GWAS Season's Greetings & Thanks

Team Girl With a Satchel will be back on January 10 officially, with sporadic bursts of blogging in between. 

GWAS Meet & Greet

Betty Oxley, 74, and I bonded over a love of Anne of Green Gables in a fruit shop recently, so she invited me into her home – an unassuming cottage on Mount Tamborine with a menagerie of animals and soft toys to keep her company – to show me her book collection. "I'm glad I'm not the only one," she confides, after I share that my personal library, too, consumes a whole room.

Shop Talk: The Satchelnomics of Sales

Shop Talk: The Satchelnomics of Sales 

By Liz Burke

While our festive countdown is just about done, there’s still one extra window to open on the retail Advent calendar. For some, quite sadly, Christmas Day would be more aptly titled Clearance Eve. 

However, retailers have had a less fun build-up to their “most wonderful time of the year” experiencing an incredibly slow Christmas shopping season in one of the worst years for the retail sector in decades.

Media Study: Marta Wohrle on the high standards of blogging

Media Study: Marta Wohrle of Truth in Aging on the high standards of blogging 

"Fifteen years ago, if I had had a great idea for a magazine it would most likely never see the light of day unless, by some near miracle, a major publishing company decided to back me. Now, if I have an idea for a new media property, I can find some open source content management system and for very little money have my own Web site." - Marta Wohrle 

Like many of my blogging contemporaries, I'm at a four-year crossroads with the development of Girl With a Satchel – to fully professionalise the blog, to take it beyond its hobby-horse beginnings into a fully blown media brand, might mean turning it into a slick looking website with all the SEO bells and whistles, which, of course, has been on my To Do List for some time. 

GWAS Note: The gift of giving

GWAS Note: The gift of giving 

Imagine if every child in Australia were to request something for a child in a developing country on their Santa's wish list, and likewise we adults? What a nation of generous givers we would become!

My in-laws have already started this tradition in our family, of supplementing $50 of our usual Kris Kringle allowance for a gift or supplies for someone less fortunate. This year they gifted me $50 of library books to equip two volunteer teachers in Bangladesh teaching literacy to children through Baptist World Aid. Husband was gifted $50 to assist families in Zambia generate income through pig management.

Of course, there are numerous charitable organisations that could use your financial support – I personally find that whatever cause I choose to give to speaks to me on a personal level at the given time, which doesn't make it conditional, but more genuine. By tailoring the gift to your loved one's interests, as my in-laws' did, we can surely cover a lot of ground?

Happy gifting!

Yours truly,
Girl With a Satchel

Girl Talk: Reflections on turning 30 (and why I'm no Kate Moss)

Girl Talk: Reflections on turning 30 (and why I'm no Kate Moss)

When Kate Moss turned 30 in 2004, she ushered in the new decade with a lavish party based on F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Beautiful and the Damned, a decadent tale set in the 1920s full of sex, drugs and orgies. Her party guests – including Naomi Campbell, Gwyneth Paltrow, Sam Taylor-Wood and Stella McCartney – brought along bags bearing the names Tiffany, Cartier, De Beers, Bulgari, Agent Provocateur and D&G, and the birthday girl wore a sequinned dress, her hair in tight curls and her signature smokey eye.

My 30th birthday was a little different. 

The party was dinner at my favourite Malaysian restaurant at Burleigh Beach, I wore Country Road and Zara and my hair in a ponytail, the gift bags were labelled Pandora, Myer, Typo and Prouds, and the guests included my adorable nieces and nephew, two BFFs and husband's family. There was dancing – in the car, before Husband pulled out his bung knee – but no drugs or orgies.

It was short, understated and sweet.

The Burke Report

Liz Burke* rounds out the week in news and current affairs...

While the blazing sun and a ridiculously excited phone call about a certain delivery (to be explained in "12 Days Till Christmas") was enough to get me out of bed this morning, the ALP’s been shocked with a tragic wake-up call to review their asylum seeker policy this week.

A boat carrying at least 70 asylum seekers, now predicted to be holding up to 100 passengers, was destroyed on Wednesday heading towards Christmas Island. The official death toll last night stood at 28, and it’s believed that 42 have been rescued.

Though the search is on with defence forces and flying doctors trying to recover those who were on board, there is little hope for survivors and residents say bodies could be trapped in underwater caves surrounding the site of the shipwreck for weeks.

Glossy Talk: Sometimes only gloss does a justice (Nicole Richie's Wedding)

Glossy Talk: Sometimes only gloss does a girl justice (Nicole Richie's Wedding)

There are a plethora of Nicole Richie in bridal regalia images online, as well as abundant lists of best and worst of this and that, which make for excellent office-time trawling as we creep up on Christmas (I am not list-averse... just wait). But some things are best presented in glossy form: for paging through over a leisurely coffee. 

