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in brief: cleo ditches dirty covers

 Courtesy of Jim Lee

Image courtesy of Jim Lee

Iconic women’s magazine Cleo has been relaunched, minus the traditional mentions of sex on the cover.

The magazine has been around for 40 years, frequently raising eyebrows for its covers that promise advice on how to have (apparently) the best sex ever. This next edition heralds a move in a new direction for the glossy mag, although they are sticking with their usual content in other areas, such as exercise and fashion.

The move was driven by the rise of conservatism in today’s youth. Research conducted by the magazine found that the majority of readers lived at home, and would be uncomfortable with reading a magazine with a cover that advocated graphic content.

The magazine was made famous for its raunchy centrefolds and sex advice. At one point, former editor Lisa Wilkinson ran a nude photo of Arnold Scharzenegger with his junk protected by underwear readers could scratch off.

Cleo appears to be moving away from those days. The latest edition features more serious articles on ‘harassment’ during O-Weeks, and the high cost of international fashion.

It’s little wonder that sex has been dropped as a selling point for the magazine. Young women these days have a constant and diverse wealth of information at their fingertips via the internet, no longing relying on the printed word for tips and gossip. And although Cleo no doubt radicalised the women’s magazine scene in the ’70s and ’80s, using sex to sell a magazine is far more common these days.

It will be interesting to see how the new-look Cleo fairs. While the heteronormative style of the magazine is not to everyone’s taste, any attempt to revamp the struggling print culture should be encouraged.

Lipsters, what do you think of Cleo’s move to strip sex from their covers?

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3 thoughts on “in brief: cleo ditches dirty covers

  1. My local library has it, along with Cosmo, classified as a teen mag. So that puts them on par with Dolly and Girlfriend and I have noticed they’ve been getting more immature in their spreads to look more like Dolly.

  2. -Readers live at home- and could be worried about provocative covers?-
    That’s got to be the first clue that readers are mostly under 18 years and desperate for advice on anything/everything to make their lives better.
    Good on them for relaunching- I wonder if they’ve taken any of Jess Barlow’s advice!

  3. As a way of standing out from their competitors – obviously Dolly, etc, but also the internet – it seems pretty courageous, and a fairly smart bet. A sex headline will always sell, but if readers are becoming more conservative, it could be a way of tapping into a new generation of loyal readers. Then again who knows what those readers will be thinking or wanting to read 10 years in the future. Also but in addition on the third hand, what would I know? I subscribed to this magazine once upon a time (that time being two years ago). So I am in many ways not the teen-girl-mag demographic….

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