One would be hard-pressed to visit any Australian home and not find a magazine of some kind. Moreover, magazines, like other print media, appeal more to the intellect than to the senses and emotions of their audiences. Magazines became volatile commodities with the advent of television but were able to sustain their territory because they were not as transient as the broadcast media. They are more permanent than newspapers, with a longer readership span; and magazines remain in readers' homes for weeks, months, and sometimes even years.
Since the beginning of magazines in Australia, those with the highest circulation have been aimed at female audiences. The editors announced they would no longer depend on advertising for economic support; instead, they solicited private donations. Magazines have been responsible for the dissemination and proliferation of information to masses of people. As the first national medium, magazines have been at the forefront of the transmission of ideas, information, and attitudes from person to person, city to city, state to state, country to country, and continent to continent. Magazines appear in many forms and formats. Magazines have been so successful in their attempts to communicate with the masses that other media have often emulated them. Newspapers have become more like magazines in marketing methods, writing style, and format (Lester 75). Every year for the past decade there has been the creation of television programs promoted as newsmagazine shows. Still women's earnings are rising compared with men's, a fact that helps make women a consumer group of vital interest to the mass media. In addition, many women who do not work outside the home exercise a considerable voice in making purchases. For years advertisers have recognized the buying power of women consumers and targeted messages to them via the mass media. The movement of women into the labor market has enhanced advertiser interest in reaching a female audience (Biagi 38). This situation stems from the fact that traditional news values represent conflict, controversy, power struggles, political battles, and changes in the status quo--all elements linked to the masculine domination of society. Women, as a group, have not been key players in the political, economic, and military developments that make headlines. Women's activities traditionally have been seen as unworthy of prominent news coverage, either on the front pages of important newspapers or on nightly network newscasts. Women's news generally has fitted into the "soft news" category of entertainment or feature material (Lester 71). The rankings of newspapers on coverage of women in the Women, Men and Media study underscored this point. Apart from their relative absence in the news, the images of women in other areas of mass communications have come under attack. Researchers consistently have found the portrayal of women in advertisements at stereotypical levels. These facts explain entertainment nature of contemporary magazines aimed to bring pleasure and delight instead of education and informing functions (Biagi 35).
Since the future can only be understood in terms of the past, it may be instructive to quickly note the history of women's efforts to influence media content. Feminists have been trying for one hundred years to attack the pervasive stereotypes used in media portrayals of women as