So I picked up this week's Who to admire the delicate lace work on Nicole's Marchesa gown (it's tulley lovely) and her excellent makeup and to read about her fairytale story (she walked down the aisle on Lionel's arm to "Ballerina Girl"!). Call me a sucker, but for Gen-Ys like myself, who have grown up on a celebrity diet in which Richie has played a starring role, this event surpasses Kate and Wills' pending nuptials (though I do harbour a soft spot for Wills and quite like her).

It may be a sad reflection on a culture invested too heavily into the lives of people who we don't know (or, rather, don't know us), but this is a positive moment in a narrative about a Little Girl Lost who found redemption (and style) and met a lovely guy and had babies and got married. Cliched, maybe, but some traditions, some occasions and some stories will always resonate positively with people. How can we not be happy for her?

Who has also done a commendable job of compiling all the pop culture, newsy and gossipy moments of the year reflecting all the goodness, and awfulness, of life.

Yours truly,
Girl With a Satchel

Girl Talk: Asher Keddie for Sunday magazine

Girl Talk: Asher Keddie for Sunday magazine

As I free-fall towards my 30th birthday (Saturday – eek!), I find I'm increasingly drawn to stories about women in the same age bracket; especially those without kiddies. This "In My Own Words" column (always well edited and worth a squiz) from Sunday magazine struck a chord with me – actress Asher Keddie (who plays Ita Buttrose in the upcoming ABC biopic Paper Giants: The Birth Of Cleo and also played Blanche D'Alpuget in the Network Ten telemovie Hawke) is extremely raw and honest, particularly about her character flaws, her self-conscious 20s and others' perceptions of her. How refreshing. Enjoy if you didn't catch it.
Clickity-click to enlarge the image.

Yours truly,
Girl With a Satchel

Glossy Preview: Vogue, O The Oprah Magazine, Marie Claire (American edition)

Glossy Preview: Vogue, O The Oprah Magazine, Marie Claire

American Vogue's January 2011 edition brings the not unexpected offering of new-year transformations and "Fashion 2011". Bonus inclusions are stories on fatness (notice the all-inclusive "Why we get fat"?) and "beauty secrets of women you envy", to get the year off to a positive start. Dear God, please don't let the "women you envy" include supermodels – because there's only one thing more patronising than learning model eating tips; and that's model beauty tips. 

In the Natalie Portman cover feature, we get a glimpse into her eating habits, which were warped for the period she spent filming the "stylised horror tale" Black Swan, in which she plays an anorexic ballerina called Nina with lesbian tendencies and major psychological issues (see: "The Good Girl Takes on Her Most Provocative Role Yet" – is she competing with Anne Hathaway on this confrontational front?).

Media Study: Gossipy goodwill (Andrew Hornery on Lara Bingle)

Media Study: Gossipy goodwill

The Christmas spirit has spread to the gossip pages of the Sydney media. This Satchel Girl was delighted to open the weekend edition of The Sydney Morning Herald to find Andrew Hornery's column, "Why the bloody hell are they so mean?", on Lara Bingle, replete with apology for past commentary on "crimes against fashion and the occasional social faux pas". How timely. Yes, indeedy, not a moment too late to get on Santa's 2010 Nice List.

The Burke Report

Liz Burke* rounds out the week in news and current affairs...

While last week trying to strike up conversation with fellow Gen-Yers about media bad boy of the moment Julian Assange, they seemed about as dumbstruck as K-Rudd when confronted with the news of the embarrassing revelations concerning the former PM. Now, it’s all that’s being talked about.

Media Study: Bingle v Markson, Fraser-Kirk v McInnes, and sexism in the Australian media

Media Study: Bingle v Markson, Fraser-Kirk v McInnes, and sexism in the Australian media

Model Lara Bingle is out of a plum job this Christmas and so is publicist Kristy Fraser-Kirk. Both young, blonde and ambitious, they're the unfortunate poster girls for what happens when you put your trust in people who don't have your best interests at heart, and also for the maltreatment of women by our nation's media, more particularly beyond the ailing lad-mag genre.

Faith Talk: Tamara Lowe for Jesus

Faith Talk: Tamara Lowe for Jesus

This video has been doing the rounds in Christian circles for a while now, but I came across it this morning again; pertinent as it makes for a challenging precursor to the festive season (what is it we're celebrating again?), the Oprah frenzy (who are we celebrating?) and U2 (and how did he save the world?), too...

Yours truly,
Girl With a Satchel

The Burke Report #1

Liz Burke* rounds out the week in news and current affairs...

