New Female-Oriented PDN Magazine Too Stereotypical?

New Female-Oriented PDN Magazine Too Stereotypical?

Our friends over at SLR Lounge just brought up an interesting topic that Jezebel posted on a few days ago. I personally received an email alert letting me know that the new magazine Pix, which is aimed specifically at female photographers, was now available. I pointed it out to the rest of the Fstoppers staff, but we didn't know what to make of it without looking at the content. Well apparently the content can be construed as particularly offensive.

From SLR Lounge, syndicated with permission:

"There’s an article on A Photo Editor about how the new online photography magazine, PIX, came under fire by for having an “excessively girly and fluffy content,” and not enough serious photography content. Here are some of the topics in the PIX Magazine, as well as Jezebel’s commentaries on them:

  • “Smudge-proof makeup tips for long days behind the camera” (Because every lady’s top priority while on the job is her mascara!)
  • Seasonal Flats: these flats will keep your feet covered, comfortable and cute while you’re on photo shoots” (Stay away if excessive florals make your eyes hurt.)
  • “Step-by-Step: create these beautiful lanterns for your studio” (Hmm, has nothing whatsoever to do with photography, but ladies looove decorating!) (Side note: I’ll admit that these are pretty awesome and I want to make some for my apartment.)
  • “Beauty Dish: New Jersey-based wedding photographer dishes about her camera-ready style” (Duh, because all women looove weddings!)
  • “Photographing Newborns: A unique kind of labor” (Double duh: all women looove babies!)
  • “In mint-condition: stay on trend with these green accessories” (Uh, seems like someone may have been running a little low on “trend” ideas…)
  • “Luminous Lenses: Shoot in style with these designer lens protection wraps” (Zebra print!)


Nielsen also released a statement in light to this criticism:

"On July 10th The Nielsen Photo Group, parent company of Photo District News, Rangefinder and other publications and photography events, introduced a new, free digital magazine edition of PIX for photo enthusiasts. The content of this edition is specifically geared toward women who enjoy photography as a hobby, featuring articles and product suggestions intended to inspire women to shoot more and create better photographs."

An e-mail announcing PIX was sent to The Nielsen Photo Group’s entire audience including hobbyists, students, emerging and professional photographers. The e-mail introducing PIX mistakenly had the name Photo District News in the sender line.

Essentially, although PIX is a photography magazine, it caters to women who are photo enthusiasts. That’s why their content is more in line with magazines such as Seventeen or Style, as opposed to Nielsen’s other magazines PDN or Rangefinder."

This is fascinating to me, because the articles that are highlighted above can absolutely be construed as stereotypical. But perhaps the market research PDN did on this topic really pointed them to write on these cliché subjects. Even so, does that make it ok? Ladies, what do you think? Is this offensive?

[Via SLR Lounge]

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Von Wong's picture

...if people find it offensive don't read. Frankly I think it's perfectly fine. The average photography magazine is just gear fluff anyways that is repetitive and boring, so what if this time it caters towards women and things that us men don't generally think about (flats, mascara, etc.) The target market is ENTHUSIASTS that are FEMALE so most probably teenagers or young adults who actually worry about this type of thing. 

It's a free digital publication that is pitched as a fluff magazine release. I'm not a woman, so my opinion on this doesn't really matter, but they seem pretty straightforward about the intention of the magazine and it looks like they are following through on their word and not charging anyone for it anyhow.

Can we get one geared towards male photographers?  
How to get hot chicks to model for you!
we review cargo shorts with more pockets for all your cool stuff to go in
How to photograph knives guns and cars.
Why you need a bigger lens.
The worlds most powerful studio strobe, you can bounce the light off the moon!


 I get the irony, but there actually is a market for this stuff, that's why a commercial entity is creating a publication these kinds of vendors can advertise in. Mod straps, one of the kitschy-est accessories my store sells is actually kinda popular, Kelly Moore bags are a decent seller too, and they were designed specifically so a female photographer could carry a DSLR and still look like they have a high-end leather purse instead of a Tamrac utili-pac.

I do find it funny that all the replies thus far have been men...

Libby Stack's picture

No kidding! A colleague recently wrote to me and asked me what was up with all the female "studio" photogs buying Alien Bees uinits. I told him it was because the came in pretty colors. Because when I myself queried some ladies, that was the answer I got.

I'm female and I am offended that "business tips" would be distilled down to garbage like this. I would much rather be able to bounce your Moon Light ;-)

Nielson Photo Group publishes this - My Rangefinder subscription is due and I think there will be no renewal here - even though it's free.

And there is no way in hell I'll be putting zebra stripe sleeves or stickers on my lenses. Bunch of morons.

