News has broken over the past few days that the much-loved Australian magazine, Cleo, will be closing down after 44 years of being printed. So many women have grown up with this magazine, reading it as if it was the bible of our society’s time. Over the last couple of days I have been lucky enough to work with the extremely creative, passionate and talented team at Cleo HQ. Despite it being a difficult time, their positive spirit and laughter has not gone astray from the funky office.
Cleo Magazine started in November of 1972, being the first magazine to have a naked male centrefold. This element of the magazine took the world by storm — no one had ever seen a male centrefold, they’d only seen female centrefolds that were aimed at males! It was history in the making. With Ita Buttrose as the founding editor, Cleo took on a unique approach to stand out from the other popular magazines on the stand.
Cleo was and still is seen as a magazine that holds the key to information that is not often talked about, or that people are often too shy to discuss. Teenage girls and women lived for each month’s issue as it was jam-packed with answers to questions that they were too shy to ask their friends. It changed the way the media worked and certainly reduced the stigma associated with topics such as sexuality, sex and the tricky questions to do with relationships.
The much-loved magazine has seen many different editors throughout its 44 years, with Buttrose being followed by a number of well-respected names that took the magazine in a new direction to suit with readers’ desires. Lisa Wilkinson, the admirable host of ‘Today Australia’ made her first change to the magazine by taking out the male centrefolds. Her aim was to take the magazine in a new direction so women were actually buying each issue for its content and not the centrefold. This was a bold move, especially when it was made so early in her career as editor-in-chief, however daring changes akin to this enabled her to stay in this position for ten years. Wilkinson also started the annual ’50 Most Eligible Bachelors’ competition, which has continued to be regularly posted each year.
For late teenagers looking for a magazine to suit their age bracket, Cleo is the only magazine on the stand at the moment, and to see it being pulled from the stands is an absolute shock. Late teenagers will now be lost without a magazine to read, and as a result will lose faith in print media. Future generations need to jump from being a reader of Dolly magazine to a more age-appropriate magazine as they become 18 or 19 years old — Cleo was this magazine! Personally, those who are closing Cleo magazine are not only letting down their employees, but are also letting down teenage readers. It’s a disappointment.
To all my friends at Cleo magazine, I would like to say that it has been a privilege to work with you during this difficult time, even if it was only for a short period. Every single one of you are incredibly talented and will go far in your next job. Cleo will always be your magazine, as you have taken it to its best form so far.
Please support Cleo magazine by showing that publishers Bauer Media Group are making the wrong decision by pulling this magazine! Please everyone go buy the February and March editions of Cleo! Cleo Magazine, you will be dearly missed, but never forgotten!