Men’s Writes Advocacy
It seems to me I grew up surrounded by “men’s fiction” - most SF, fantasy (still way more Conan than Marion Zimmer Bradley in those days), almost all superhero comics, “hard-boiled” crime (so much worthier than the ‘cosy’ detective novel written by ppl called Agatha or Dorothy of course!), war novels. I have my likes and dislikes in this - I just blogged a man v polar bear picture for goodness sakes - but men have long had their niches. Still do - less pungently pulp-derived perhaps but my morning commute is studded with posters for impossibly awful looking “bestseller” novels about TOUGH MEN who GET SHIT DONE with names like JACK REACHER.
Doubtless women read about Mr Reacher too - and the pulp niches I mentioned have become (tho who am I to judge) marginally less female-oblivious than they were when I was small. But still I didn’t read Esquire’s move as just awkward Coke Zero style marketing to try and rescue unreading men. Partly because, well, it’s ESQUIRE - who have tried for years to position ‘thoughtful’ longform journalism as a male preserve, the prose equivalent of the well-cut suit - we can attract writers, nay STYLISTS of the calibre of Martin Amis &c by giving them a smoking room environment and male audience. So yes, it does strike me they’re positioning their men’s fiction stuff as more literary and inherently exclusionary, since that’s what they’ve already tried to do to other writing.