Happy New Year, everyone, and welcome back to FIT, where the library is open (shorter hours)!
This week’s Mag of the Week is Self, just in time for them to cease publishing in a print format. The publisher, Conde Nast, announced December 2 that after the February 2017 issue, Self will be an online-only entity. They have left the door open for occasional print special issues, though.
The cool thing is that the fitness-focused title, which has taken heat over the years for it’s subtext of “you’re not thin enough” has chosen a curvy model for their last cover.
This title was founded in 1979 by Phyllis Starr Wilson, during the rise of today’s culture of health and fitness.
Wilson tied the passion behind the magazine into the rise of feminism and linked health with confidence, physical strength with professionalism, as seen in her introductory editorial letter,
“An extraordinary spirit and energy are emerging in women today. Fitness is the fuel. We have acquired a strong appetite for the full experience of life—the exhilaration of the outdoors, the challenge and success of professional work, the honest enjoyment of sex. Self will be a guide to the vitality we need to do all the things we want to do.”
The magazine grew quickly, but hit doldrums as other women’s magazines shifted focus to include fitness issues. Various editors changed strategies towards more realistic images of women in natural settings, but the criticism that “healthy=thin” has remained in the background throughout its publishing history. Nonetheless, the title brought a fresh outlook on women’s agency and lifestyle to a magazine industry that still (see this post) equates womanhood with fashion and cooking. It’s also one of the earliest magazines we have that illustrates women’s activewear.
You can take a look here at all the titles we have that address issues of food and health:
We wish you a healthy and happy New Year 2017!