How Mean became nasty

Mean Magazine mission

Full disclosure: I borrowed this headline from Merriam-Webster. The dictionary’s exploration of the meaning of mean reminded me that it’s time for me to connect with my readers about the meaning of my Mean, if you get what I mean.

A year ago when I launched Mean Magazine, I wanted the online magazine and podcast to bring together women who were born into different generations. I have friends who range from their 20s to their 80s and I wanted to talk about what we all have in common. I hoped to create conversations among us, and find the similarities and differences in our experiences.

Everyone I spoke to about this multi-generational concept was supportive and thought it was a great idea. I still love that original concept. But it turns out that when you target multiple generations of women it almost feels like you’re talking to all of the women in the world, which doesn’t feel quite focused enough for today’s online media landscape.

Granted we were (and still are) speaking to progressive, feminist, ambitious women. But I’ve found that within that larger group, the women who are really hungry to see themselves in media are women from my generation—Generation X—and older. The women who get the most excited about Mean content are those who are approaching or are in their 50s and beyond.

So while we will continue to bring in younger voices occasionally, this year Mean is making a bit of a pivot towards stories for and about older women, with an eye towards irreverence and age inappropriateness. Today’s 50-somethings don’t follow any arbitrary rules for how a “woman of a certain age” should look or behave. We’re talking about menopause, getting dressed, gray hair, mature skin beauty, aging parents, empty nests, parenting (or grandparenting) littles when you’re 50, age discrimination, and all the other challenges that happen when you’ve lived approximately a half-century.

We’re also talking about the good stuff that comes with age: confidence, skill, courage, self-knowledge, letting go of the small stuff, mentorship opportunities, saying “no” more often (and feeling totally fine about it), not giving a shit what anyone thinks of your outfit (unless you love it then let’s hang out), and general gratitude for life.

As Mean enters its second year, I hope you’ll follow along, join in, and give feedback. Please let me know what you like, what you want more and less of. Above all, I want this publication to be meaningful (see what I did there) for the women in the world who sometimes feel invisible, overlooked, and disrespected, but deserve the exact opposite of all of that. Thank you so much for reading and listening!

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