Discriminating Taste? Or Just Discrimination?

Discriminating Taste? Or Just Discrimination?

Discriminating Taste? Or Just Discrimination?

The XX Factor
What Women Really Think
Aug. 24 2009 4:47 PM

Discriminating Taste? Or Just Discrimination?

/blogs/xx_factor/2009/08/24/why_dont_highend_advertisers_like_older_women/jcr:content/body/slate_image

Sam , I had a different reaction to the NYT story on More magazine and its dearth of luxury advertisers. Whereas magazines geared toward younger readers are full of ads for expensive clothes and purses and jewelry, poor More , with its target audience of women north of 40, is stuck with Oscar Mayer and Bertolli even though its readers make more money than readers of magazines such as Allure and Vogue . Where you saw perhaps "illogical discrimination," I saw a big "Duhhhhhh."

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I made less money back in my 20s than I do now, but those were also my carefree childless days. (I’m a few years away from 40, but close enough to relate.) Even though I was never a clotheshorse, I spent my weekends combing the racks at J. Crew and Banana Republic, eating out at good restaurants, and traveling. A nice watch or a good purse was an occasional luxury but still within reach.

Now that I’ve got three kids and a house big enough to hold them, those days are but a lovely memory. It’s not just the money-though, admittedly, I could buy a different Coach bag every week with what I spend on child care-but time. Right now both my disposable income and free time are dedicated more to the kids than to myself. (And that’s what I wanted, so I’m not complaining.) I even stopped renewing my subscription to In Style a few years ago because it was frustrating to see fashion spreads with $90 shoes labeled a "steal" when I was wondering if I should "splurge" on a pair that cost $40. That doesn’t mean I yearn to read magazines that have ads for cheap wine and Coffee-Mate. But I don’t blame advertisers for not reaching out to me.

Photograph by Getty Images.

Rachael Larimore is the online managing editor of the Weekly Standard and a former Slate senior editor.