Skip to comments.On the Home Front, a Source of Support
Posted on 02/26/2005 7:44:48 PM PST by NYC GOP Chick
By KATE ZERNIKE
MONG the promises to help firm your thighs or give you a more lustrous head of hair that shout out from covers of women's magazines, "7 Things to Expect From A Man Who's Been Living in the Desert" strikes a somewhat discordant note.
It was one of the teasers gracing the cover of the first issue of Military Spouse, a new magazine published every other month that was founded in the run-up to the Iraq war by two Navy wives frustrated by what they perceived as one-dimensional portrayals of military spouses as lonely and bereft.
"It's not about waving goodbye with arms full of children as the carrier takes off," said one of the founders, Babette Maxwell, whose husband is deployed on the aircraft carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower. "It's not just that our husbands go off to war. There are a lot of different facets to our life that we wanted to bring out: how we deal with deployment and base privatization, what opportunities you have out there for your own career, and where you can plan a trip for your family."
"We're not going to make a sob rag out of it," said Ms. Maxwell, 34, who lives in Norfolk, Va. "There's enough of that out there. We're saying: 'This is the life you chose. Here are the tools to deal with it.' "
The magazine, now publishing its third issue, borrows from magazines like Glamour and Good Housekeeping with advice columns, celebrity interviews and beauty, fitness and home decorating features, all tailored for the spouses - most, but not all, women - whose lives are beset by constant upheavals, long absences and sudden deaths. While there are plenty of articles addressing the particular pain and anxiety that goes along with being a military spouse during wartime ("Why Your Warrior Wishes He Was at War" described the guilt of soldiers not deployed), equal space is devoted to topics like "how to dress up those drab government quarters" and features on ways to have a career even if your soldier spouse is constantly moving or leaving you alone to care for the children.
A summer feature will focus on container gardening, a mobile alternative for families who move every year or two, often with just a few weeks' notice. "I can't tell you how many gardens I've planted for somebody else's benefit," said Regina Galvin, an Army wife who is now the managing editor of Military Spouse (www.militaryspousemagazine.com).
The idea for the magazine started with Elsie Hammond, 33, who was finishing her master's degree in business in California and looking for a small business venture. She and Ms. Maxwell spent $20,000 on a mock-up first issue. They spent a year showing it to investors.
After United States troops went into Iraq in March 2003, the operator of a Web site called Sergeant Moms directed them to John Payne, a Georgia businessman who had bought Coastal Georgia magazine with the hopes of expanding it to a regional monthly.
When he realized the size of the potential market for Military Spouse (800,000 military spouses worldwide, according to the women) he called it "an instant sell."
"I didn't have a clue going in how popular it would be," he said. "This is a really great fraternity of spouses. They are as committed as their husbands, or the wives in some cases. You always hear about the husband or the wife, but you don't think about the spouse. This shines a bright light on them as well."
Mr. Payne said he had recently gotten an e-mail message from the publisher of another magazine saying, "You've hit a nerve." He added, "I think that's a very good way to describe it."
The magazine, sold for $3.99 at base stores, at Barnes & Noble and at HEB, a grocery chain in the South, prints 75,000 copies. After the success of the first issue, it was expanded to six issues a year from four.
It is run as a virtual corporation, with its founders in Virginia and California, its publisher in Georgia, and its managing editor and a new art director (an Army son) in Texas.
Mr. Payne said he has agreed to finance it for five years, regardless of how long the war lasts.
"You're a military spouse whether you're at war or not at war," he said.
What a great idea! There is a great need for specialty magazines in this country. This one, in particular, fills a great need for the military spouses.
You're right, that is a good idea that fills a niche.
I wonder if there's any demand for a "Barracks Rat" magazine. I spent nearly 15 years of my career in that category. It could be full of inspection hints, cleaning tricks for that latrine, how to roll the perfect sock, liquid or paste...the floor wax debate, it goes on and on.
For instance, the morning of an IG inspection, take a half cup of laundry bleach and throw it down the drain in the shower room...makes the place smell like a clean swimming pool. Worked every time...LOL
LOL! Who knows? Why don't you give it a try?
I have just found the right one for me. MORE Magazine. It is for Women over 40. Thank goodness! Shows we can be beautiful and attractive in our own right. We don't have to be 20 somethings to have value. :)
Hmm, a weekend NYT article that isn't insipid drivel by a self-absorbed twit? Did I wake up in the Twilight Zone or the Bizarro World?
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