Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Sell To The Expectant: American Baby

The Good: Decent photography, Inexpensive enough
The Bad: Exceptionally advertisement-filled, Simplistic articles
The Basics: More a catalog with advice than a magazine, American Baby lacks real substance.

Magazines are a tough sell with me. With the explosion of the internet and the sheer volume of information found there (my wife has been reading me horror stories from parent boards on Reddit all day), it is hard to see magazines as a viable source of current information. Despite all of the trouble with ads on the internet, I find it so much more offensive to pay for magazines when they are largely advertisements. That is one of many issues I have with American Baby magazine.

American Baby is a magazine intended to help expectant parents prepare for having a child around. The magazine features tips for room preparation, prenatal health and the like . . . but what it actually seems to be is prime real estate for advertisers of products for babies, maternity wear and cleaners that are safe for using around newborns. The magazine, which is a monthly magazine, is a 68-page glossy magazine available at bookstores and newsstands for $1.99.

Out of 68 pages, thirty-one in the October 2014 issue of American Baby were pure, full-page advertisements, not including inside and back covers! The solid majority of the rest of the pages in the magazine have advertisements on part of the page or are articles that read like ads – a “Special” section on Baby Gear includes prices and shopping locations for all of the items pictured, making it seem like an abrupt catalog inside the magazine.

As for the articles, out of 68 pages, I found one paragraph to be truly useful out of the entire issue. The writers of American Baby present information on why an ultrasound video procedure might not be advisable. Arguably the most supported science presented in the magazine is the advice paragraph about ultrasound videos.

The rest of the magazine is fleshed out with articles on style, health and baby development. American Baby includes articles on creating gender-neutral baby environments, health tips for pregnant women and maternity style (ironically with models who are not pregnant enough to need the clothes they are modeling).

The photography in American Baby is good, but given how much of the photography in the magazine is from advertisers promoting their products, that is unsurprising. The pictures for the magazine are pretty simple pictures of babies – nothing surprising there – and, usually, happy-looking mothers.

While American Baby does not neglect fathers entirely, the magazine clearly targets expectant mothers and helps to perpetrate the unrealistic ideal of motherhood that gets so many women roped into the shackles of having a child. The magazine might not be to blame for the generations of hype and conditioning that surround the idea of tying a woman’s value and self-worth to her being a good mother, but it is certainly not doing anything to combat that!

For other magazine reviews, please check out my reviews of:
Maxim: The Hot 100
AAA Living
Blackest Night Special Edition #1


For other magazine reviews, please check out my Magazine Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2014 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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