After a great deal of speculation and discussion, the new faces of The 7.30 Report were finally revealed today; though, like Nine Entertainment Co. (formerly PBL Media), the show is getting a new name: "7:30". That's a lot of name changes to remember for one week.

Lateline anchor, decided girl crush, and all-round awesome lady Leigh Sales will continue the reign of the redheads, replacing Kerry O’Brien after his 15-year stint as the current affair show’s Sydney-based anchor, while political editor Chris Uhlmann will take on the role as The 7.30’s Report’s 7:30's political editor in Canberra..

Mags: Spectator's prescient ABC editorial

Mags: Spectator's prescient ABC editorial & another spectacle of political bitterness 

Spectator Australia has a snarky piece by former Labor Party leader Mark Latham this week titled "Kerry O'Brien was never God's gift to broadcasting"; ironic given Latham was pilloried by the Aussie press for his turn as 60 Minutes reporter pre-election 2010.

Latham sticks it to not only O'Brien ("so full of himself, his questions...focused on the things he wanted to hear") but also Annabel Crabb ("scatological approach to reporting... commentator-cum-comedian") and the ABC's programming ("pretentious political and arty-farty programs"), using his poison pen to push the privatisation argument:

"In the name of social justice, a Labor government should be eager to privatise the ABC, using the proceeds to fund universal community services and infrastructure... Tangential pap such as The 7:30 Report, Four Corners, Q&A and Insiders would be among the first to go. If the inner-city mob want to watch these shows, they should pay for them through subscription TV."

GWAS Media Satchel

Bits and (Anna Wintour) bobs from the glossy media beat...

- Summer's spectator sport of choice: media! PBL Media has rebranded as Nine Entertainment Co, incorporating Nine Magazines, Nine Television, Nine Digital and Nine Events; David Symons muses on a PBL Media Nine Entertainment Co. float for May; the Ten Network's Billionaire's Club is under ACCC investigation;Bernard Keane examines the implications of our media ownership laws @ Crikey.

- True Blood Aussie Ryan Kwanten has taken out the GQ Man of the Year 2010 Award. The awards night was held at the Sydney Opera House Tuesday evening and attended by Vogue cover girls Elyse Taylor and Nicole Trunfio, as well as Who Sexiest People cover girl Jessica Marais. 

Though he wasn't in attendance, Kwanten's fellow Home and Away alumni Chris Hemsworth won the 'Breakthrough of the Year' award, while other winners included Ben Mendelsohn (Actor of the Year), Xavier Samuel (Man of Style), Wyatt Roy (Politician of the Year), Josh Thomas (Comedian of the Year), Mark Webber (TV Actor of the Year and Matt Preston (Critic of the Year). Jack Manning Bancroft – CEO of Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME) and Young Australian of the Year 2010 – reportedly made a moving speech about breaking stereotypes of Aboriginies. 

Pop Talk: The Oprahfication of Oz

Pop Talk: The Oprahfication of Oz

When Oprah declared, "You had me at the words 'Sydney Oprah House'," she evoked the type of collective euphoria we experienced when Juan Antonio Samaranch stuttered, "The winner is... Sydney". We are the chosen people, the special ones, the winners! You love us, you really love us! So, can we have a free car?

Oprah – with her 300 or so guests and 180-strong crew – hits our shores on December 7 as a formal guest of the government, in what's sure to be a frenzy of fandom, military escorts and media attention. As a precursor to her arrival, Network Ten aired a countdown special last night featuring Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman, with the Queen of Talk probing Urban about his alcoholism and finding peace.

Sponsor Spot: Cute & Chic by The Dreamery

The Christmas Day Outfit rests somewhere between the glam-but-demure Office Party Dress and look-at-me New Year's Eve Ensemble on the sartorial event calendar, requiring a certain casual elegance that will take you from breakfast to church (in my case), lunch and drinkie time with a surfeit of fabric around one's stomach to allow for a gradual expansion without nanna questioning your state of middle-area endowment ("Are you pregnant, dear?").

Faith Talk: Forgiveness for Christmas

Faith Talk: Forgiveness for Christmas

Yesterday three gorgeous young members of our chuch took the reigns to each deliver two-minute sermons. One spoke on faith, another hope, another love. They were remarkable. I had to quell the tears (which is what I'll be doing again this Saturday watching my nieces at their ballet concert).

Oftentimes in Christian circles we get so caught up in theology and doctrine and church politics that the essence of our faith becomes clouded. Conversely, "non believers" become so self reliant, so hardened or dependent on their own resourcefulness and resolve, that they lose all those childlike qualities (fun, wonder, dependence, creativity, trust, forgiveness, hopeful anticipation) that can bring joy in life; the kind of joy that Christmas is all about. This isn't always our fault.

