German publisher announces shutdown of Cleo after 44 years

German publisher confirms Cleo’s closure after 44 years of publication.

German publisher announces shutdown of Cleo after 44 years

Many Australian women may be mourning the loss of the iconic magazine Cleo, but there are a tonne of Aussie blokes who also owe a debt of gratitude to this pioneering publication.

German publisher Bauer Media yesterday formally confirmed the shutdown of Cleo in Australia, with the publisher now turning its attention to revamping Dolly magazine as a bi-monthly digital edition. 

The closure of the Australian edition will not affect the Cleo Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia or Indonesia editions.

Launched by Kerry Packer in November 1972 with Ita Buttrose at the helm as founding editor, Cleo quickly became an icon for Australian women because of its controversial content. The premier edition featured the first nude male centrefold in Jack Thompson, and from that day forward the magazine included detailed sex and relationship advice, and provided a significant source of information for young women on topics ranging from fashion, beauty and celebrity news to social and lifestyle issues. 

The magazine's editorial philosophy was summed up as, "Cleo gets women and it also strikes the perfect balance, offering a bright, light-hearted tone and aesthetic without shying away from the more serious issues that are important to their readers."

Now, after 44 years, the life of this trailblazing periodical is at an end.

I don’t know about you blokes, but as much as you want to shrug your shoulders and say “who cares”, you should all tip your caps to what the often ‘liberal’ views presented in Cleo did for you – whether you know it or not. It may be the opinion of a one-track mind, but when I saw by-lines such as ‘How to please your man in five easy steps’ or ‘How to strip for your man’ or ‘How to make your relationship even better’, I would quietly hope that my other half would pick up a copy.

Cleo may have been hailed as a serious publication promoting discussion (and subsequent liberation) of sex and relationships aimed mainly at women, but men were certainly the beneficiaries of such content.

It could be fair to ask if Cleo actually did more for men than for women’s liberation. After all, most of the content seemed to promote benefits for men. Did that advance the cause of equality? Or did it set women back a few years, maybe even decades? It’s a question with which Ita may not agree, but a fair one to ask nonetheless.

Either way, today we say farewell to yet another victim of the continuing decline of print publishing. Cleo, you will be missed by more than those who mocked you. You assisted the sexual liberation of women and men alike. You were an important catalyst for happy relationships and talk of all things sexy, social and political, and you paved the way for, as editor Ita Buttrose puts it, "the rapidly changing personality of the Australian woman.”

The final March edition of Cleo will be on sale 22 February.

Are you sad to see Cleo go? Ladies, do you have a favourite centrefold? And fellas, how do you think you benefited from this ground-breaking publication? Who do you think benefited most from Cleo – men or women? Do you feel that some of Cleo's content may have set back the women's movement?


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    21st Jan 2016
    Never read it, know of no benefit (either direct or indirect), and if it was any good it wouldn't be shutting down.
    21st Jan 2016
    Come on Fast Eddie, how can you write ... 'if it was any good' etc ..... Cleo was a magazine of quality, and 44 years is a great run for any publication.
    It's closing down because the Internet now provides free information whereas the cost of the print media has risen dramatically. Many people can no longer afford to pay high prices for magazines.
    As for it having been of no benefit to you , how could it be, if as you say, you've never read it ?
    21st Jan 2016
    I am so sad that Cleo is going. Cleo was apart of my growing into an independent woman, even though I was 28yrs old at the time Cleo came out, and married with 2 children. I bought the 1st copy. My husband didn't want me to read it. There was a generalised fear amongst men in my era (I am now 72). In any case, I believe Cleo did us all a lot of good, putting forward subjects that were discussed by both genders, sometimes even between both genders at parties! It was a decades long sensation. Thanks Ita. you inadvertently changed my life for the better.
    29th Jan 2016
    I too loved reading Cleo when I was young. I always felt a bit naughty looking at the Centrefold. Some of those guys were pretty hot. Was not impressed with Bob Rogers though. I think men were not too happy with their wives reading all those articles, but that's the way we often found out about our bodies and men's as well. I had a sheltered life during the 60's so Cleo gave me something to think about. My husband actually knew one of the photographers and joked about him being the Christmas Centrefold. Being an exhibitionist and a nude sunbather I thought he might actually have done it, but he said he wouldn't embarrass me in front of my friends. It did get too expensive in the end, just like the Woman's Weekly, and too many ads.
    21st Jan 2016
    I agree 100 % with you Fern. Our stories are almost identical, only difference is that I'm 2 yrs older than you.
    There was no 'internet' and many of the subjects covered by Cleo were TABOO in general conversation.
    My husband did not approve either and
    I admit that probably like many other women at the time, I was innocent, naive and curious ...... and Cleo's articles were informative without a hint of sleaziness. Throughout the years it taught me a lot and even changed the way I looked at life. I learnt how to be proud and stand up for myself.
    So I am sad it is finishing but glad that it has been a part of my adult life.

    21st Jan 2016
    notelle, if YOU had read the article you would understand my comment, but probably not. As far as the Internet providing "free" information, have a look what CLEO charges for an Internet subscription - HARDLY FREE! Do your research before opening your gob. You are hardly an authority, and STILL naive.
    21st Jan 2016
    I agree that I am not an authority but which of the 5 points I made in my post - need further research and are NOT TRUE in your opinion?
    1. Cleo was and is a quality magazine.
    2. 44 yrs of publication is a good run.
    3. The internet now provides free information (I didn't mention Cleo)
    4. The cost of the print media has risen dramatically.
    5. Many people stopped buying magazines because of high prices.

    Lastly I had NO idea that telling the truth makes a person naive
    Polly Esther
    21st Jan 2016
    I'm sure I've still got the gorgeous hunky Jack Thompson neatly folded and stashed away somewhere.
    Well way back then I thought he was anyway. Might see if I can find him, incidentally I loved the mag myself if anyone cares, possibly not, and would read it when I could afford it, poor little me.
    23rd Jan 2016
    Started buying Cleo because I thought it was great that there was such an informative magazine for women about sexual issues, and relationships. I remember pinning the Jack Thompson centrefold on my bedroom wall, and my husband stuck a bit of tissue over what he thought were "offending parts"! Needless to say I quickly took the tissue off with great care, ha ha.
    And how I still think Ita Buttrose is, arguably, the best editor.
    I do disagree with Notelle about people not being able to afford magazines - it's not like you buy one every day, and is an indulgence for ME time for lots of readers; better than sitting in front of a computer screen or holding a tablet to read. The feel of turning pages is still wonderful.
    29th Jan 2016
    MARGW5 - I too love turning the pages. Holding a Tablet or sitting in front of the computer is boring to me. The same as writing letters, there is nothing better than getting a letter from an friend giving you all the news. I also have a cousin living in Graaff South Africa, she is 96 years old now and when I write to her she says, "There is nothing better than getting my letters as she can sit down with a cup of tea and read it over and over again". Her eyesight is fadeing now so she
    has to get someone to read to her. She said "Keep the lines of communication coming". God Bless her.
    30th Jan 2016
    Amazing isn't it?
    The spin women put on things and then believe their own lies.
    Notice how everything they do for themselves is to benefit a man.
    Even looking after their own kids, house, etc etc.
    The next time you see a man reading a sex magazine remember it's to benefit a woman somewhere.
    30th Jan 2016
    CAUTIOUS - Please explain. What do you mean that we believe our own lies? Weren't we women put on this earth to be servants to our families? Men only read sex magazines to benefit their own urges.

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