No wonder Chatelaine and I don’t have anything in common.

I can’t even get into the fashion section in this mag. It seems I’m not suppose to which is fair enough.

Like every editor-in-chief, Sanati is fond of referencing “the typical reader” or, in her case, “the typical contemporary Canadian woman.” Usually, this archetype is a fiction, a statistical composite distilled, as Sanati remarked, from “a deep amount of psychobiography, demography and market research.” Chatelaine, however, draws heavily on a real woman.

This is Robin (her last name is a secret), a white, blonde, pretty working mother, in her late-30s, who lives with her husband and two children, on a combined family income of about $80,000, in a suburb north-east of Toronto. Virtually everything about Robin is available in Chatelaine’s staff data base (and has been since at least early 2007). Rarely, Sanati remarked, does a day go by at Chatelaine headquarters without someone saying something like “Robin likes Patrick Dempsey” or “Robin would be interested in that” – and “that” could be a survey on the status of national day care, determining one’s correct bra size or pinpointing “miracle foods that fight disease.”

Robin functions as a sort of holy ghost for Chatelaine. “We don’t bring her to sit in on story meetings or that sort of thing,” Sanati said. “I’ve never contacted her in my life.” But she is, as Auden said of Freud, “a climate of opinion” for the magazine, someone who “represents millions of women who are Chatelaine readers.” Sanati pointed to a collage-like poster on her wall of pictures that Robin provided to the magazine, and images of things Robin likes. “That’s her,” she said. Her and pictures of her kids and her purse (“You’ll see it’s not a designer handbag”) and her clothes closet and her refrigerator and the cover of The Da Vinci Code (a novel Robin has read) and, well … you get the picture.”Editors don’t make decisions based on one person,” Sanati stressed. “But [Robin] provides a really useful focus for us … There’s always research going on on the reader and you’re not doing your job if you don’t have a sense of that.”

Robin and I would be at odds in all aspects of life. We wouldn’t be friends so no wonder I don’t like her magazine.

This quote was taken from and article in The Globe and Mail Chatelaine turns a new page, which is pretty interesting if you’ve been following the past drama at Chatelaine. The mag is a Canadian institution.

This entry was posted in: Geekiviews


Anita Clarke is an Engineering Storyteller and the founder of the fashion blog “I want – I got.” She was one of the first and most prominent online fashion writers in Toronto and Canada.