Pretty: Cute & Chic (Meet the Feminist Frockers!)

L to R: Fashion Editor Rosemary Blanch, Layout Director Jane Thorburn, Beauty & Lifestyle Editor Shitika Anand, Web Editor Anna Angel and Editor Sarah Dalton.
Just a few representatives of the Frock Paper Scissors team, these ladies are so much more than their ability to coordinate an outfit and pose for a social snap. In light of 'How much is a pretty picture worth?', I asked them this question: feminism versus frocking up, can they coexist?

Glossy Review: Total Girls have too much stuff

Gloss Review: Total Girls have too much stuff

Every month is like Christmas in the world of tween magazines, so I pity parents looking to find stocking stuffers that surpass the splendiferous and plentiful gifts bestowed on readers each month. 

My old stocking staples, quite literally packets of staples and other such stationery necessities, don't quite cut the mustard next to Celebrity Calendars in Plastic Cases, nor Imagine Town dolls, charm bracelets and cards in a sachet, nor Totally Tasty Total Chef mini mag supplements, all which come with the December issue of Australia's number-one tweenie magazine. Santa Claus? You're stuffed.

No wonder some mothers don't buy their girls magazines: so they don't know what they're missing. If Total Girl ($5.95) had been around at the height of my pester power years, my mother would have had a coronary, so I pass them on to my sister-in-law with trepidation and apologies.

Girl Talk: How much is a pretty picture worth?

Girl Talk: How much is a pretty picture worth?

For those of us who claim to be feminists and rail against the subjugation and objectification of women in society, not everything is black and white: the grey area is significant, as murky and muddied as a coffee you've let go cold.

To be zealous about one's values takes serious and often mind-boggling consideration. Is it okay to spend money on grooming, or does the preoccupation with one's appearance play into the hands of outdated notions of women's role as subordinate accessories, to be seen and not heard? Is it okay or a betrayal to buy gossip magazines that profit from the objectification of female celebrities? To watch films that portray women as sex candy? To partake in beauty, fashion or pop culture practises at all? HEADACHE.

On Friday I thought twice before posting a 'Cute & Chic' tribute to some of the young women who worked on Frock Paper Scissors. My reasoning: while I'm not opposed to celebrating sartorial creativity or offended by youthful beauty, seeing oneself celebrated in purely pictorial form can be detrimental to a girl's self-perception. I'll let you – and them – decide if I should post it or not.

GWAS Film School: Sofia Coppola's Somewhere

GWAS Film School: Somewhere

By Lucy Brook

Four years on from Marie Antoinette, a lavish, pastry studded romp through Versailles, where Kirsten Dunst ran through the halls in sync with New Order and The Strokes, Sofia Coppola returns with Somewhere, a pensive study of an actor and his (seemingly) enviable Los Angeles existence.

Johnny Marco, played by Stephen Dorff, has a permanent dwelling at the Chateau Marmont, Sunset Boulevard’s arcane celebrity retreat, where he kills time watching strippers swing on portable poles and smoking on the hotel’s sun-drenched balcony. 

Pop Talk: A Very GWAS Christmas Music Special

Pop Talk: A Very GWAS Christmas Music Special 

To add to the bloggy festivities kick-started this week with Sophie's Picasa-d GWAS banner (you didn't notice?!), self-nominated GWAS Christmas Cheer Champion Liz Burke lists the pick of celebrity Christmas offerings this silly season.

Not since 2001’s Christmas special smorgasbord, dishing up festive favourites from Destiny’s Child, Jimmy Eat World, Coldplay, Samantha Mumba, and even Pokemon, have pop lovers and Christmas fanatics been so spoilt for choice.

After enjoying a particularly cheerful year with a less-cringe-worthy-than-previous-efforts film release (followed by a minorly cringe-worthy award acceptance speech possibly fuelled by too much holiday eggnog), and a baby on the way with hubby Nick Cannon, Mariah Carey's decided to share some of her good fortune with a follow-up holiday album to her 1994 chart-topper Merry Christmas.

Glossy Talk: Maggie Alderson on feminism, CLEO and her final column for Good Weekend

Glossy Talk: Maggie Alderson on assorted things: feminism, CLEO, royal weddings and her final column for Good Weekend

Maggie at her book launch in Surry Hills, Sydney c/o
When we caught up to talk shop about her new book, Shall We Dance, which should definitely be made into a movie starring Emma Thompson (as Lulu Landers) and Keira Knightley (as her daughter, Theo), Maggie Alderson had some very interesting things to say about editing CLEO, feminism and motherhood. 

