This is such a sad post to write. As you may have heard, Glamour magazine announced it will cease publication and become an online-only entity, with the exception of some special issues… but, honestly, that just seems like something you say to ease the pain of a breakup, like, “We’ll still talk all the time,” or when you move across town and are like, “Oh, but I’ll totally still go to The Grove because it’s the best.” Spoiler: We don’t talk all the time, or really ever, and I never go to The Grove because traffic in that part of town is the pits and I like myself too much to endure it without a life-or-death reason. And thus, I suspect everyone will slowly forget that Glamour ever said it was going to put out some print specials, people will be too far out of the habit of seeking it on a newsstand, and the massive misstep that is “pivot-to-video” can add another notch to its death wall. You know, because that’s a thing that serial killers have.
It isn’t necessarily a surprise to see it go; the massive redesign after the new editor arrived suggested that somebody at Conde Nast asked for something drastic as the industry continues to bleed. Unfortunately, they got something fairly terrible, and it clearly didn’t improve the book’s fortunes. It’s only been eight months since that debuted, so Glamour may never have had a chance. It’s a real shame, because Glamour is capable of some wonderful journalism; hopefully it can remain a digital presence, and this won’t be the beginning of a slow march toward death for the entire brand. Its Women of the Year slate in 2018 was particularly strong, and that event and the stories it brings to the fore are extremely empowering.
But this being its last cover is disappointing. Amber Heard looks plastic and burnished, like one of those ’50s sketches which have since been repurposed into greeting cards and fridge magnets and potholders alongside humorously profane sayings. (It makes me wish her headline was, “Amber Heard: “F*ck That Assh*le I Married.”) She is a classically lovely lady whose face looks pinched and as if they’ve applied new cheekbones to her. Sticking her on the hood of a little red Corvette (or whatever) is also tragically unimaginative. It’s a shame Glamour couldn’t have tapped 365 Days’ Worth of Inspiration to yield something more special, regardless of whether anyone knew this was the swan song.
The profile is fine, detailing Amber Heard’s shift into activism and her views on her career trajectory (“I’ve done the best I could without the luxury of being picky”), and I don’t begrudge her those column inches at all. But a brand like Glamour deserved a better send-off on the whole (and I’m not the only one who feels that way, though I haven’t read that New York Times story; I saw the headline after I had already begun this post, and I didn’t want it to influence me). It deserved a tribute to itself, to its many iterations, to its editors, to its firsts. I’d have loved to read pieces from people who’ve been featured on the magazine or who worked for it during its run. Or a feature on the first-ever Women of the Year from 1980. Or, what about a profile of Katiti Kironde, the first African American to appear on the cover of a women’s magazine, from its August 1968 college issue? Glamour has a history, and that history matters. Even though it will live on digitally, and I’m sure they don’t want to confuse people about that, imagine how gutsy it would’ve been to go out with some bracing writing about the perils print journalism does face, contextualizing the demise of major magazines and media outlets and digging into what’s at stake. Instead, it’s going out with an absolute whimper, and a limp, and a nap, which suggests to me that the decision was made relatively recently and with zero clemency. That makes me sad for all the women who loved it, poured themselves into it, or found themselves in it. Here’s hoping the online version can thrive.
But seriously, everyone, pivot-to-video is bull. Nobody wants it. Let the written win the day.