In April this year, the Meredith Corporation announced that it would reduce Ladies’ Home Journal to a shadow of its former self. The venerable monthly publication, which has catered to middle-class, educated women since its founding in 1883, will now exist only as a website and a quarterly, news-stand-only edition.
This is a big step down from the Journal’s heyday as one of the ‘Seven Sisters’, the magazines that dictated the rules of life for affluent married women throughout the 20th century. The Sisters used to offer a one-stop shop, covering food, health, etiquette, housekeeping, child-rearing, marriage and fashion. They’ve been eclipsed by specialised titles that do what they used to do, but better: Real Simple for housekeeping; Every Day with Rachael Ray for food; Cosmo and Glamour for sex; US Weekly and Star for celebrity gossip. The remaining Sisters – Better Homes and Gardens, Family Circle, Good Housekeeping, Redbook, and Woman’s Day (McCall’s folded in 2002) – now look staid and Middle American in their checkout-line racks