Last week Australian actress Rebel Wilson won a defamation case over magazine publisher Bauer Media. Eight articles about Wilson were published in Woman’s Day, Australian Women’s Weekly, NW and OK magazines in 2015. She claimed Bauer Media set out to take her down with a series of "grubby and completely false" articles. As a result she lost roles in films, eventuating with a loss of substantial income.

This is about women being mean to each other

Is it just that we take spurious pleasure out of telling tales on each other? Is it a competitive women’s thing?

Clearly, this is what’s happening with women’s magazines - women being mean to each other just to stand out.

Keeping that in mind perhaps that is what’s happened to Rebel, Bauer Media felt she needed to be taken down a peg or two. Easy to do when you have the power of rumour and ‘sources tell us’. When you’ve got that you can say anything you like. How many times do you read (not only in women’s magazines - I’m looking at you Daily Mail) when the only verification is ‘friends said they are worried….’ that’s all you need. If a star won’t talk to the media, why not make it up? Or do what Women’s Day did and pay a friend to spill the beans. Everyone has their price and jealous vindictive ‘friends’ will talk for much less than offering a fat cheque to a publicist to wave in front of the talent.

Missed opportunity

The sad thing is, if the journalist had only gone to Rebel and told her she had spoken to this woman and given Rebel a chance to answer, then they would have ended up with a more informative and interesting article. But who am I kidding, they don’t have time to do that, they are expert practitioners of churnalism, why bother with the facts?

Writing for Bauer Media is no fun

I worked as a free-lancer for Australian women’s magazine for the past 15 years on and off, I specialised in writing ‘real ‘life’ stories, so I had no contact with celebrities. But I know the culture and I’m not surprised to hear of Bauer Media doing what they did. I’ve worked for them only once when they took over a magazine I had been writing for.

They completely rewrote an interview I did with a woman whose daughter had been murdered. In their grubby hands, the story changed from being thoughtful and empathetic to salacious and untruthful. They even rewrote the photo captions; someone sitting by a lake was now sitting on a beach, and so on.

I apologised to the woman when the story came out and thankfully she was really good about it. I decided to never write for them again.

Surely it is now the end of weekly women’s magazines, this lying tittle-tattle can no longer continue. It’s trash journalism and it hurts women. I’m just so glad Rebel Wilson has turned that hurt back on them and it’s about time it was stopped. I dearly hope she is the one to do it.