There are men who actually need someone to convince them to buy a bigger lens? What more would you need to say after, "look - it's bigger"?


Rebecca Britt's picture


While I think the word 'offensive' might be a bit far stretched. I do think that this magazine definitely stereotypes. I'm a female photographer (obviously) and not one of the topics listed above interests me at all. I don't shoot weddings or babies Implying that women's only interest in photography is babies and weddings is absolutely absurd. I could care less if my camera is naked and doesn't have a 'designer lens cover'.  I'm not that big into fashion, period. I want to know how to improve my skill set as a photographer, not how to look good while being an amateur/hobbyist photographer. I have a Rangefinder subscription and it just sits in my bedroom corner, neglected. I'd rather read, 'LightIt! Magazine' or 'Photoshop User'. Something that is actually informative. At least this farce of photography magazine is free. Okay maybe 'farce' is too mean ... fluff it is. 

@google-1f093612c3deb1ff1978a18c925330a8:disqus  , I'd much rather read about how to takes pics of cars and guns.. or cars with guns or even better, cars outfitted with guns driven by robots that require the biggest lens in the word that was made on the moon! Now, is that so hard for a lady such as myself to find?

Tony Hoang's picture

There's an obvious audience that does fit into this stereotype and they're making something just for that segment. I don't see this any more offensive than import tuner magazines having almost naked women on full page spreads while the car is in the background.

While I can see the reason to the response towards the mascara, flats, and wraps, I'm confused as to why there's so much backlash to the subject of weddings and babies. If any generic photography magazine has an article on weddings or babies, are you people going to jump down their throats because you don't shoot weddings or babies? This is only the first issue!

Now, if after a few issues, and they still haven't expanded to other photographic interests, then by all means, go savage on them. But this is only one issue. It doesn't necessarily preclude that women have other interests; they merely haven't covered the other interests yet.

Besides, it seems like it's just picking-and-choosing what to get riled up about. What about the other articles in there? How about the "Road Trip" one with a photo truck? Where's the outrage that PIX is labeling women as truck driving tech crazy photographers? Where is the backlash that since you don't use a 3-phase generator, it is offensive to have a magazine have an article about one?

George Socka's picture

BET has an audience and appears to make money, How is this different?

I agree with Christian about it being partly ad-driven. Like one of Strobist's posts points out, nearly 90 percent of its readers are guys! So when ad execs look at this info and apply the same metric to other "traditional" photography magazines, why would they want to advertise there if their target market are female photography enthusiasts? It also has to do with creating a niche in a time when a lot of other publications are closing shop.

Linked this story to a couple female photog friends and none found it offensive. 

 Who cares? What's stereotypical about a women loving their makeup, shoes and how to stay pretty on the clock? That's not stereotypical, that's women. You should be ashamed for stretching so far to fill a spot on your site. :/

I'm a guy, and wouldn't call myself a feminist (is that even possible?), but this feels sexist, and wrong. Oh, and stupid too.  

If a certain reader's first priority on a photo shoot really is their mascara, then I suggest they take up another profession.

The Nielsen Photo Group claims this magazine is aimed at hobbyists, yet the quotes shown above clearly reference activities that would concern those looking to earn more money from their photography, and those headline references certainly don't seem to emphasise technique or creative thinking.

In my (female) opinion, I don't find it so much offensive as lazy and patronising. Looking good and being comfortable is important, even if it's just to present a professional image on shoots, but as a working photographer, these do come second to actually producing top-quality images.

It's incredibly annoying that a magazine like this thinks women can only photograph babies and weddings. It's as if Annie Liebovitz, Dianne Arbus and Jane Bown were never born. I know of some phenomal female editorial and fashion photographers. Personally, I don't go near weddings or baby shoots, I prefer corporate, fashion and editorial work.

There shouldn't even be a need for a female-oriented magazine; the current ones should be asking (and maybe female readers should send suggestions) about articles that they would find helpful. Regardless of whether they're about camera gear that's more comfortable for women to wear, use or carry, kit that looks more feminine, safety when working alone, etc... I don't mind as long as the tone is more mature and matter-of-fact, not girly.

Giselle Natassia's picture

More than anyhing it's terrifying that photography has become so popular to even generate things like this.

I'm not a woman and I don't see a thing wrong with this. Who cares? If a woman want to get tips on not destroying their LCD with makeup or maybe they want to look good while still doing a physically demanding job by getting good shoes and keeping their hair out of the way, what's wrong with that? Why do any of you guys care in the first place?

Secondly, does Jezabels lens skins make her pictures better? She's an idiot for trying to pretend she's not sitting on the crapper right now reading this magazine. She probably put a leopard book skin on that too.