Women's Periodicals in the United States: Consumer Magazines

By Kathleen L. Endres; Therese L. Lueck | Go to book overview

than in true action photos. Feature articles during the period were found to focus on sex-appropriate sports like tennis rather than aggressive team sports. The study's conclusion? "[T]his magazine's attempt to find a market may have actually reinforced several restrictive attitudes." 71

What's in a name? If the evolution of the name and logo used by WS&F is examined, one thing is obvious: its emphasis on women declined as fitness increased in importance. 72 The original name and logo of womenSports were bold and strong, according to graphic designers. 73 It said, "We are here, so pay attention to us."74 When Women's Sports emerged in 1979, it struggled with how to visually communicate the politics of the magazine with the appropriate font (i.e., typeface) and style (i.e., serif or sans serif, italic or bold), as well as the relative size of the type used to emphasize either women or sports. By 1983, the Women's Sports logo had appeared in at least four different ways.

When the word "Fitness" was first added in May 1984, it was 75 to 80 percent smaller than either "Women's" or "Sports," set in a different typestyle, and placed under the last three letters of the word "Sports." In 1985, "Fitness" gained equal status with "Women's Sports," in terms of both size and typestyle, but remained in a subordinate position. The logo changed again in 1986 when "Women's," "Sports," and "Fitness" were all the same point size and typestyle in a new three-deck head design featuring an ampersand replacing the word "and."

No one has carefully studied the content or covers of WS&F since Windsor and McConnell assumed control. They did, however, redesign the logo twice in their first year. In early 1990 issues, "Sports & Fitness" shared center stage-- equal in size and typestyle. "Women's," however, was reduced to a smaller italic type, part of which actually rested on top of, and appeared to be supported by, the words, "Sports" and "Fitness." The new logo did not last out the year. In November, "Women's" was changed to a bold, sans serif type and clearly separated from "Sports & Fitness," which appeared in a light, classic typeface.

Although its name and logo have not changed since the end of 1990, WS&F will undoubtedly play the name game again in the future. Its critical role in articulating the dialectic between the historically passive feminine mystique and the emerging active female physique makes it so.


Notes
1.
William Shakespeare, The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, 2, 2, 43 ( New York: Harcourt, Brace and World, 1952).
2.
Pete Axthelm, "The Hustler Outhustled," Newsweek, October 1, 1973, p. 3.
3.
Janis Karen Bateman, "Billie Jean King's Publishing Adventure: A Documentary on the Evolution of womenSports Magazine from March 1973 through May 1975," unpublished master's thesis, University of Oregon, 1977, p. 82.
4.
Bateman, "Billie Jean King's Publishing Adventure," p. 83. Names of potential subscribers for womenSports were obtained from the subscriber lists of Diner's Club, Ladies' Home Journal, McCall's, Ms., New York, Psychology Today, Redbook, and Ski and from several women's organizations and college physical education departments.

-469-

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