists. Men's magazines can cover "The World's Sexiest Women" or style and fitness tips alongside an investigative feature or profile and get no flack for it. Why is it (still!) different for women?
Like Mastromonaco, we believe that being informed is sexy. That's why we cover world events that impact women, like sexual assault on college campuses, or the Hobby Lobby SCOTUS ruling. Will you see fashion and beauty in our pages too? Yes—but that doesn't mean that our heavy hitting content is dampened. Same goes for any other women's magazine, for that matter. Women's magazines can be fashionable AND knowledgeable. Just one more time: Women's magazines can be fashionable AND knowledgable. You can learn about the best methods for contouring and read up on the heated debate about abortion clinic buffer zone legislation. And, when we sit down to interview an influential woman, trust us, we want to talk about a lot more than her preferred shade of lipstick.