I received in my in-box an email from the “Editors” (no names provided) of a new on-line magazine, highlighting the March edition with a tie-in to Women’s History month. The email began, “MUSED Magazine, the newest digital destination for lifestyle, entertainment and culture for the social male, is committed to advocating for equal rights for women and men” (emphasis added). That sounded great. So I went to the Mused website and read several articles of interest. But then I clicked on the website’s “About” description:
MUSED Magazine is the newest digital destination for lifestyle, entertainment and culture for the social male. For so long, we have silenced the male voice inside and outside of our communities. MUSED serves as a collective of issues we all care about.
MUSED features commentary, opinions and features that raise awareness of the social male and his life experiences. As the only weekly online magazine for black men in the sector, MUSED releases new issues every Tuesday. The online magazine concept promotes the immersing content experience magazines are known for, and allows new interactive features to stimulate reader engagement, all in a digital format. With a popular blog which is updated daily with the latest news, we continue to establish ourselves as a reliable source meeting the needs for our readers.
Nothing about a commitment to women’s rights or gender equality. How come? Maybe that was the hook to get me to visit the site or blog about it. Fair enough. (It worked!) But would an explicit commitment to equality make the magazine less appealing to the “social male”? And what is a “social male,” anyway? He who is the opposite of anti-social? He who is socially conscious? And what about the claim that the male voice really been “silenced…inside and outside of our communities”? The male voice talking about gender equality may be silenced, but MUSED perpetuates, rather than than breaks, that silence.