Feel Bad for Movie Actresses Because They Can't Sell Magazines

Illustration for article titled Feel Bad for Movie Actresses Because They Can't Sell Magazines

Not only is being an over an over 40 Hollywood actress not that bad, but not having a movie-star levels of fame isn't bad either, according to the New York Times. It's a new dawn! It's a new day! I'm feeling...underwhelmed.

“There was a day when movie stars were the gold standard for magazines,” Jess Cagle, the managing editor of Entertainment Weekly, told the paper. But he says that now, covers with TV stars are often selling as well as those with super big names, because "movie stars are less revered than they used to be, and also audiences have shifted their allegiance in large part to television.”

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It's unclear whether we can actually chalk up changing magazine sales to anything more than a market that's flooded, in more ways than one. Despite the fact that print media has been declared dead, there are magazines everywhere you look, it's just that now, many of have moved to the web. Our consumption of celebrity culture is allegedly at an all time high. And more than that, our idea of what celebrity is has changed. Kim Kardashian is cover-worthy, whether or not we all think she should be. People like her are essentially bridging the gap between being an actress, a socialite or a model – all careers that have dominated different parts of the magazine industry at one point or another. If anything, these actress/model/socialite/musician hybrids are just proving that in order to get attention, you need to be a jack of all trades in today's society.

Even the idea that this article is bred from – that it's normal for an actress to be on the cover of a magazine that isn't a tabloid – is a relatively new one; there was a time, not so long ago, when having a non-model on the cover of Vogue was considered blasphemous. Thank god Anna Wintour changed all that.

That doesn't mean that this switch to more "low-brow" content is being well-received by everyone. One commenter on the piece displayed an extreme prejudice towards more traditional covers that echoed almost every Letter to the Editor page ever seen in a women's magazine. You know, when the person hates whoever was on the cover last month because they're too young/not serious enough/not interesting/etc:

I'm a Vanity Fair subscriber and would not buy the magazine with a Miley Cyrus cover. Cringe-worthy. I would say most of the magazine's readers feel the same. If I want to read about Cyrus, Bieber and the Khardashians [sic], I'll borrow a copy of The Rise and Fall of American Culture at my local library.

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Of course, Cyrus is an actress, Bieber is a musician, and the Kardashians are...quadruple-something threats. None of them are just on TV anymore, but at least two of them started there.

Images via W, Vogue and Allure

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DISCUSSION

The premise of this article, that film stardom has lost some its allure relative to stars in other media, is nominally interesting. But this throw-away line toward the end is what caught my attention:

"A recently published study by the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism showed that the percentage of female characters with a speaking part in the nation’s top movies each year reached its lowest point in the past five years in 2012, at 28 percent."