So with her final Good Weekend column appearing this coming weekend and a royal wedding on the agenda, I thought it time to let Maggie loose on GWAS. Here goes...

Book Shelf: Half the Sky

Book Shelf: Half the Sky: How to change the world by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn

Review by Lucy Brook

Most nights, when I’d finished a chapter or two of Half the Sky and switched off my reading light, I held the book to my chest and cried. Sometimes, I smiled, at others, I was enraged but always, I was so moved by the courage and hope of the book’s subjects that – spoiler alert! – this is the book I am buying everyone for Christmas.

Half the Sky, by Pulitzer winning husband and wife duo Sheryl Wudunn and Nicholas D. Kristof, is a groundbreaking book that exposes the “most shocking and widespread human-rights violation of our age” – the abuses of women.

Wudunn, a former foreign correspondent and business editor for The New York Times and Kristof, who writes op-ed for the Times as well as an excellent blog, lay out an agenda for the world’s women and detail the three major abuses: sex trafficking, gender-based violence and maternal mortality.

But Half the Sky, named after a Chinese proverb – “women hold up half the sky” – isn’t just a book: it’s a movement, a “call to arms” to “emancipate women and fight global poverty”.

Americans are joining the movement in droves. The book made the New York Times bestseller list, Oprah Winfrey started a giving registry on her website, a documentary and a video game version are in the works and, like Eat Pray Love before it, Half the Sky has become a Western reading group staple. But instead of leaving their husbands, women (and men) are standing up for gender equality in developing nations.

The authors, fearless travellers who stop at nothing (including purchasing sex slaves to free them) to expose the harrowing truths, introduce us to some incredible women, like Mamitu, who grew up in a remote Ethiopian village and now trains surgeons in Addis Ababa. There were times when I closed my eyes in despair or gasped reading the women’s stories, but there’s hope amidst the horror.

As Angelina Jolie said of Half the Sky, “these stories show us the power and resilience of women who would have every reason to give up but never do.”

What’s especially beautiful about the book, and what makes it so essentially unique, is that every page is riddled with hope, and every story has the capacity to inspire action and change. The authors rouse support without chastising privileged Western readers and without inciting hatred of men.

“This is not a tidy world of tyrannical men and victimized women,” they write, “but a messier realm of oppressive social customs adhered to by men and women alike.”

Half the Sky will educate you and open your eyes to unfathomable cruelty, staggering inequality and heart shattering tragedy, but it will also change you in ways you might never have imagined, because, as the authors say in their opening chapter, while “honor killings, sexual slavery, and genital cutting may seem to Western readers to be tragic but inevitable in a world far, far away” we, those privileged Western readers, really do have the ability to change the world. All it takes is an open heart and a little spare change.

Half the Sky: How to Change the World, $27.99, Little Brown. 

To sponsor a woman through Women for Women International, click here.
Yours truly,
Lucy @ Girl With a Satchel

Glossy Talk: State of the (mag)nation - newspaper magazines circulation

Glossy Talk: State of the (mag)nation – newspaper magazines circulation

Fairfax's Sport&Style and the(sydney) magazine were the only two glossy supplements to add circulation in the latest Audit Bureau survey. 

Australia's premier sports and fashion magazine, Sport&Style is distributed via The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age on the first Monday of the month. It's the highest circulating men's magazine in the country, with a combined reach of 331,150 copies in NSW and Victoria, putting it ahead of Zoo Weekly (100,530 weekly sales), Men's Health (75,579), Alpha (73,325) and FHM (50,020)*. 

In May, the title released an iPad app with unique content and interactive features – including video, animation, photo galleries and 360-degree views – in partnership with Hyundai, retailing at $3.49. The affluent title is clearly resonating with men with a penchant for suits and sports presented with style.

Overseen by Fairfax chief executive and publisher Lisa Hudson, both the(sydney) magazine and Sport&Style pose a threat to higher-end publications, such as News Magazines' GQ, for those exclusive AB demographic readers and advertisers. With Fairfax's Good Weekend set to relaunch this month, the publisher is clearly investing in its newspaper-insert brands, as with News Magazines' relaunch of market leader Sunday last weekend.

At the mercy of their host mastheads, the newspaper inserted magazines (NIMs) category presented nominal circulation declines across the board in keeping with newspaper sales. The below table showcases results for both NIMs and their mother ships. The value-adding inserts might prove to be the life-raft newsprint needs, particularly with the youth segment conditioned to expect things for free. 

