Over the years, Black women’s magazines have captured our hearts with stories specifically constructed by writers who understand our complexity and diversity. From relationships to finances to tips on living our best lives, Black women have found solace in publications dedicated to providing resourceful, entertaining, thought-provoking information as they turn the glossy pages or click from article to article.
Periodically, in the same publications branded to represent Black women, articles are devoted to Black men. It is not unusual that the opposite sex would be written about in any women’s magazine. But the objection that some Black women’s magazines receive for covering brothers can be brutal.
CLUTCH is not exempt from its share of commenters expressing sentiments of discontent whenever an article is published that focuses on brothers. Even if the message is laced in positivity, or discussing issues that pertain to relationships involving both Black men and women, some readers use the comment section to gripe about their dissatisfaction with the coverage of Black men.
“Why does Clutch continue to print articles centered around Black males? I thought this was a magazine for Black women? Why is it assumed we are so interested in Black males?”
“I’m sorry but clutch this is a black woman’s magazine! we dont need to talk about black men all the time. Alot of us are in relationships with men who are not black. lets discuss other issues here. clutch please!”
“Clutch can talk/write about whoever they want to, and I enjoy coming here to read the site. But they DO talk about Black men a whole lot. Clutch has an audience & that audience is mostly Black women. They can’t just assume every Black woman is pro-Black male or is dating one.”
The message from the commenters is clear—Black women’s publications shouldn’t focus on Black men.
As a Black woman, journalist, and die-hard magazine junkie, I understand that positive representations of Black women in the media are lacking. More than anything, I am aware that our stories would not be told if it wasn’t for the few magazines tailored to Black women. But do we honestly expect Black women’s magazines to ignore Black men in every capacity?
I’m inclined to believe that discussing one gender does not cancel out the proven commitment to Black women that these publications have shown year after year. Bigging up Black men doesn’t equate to a lack of concern for Black women.
I totally agree with the argument that a publication for us should not have to kowtow to the ego of a Black man who’s feeling wronged by the male representations in “For Colored Girls.” But not covering them at all? Seems rather absurd. Many of the issues centered on Black men are relevant to us as women and the community.
It is not my hope to silence constructive criticism of the magazines we support with our pocketbooks. But I don’t find “stop covering Black men” as one of the criticisms that is necessarily grounded in anything other than a few Black women’s deep-seeded issues with Black men.
A magazine’s job is to understand what its target demographic wants, consistently provide it, and, in the process, inform. Magazines, including CLUTCH, are not perfect; but CLUTCH has continued to be a publication where Black women can see stories and representations that mirror who they are in some regard. And that doesn’t change because a few articles are written giving props to Black men.
Do publications for Black women have an obligation to solely focus on women? Speak on it.