Entering onto the scene as one of the 'lad mags' on the 1990s, Maxim magazine is undergoing a feminist awakening under the oversight of their new editor in chief, Kate Lanphear. This article argues that this transition is part of a larger cultural shift in American masculinity, away from 'vicarious viciousness' and towards more dignified dialogue.
One can only hope that this shift is here to stay and the norms of masculinity and femininity are further expanded over time. While magazines are just a portion of the social agenda, they can help direct conversations away from the sexist and classist 'lad' and 'frat boy' cultural space that has caused a great deal of harm.
We are witnessing, if not precisely the feminization of the American men’s magazine, then certainly the feminist redecoration of a few outdated rooms in its headquarters. Maxim’s hiring of Lanphear is of a piece with GQ’s bringing on Jezebel alumna Lindy West as a culture writer and with Playboy.com’s posting a pro-woman flowchart headlined “Should You Catcall Her?” A woman’s touch clearly suits the postmodern man cave.