Comedian Josh Thomas, 23, put the Gen-Y case best when he told Good Weekend's Nicky Barrowclough about his reading habits (he gets everything he finds worth reading via Twitter and blogs) after she spotted fifteen rolled up copies of the paper outside his house: "I thought I should read The Age and be engaged with the world. But they come every single day. Every single day! I hadn't realised what a commitment it was!".

*Sales figures based on the June 2010 Audit Bureau of Circulations report.

Yours truly,
Girl With a Satchel

Mags: State of the (mag) nation - September 2010 Circulation

The show's definitely not over for FAMOUS, the only weekly magazine to post a sales gain in the Audit Bureau of Circulations' latest survey period.

Mirroring the title's impressive readership gain, 5,391 more weekly sales were added to Pacific Magazines' coffers, in contrast to falls experienced across the mass weekly segment, a clear indication that its competitive pricing strategy, if not its extensive coverage of the captivating Kardashian sisters, has worked a treat.

The winner of the Women's Lifestyle award at the recent AMAs, Famous was acknowledged for "tapping into the zeitgeist" with weekly covers "reflecting the talk of the moment, with witty gossip and the latest celebrity news to boot". The magazine's change to a gloss cover "has also added to the magazine's success, making it stand out on the shelf from its matte-covered weekly sisters," said the AMA. I wouldn't hesitate to add a top-notch social media strategy to the winning mix.

Market leader Woman's Day dipped below 400,000 weekly sales, posting 392,503, a fall of -3.9%, but it was stablemate fashion weekly Grazia that lost the most ground, losing 11,778 weekly sales, representing 17.6% of its circulation. Reflecting newsagent Mark Fletcher's experience with the title, NW's circulation dipped a further 11.5%.

But it was the publishers' underacknowledged money makers, the cheapie "reality" weeklies, that lost the most sales overall: Pacific Magazines' That's Life, which underwent a redesign in May, lost weekly 25,555 sales, while competitor ACP title Take 5 shed 20,128.

Yours truly,
Girl With a Satchel

Glossy Talk: CLEO posts biggest readership gain

Glossy Talk: CLEO posts biggest readership gain; Frankie makes impressive debut

Former CLEO editor Sarah Oakes, who resigned from ACP to take the reigns at Fairfax's Sunday Life, can smile a little today, as the magazine has posted the biggest readership gain across the glossy women's magazine spectrum for the period ending September 2010.

After experiencing consecutive falls in readership, the young women's magazine – now edited by Gemma Crisp, who debuted her first issue in mid-September –  has turned around its fortunes thanks to investment in cover mounting, promotional events including the Bachelor of the Year party, a social media strategy and an editorial direction differentiating the magazine from stablemate Cosmopolitan, which lost -8.9% of its readers, though still has 133,000 more readers than CLEO.

CLEO had posted a -8.2% readership loss in the June 2010 Roy Morgan audit, following a 11.5% loss in March 2010, and massive -26.8% loss in the September 2009 audit at the height of GFC fallout. The change of circumstances will be a relief to CLEO staffers as David Gyngell takes the reigns at ACP Magazines, despite his recent suggestion to AFR that no titles will be eliminated from the stable, though "some will need to be tweaked as consumers' magazine tastes change".

Which brings us to Notebook:, the recently folded News Magazines title, which gained 14,000 more readers in the September audit and published its final issue last month, perhaps prematurely. Other strong gainers* included Vogue Australia and The Australian Women's Weekly, while Marie Claire and Harper's BAZAAR and posted nominal increases. The Weekly, which is going from strength to strength under Helen McCabe's leadership, remains the most-read title in the marketplace.

InStyle lost the most readers (35,000) and SHOP Til You Drop dropped 13,000 shopping enthusiasts, likely a lagging indicator of guilt-ridden-GFC consumer sentiment, with new survey entrant Frankie registering a significant 199,000 readers.

With more gains than losses, it seems the glossy market is coming good just in time for the (happy) holidays. 

*Women's Health also gained 7.1%, taking it to 455,000 monthly readers, while Prevention has 158,000 readers, down from 172,000 in the June audit. These currently reside in the GWAS 'Healthies' category.

Yours truly,
Girl With a Satchel

Glossy Talk: Famous outpaces weekly market in readership

Glossy Talk: Famous outpaces weekly magazine market... again; Grazia drops 16,000 readers

Pacific Magazines' Famous has posted the largest year-on-year readership increase for any magazine in the women's weekly market for the September 2010 audit period, cementing its position as the fastest growing weekly title on Aussie newsstands.

The magazine has gained 57,000 new readers since October 2009, according to Roy Morgan's latest survey, representing an impressive 21.1% rise to put it in equal stead (327,000 readers) with rival ACP Magazines title NW, which lost 14,000 readers while going through a tumultuous redesign (or two) and change in editorial appointments.  

NW currently retails at $4.95 while Famous has recently upped its cover price from $3.50 to $3.95.

Famous has utilised the power of social media, including Twitter (6,785 followers) and Facebook (2,332 friends), in addition to, to inform readers about breaking news in the world of celebrity and entertainment.

Famous' Pacific Mags stablemate Who also gained readers (20,000 of them), though New Idea lost 131,000 of them (an 8.1% loss). OK! and Woman's Day posted nominal decreases, while fashion weekly Grazia lays claim to the biggest loss, shedding 16,000 readers since last October.

Decreases were also experienced across the reality weekly category and TV magazine category: TV Week dropped 8.4% of its readership, while TV Soap lost 14.9%.

The overall magazine market gained 4.7% in sales year-on-year.

More readership results to come.

Yours truly,
Girl With a Satchel

Mags: State of the (mag)nation – September 2010 Readership

Robust is what you'd call the Australian magazine market, if the latest Roy Morgan readership figures are anything to go by, and the media market is going to feel the full thrust of the magazine segment over the next 12 months as publishers join forces under the Magazine Publishers of Australia banner in order to restake a sizeable claim of advertising share* and the drive momentum already picking up pace at the nation's biggest publisher, ACP. 

The market increased 4.7% year-on year as it made a steady-as-she-goes recovery from the GFC, boosted by interest in food, health and the home, sectors which all experienced across-the-board readership growth. The women's weekly and glossy market tempered results.

Significant gainers included House & Garden (up 23.4%), which won the "U-Turn of the Year" award at the recent AMAs, BRW (up 24.7%), independent titles Australian Healthy Food Guide (up 40.5%) and The Big Issue (up 54.2%), ACP's DOLLY and Next Media's Inside Sport. Herewith the breakdown...






*Media agency Carat predicts the magazine sector will account for 10.2% and 9.8% of advertising spend in 2010 and 2011 respectively, with magazines losing out to online (11.3% and 12.1% share), newspapers (19.9% and 18.7%) and television (44.8% and 45.4%).

Yours truly,
Girl With a Satchel

Girl Talk: A rainbow of your awesome

Girl Talk: A rainbow of your awesome

While we've been banging on about body image/Photoshop/those contradictory glossies for too long now, it is always good to be reminded of one's true value. Ellen-Maree Elliott contributes her two cents.

Picture: Operation Beautiful
I’m 160 something centimeters high (short), 75 kilos (fat) with oily, problem skin (pimply). There are days when I wake up and look in the mirror and want to cry. But those moments do not define me. Why do they even happen?

For centuries, throughout the world, women have subscribed to regimes so cleverly schemed we think it’s “just life.” Wealthy Chinese women bound their daughter’s feet to ensure they remained tiny and “beautiful”. Nineteenth century women CRUSHED their vital organs into tiny spaces using whale-bone corsets.

Today, women of the western world drink disgusting concoctions, pop pills, treat lettuce as a superfood, live at the gym, and restrict their calorie intake as close to zero as possible – all varying degrees of scary – to reach a number on a scale. We put ourselves through agony – some die – trying to live up to whatever relatively short-lived “in vogue” beauty ideal the powers that be throw at us.

“The ideal woman is very thin, generally white, highly sexualised and objectified,” says Lydia Turner, pyschotherapist and managing director of Body Matters. “Women are often positioned [in the media] as passive and vulnerable, by wearing few clothes and with body language. There is also a continual emphasis on youth... on perpetual girlhood.”

Thinking about our beauty is inescapable. We are attracted to, and reward, beautiful people. (Because we think they’re better for baby-making, or whatever.) There are physical traits we find universally attractive: Google it. But a lot of what we think is attractive is Just. Plain. Hype. We don’t have to listen to those powers that be.

There are stronger influences on our lives than ink, paper and pixelated images. There are more valuable human traits than face symmetry, height and weight. What are paper dolls compared to the exquisite beauty of a friend? What are gazelle-like legs compared to the kindness of a stranger gifting you a pen for the crossword puzzle? (Random act of kindness WIN.)

We need to find more substantial role models than swimsuit models in fashion spreads.

“In our society there is too much emphasis on how beautiful we are,” says Lydia. “We need role models who define their own self-worth by many different things, not just one, like how they look.”

People who make us think, laugh and believe in ourselves; who realise being white, thin and “sexy” is not as impressive as, say, being able to play a duet with yourself on a ukelele. (Or just being able to play a ukelele.)

Lydia says family, community groups and church groups are great places to find inspiring people. “Look for people who have integrity and stick to their values, who are confident and supportive; who you come away from them and feel uplifted.”

She suggests trying to find three women who don’t conform to current beauty standards whom you admire. Write down why. [Maybe on a brightly coloured sticky note.]

But, although it’s great to have someone to aspire to being like, self-confidence is about being proud of ourselves. So, for a moment, let’s put away our, “I don’t want to seem stuck-up-ness” and our “I look fats”. Get some more brightly coloured sticky notes. Write down nice things about yourself. Don’t focus too much on looks.

Make a rainbow of your awesome.

Yours Truly,
Ellen-Maree Elliot @ Girl With a Satchel

Glossy Talk: Awesome cover of the moment

Glossy Talk: Awesome cover of the moment (and GWAS Cover of the Year contender)

I hope this beautiful cover comes to define the women's glossy genre as we step into 2011. Thank you, Brigitte!


Yours truly,
Girl With a Satchel

Glossy Talk: Vogue Australia founder Bernard Leser inducted into AMA Hall of Fame

Girl Talk: Vogue Australia founder inducted into AMA Hall of Fame

Quality over viability was Vogue Australia founder Bernard Leser's motto when he was charged with launching the upmarket fashion magazine as a stand-alone title in Australia in 1959 after being tested as a supplement to the British edition. 

"Quality was absolutely vital," Leser is quoted saying in the Australian Magazine Awards' winners supplement. "We were much more interested in the quality of human relations and the quality of the product than money. The money came after that. We made a good profit but our shareholders were never greedy. We could have made more money had we approached it more in a Murdoch fashion, but the Newhouse family was different in its priorities."

At the AMA Awards held this morning, at which Leser was inducted into the Hall of Fame and given a standing ovation, he reminded the publishing fraternity that the business should be fun, and that creative people are a publication's greatest asset.

"I would say to you all here to always consider the creative people your stars, they are the ones that make the products that make you money."

Perceiving a poor return on investment, Conde Nast sold Vogue Australia to the German-born, New Zealand raised Leser and his business partners in 1972 only to buy it back in 1990. In the meantime, Leser rose to the illustrious ranks of the company, launching a German edition of Vogue in 1978 and becoming the VP of Conde Nast Europe and VP of Conde Nast USA in 1980 while still in London. In 1987 he moved to New York after being appointed president of Conde Nast USA. He returned to Australia in 1994 as chairman and managing director of Conde Nast Asia Pacific, and retired from full-time work in 1997. He was director and chairman of Text media from 1998 to 2002.

While Leser's legacy includes the local edition of the venerable Vogue title, his son, David Leser, is an award-winning journalist whose stories have appeared in Good Weekend and AMA Magazine of the Year The Australian Women's Weekly and whose profile subjects have included Tina Brown, Norma Khouri, Carla Bruni, Germaine Greer and, most recently, Bettina Arndt.

Yours truly,

Girl With a Satchel

Girl Talk: Disney Dreaming and Demi Lovato

Girl Talk: Disney Dreaming and Demi Lovato

This week girls were reminded of the fallibility of Disney-made glossy cover girls. But, says teen blogger Georgie Carroll, that's no reason to stop dreaming.

On Monday the lovely people at Disney helped realise a dream of mine by supplying me with tickets to EuroDisneyland. Giant posters of Demi, Miley and Selena were up around the park, as were big screens playing the theme songs to their TV shows.

I stood there watching them and thinking to myself about how they have everything I could ever want and how their lives are completely and utterly perfect. Then I came home to an internet connection and read about Demi.

To hear that she had checked herself into rehab for self harm and an eating disorder broke my heart. As the complete and utter fangirl that I am, I had always thought that if you were a 'Disney Princess' everything was amazing; you got your happily ever after and nothing bad would, or could, happen.

Demi and her fellow teen stars get to date the hottest guys (Jonas boys, I'm looking at you), are featured on magazine covers, have their own TV shows and appear in movies, but I guess this new turn in events just proves money can't buy you happiness.

Being a teenage girl today is by no means easy. There is so much pressure placed on us by our friends, family, the media and, most importantly, ourselves. We spend so much time trying to achieve this illusive perfection – the top grades, the skinniest bodies, the hottest boyfriends, invites to the biggest parties, popularity – that we neglect to stand back and realise that this perfection doesn't actually exist.

Of course, we then discover this the hard way and end up in a vicious cycle of hate, more often than not directed at ourselves, because we're just not good enough. We end up self-destructing because our happily ever after isn't occurring like it's meant to.

Demi has taken the first step to saving herself and I can only pray she influences other girls to do the same. We just all need to remember that our happily ever after is really just on the next page, we just need the patience to wait.

Read Georgie's full piece @ Frangipani Princess