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Magazines: Young, Old, Single, Married, Cat, Dog, …You Name It: We’ll Name Your Poison!! (Part1: Women’s Mags)

In Books, Should I Even Be Talking About This? on June 13, 2016 at 3:05 pm

How do I get so many magazines? Almost every day a new one comes in, and old ones go out- there isn’t enough time in the day-and anyway, I’d rather  read books.  However- since print media is so desperate as it’s being muscled out by the internet- I’m getting these magazines for free. There are recycling sites that offer magazines as rewards (ah- the irony!) and ‘Get a free year of Magazine X’  offers are all over said internet. There is a subscription to Maxim that has been coming into my house for ten years, that I’ve never paid for once (nor would I!)  More, Cosmo, Seventeen and Nylon that can’t stop, won’t stop- despite the fact that no wealthy, leaner’s in, single women, Beleibers or hipsters live here. So- at the end of each week, my yellow recycling bin is full. There’s a flurry of contradicting messages in that bin- let me tell you!


COSMOPOLITAN: Definitely one of the most sex-oriented of all of the women’s mags, it’s typical for a lot of women  to go through a Cosmo phase, often when under-25 years old. Although Cosmo claims to speak for the independent (rah!-rah!) working woman, it is uber-focused on trying to teach a woman how to ‘trick’ a man into loving her by perfecting a panther-like sexuality. Cosmo deals in the myth of ‘Good In Bed’ and mind-blowing, naughty sex. But what is ‘Good In Bed’ really? Does it even exist?  Don’t we  all suspect that there is no such thing as a magic position, and that ‘good in bed’ just means you’re having sex with someone you’re really attracted and they, in turn, feel the same way? 

Perhaps even the spikiest heels, the sheerest lingerie, the wettest lip-gloss will never win you the affections of a man who’s ‘just not that into you.’ Almost any women can get a guy into bed- the only ‘trick’ is having the opposite set of sex organs- but not all sex leads to a relationship or love. In fact, most don’t. We can argue forever over whether or not all women actually want love (it’s insulting, somehow to admit this-even though entire civilizations have been felled because of love) but I’ve yet to hear anyone in a good relationship curse their luck. Cosmo’s message seems to be: Work Real Hard At Your Office Job Until You Can Meet A Man You Can Trick  Into A Commitment’ Then they hand it off to the wedding industry.  It can never just be two people leveling with each other and not playing games. That, my friend, would be cray!

ALLURE, VOGUE: Vogue Magazine was once called the ‘Ground Zero’ for eating disorders, and I couldn’t agree more. But it’s not just that- it’s also very into Exclusion. Featuring ridiculous clothes no one can afford (though they love to imply that many people can) Vogue acts as the school bully of magazine land.  They bank on the fact that if –by some chance-you have access to anything vaguely (‘Voguely?’) approved by them, that you will be so flattered to make the cut, that you’ll forget what an asshole the bully is in the first place. ALLURE is basically the same magazine but for younger women who are in the market for LOTS of Botox and surgical beauty procedures.  The magazine tends to nit-pick their flaws until they cry. ( Allure will also often publish How-To articles on the latest insane way to lose weight (usually an eating disorder), under the guise of a ‘Warning!’ Readers often interpret this as an instruction manual. Wink, wink!

*TEEN Vogue, however…..is very good and politically aware.

Many Models keep their weight down by  actually walking around Naked with the Food Police.

Many Models keep their weight down by actually walking around Naked with the Food Police.

MORE: This magazine is for the older woman, but not just any older woman. If you are not at least borderline rich, do not pick up this magazine! MORE will insist that getting older is fine- as long as you  have fat stacks to spend on aging prevention. Botox, fillers, plastic surgery- it’s all on the table. The clothes and make-up are astronomically priced, and they begin almost every article about the mostly famous women they feature by writing some offhand wisecrack about how older women are not required to do cheesecake photos anymore (‘Oh, what a relief!’)-and then they proceed to show elegant, airbrushed photographs of middle-aged women doing cheesecake photos.

Women who look sort-of like twenty-five  year olds– but with something (we’re not sure what) a little ‘off’. They love to put a ‘stocking over the lens’ so to speak. They publish articles like ‘How Not To Be Old’ (don’t leave answering machine messages or visit Tuscany!) and feature twenty-somethings who tell the elders what bands, books and shows to pretend to like in order to be perceived as ‘hip’. (But if you’re NOT hip -how do you know what is? These twenty-somethings could be complete twits and you’ll be mimicking them! How embarrassing!) Every ad is for face cream, salads or cat food (the last one in case things don’t work out stellar for you) Although  the glossy celebs featured all insist they are thrilled to be aging (‘I can’t wait to be 65! they gush at 54), they spend millis on kick-boxing mother Nature through Expensive Gimmickry and Weird Science. I assume their readers see themselves in these airbrushed celebs and secretly think: Everyone else is going to age, but I’ll outsmart it!

The one thing all of these magazines have in common is that they are all dependent on your insecurity and willingness to spend money. No matter who you are, as a woman- YOU CAN ALWAYS BE BETTER!!  If you work out three times a week- you should do five, if you eat 1500 calories a day, cut it back 300 more, if you grow your hair, you should cut it- everything you do shifts slightly and constantly- so you can’t possibly keep up. The plates you’re spinning fall and shatter at an alarming rate!  And the only solution to any of your life’s problems as a woman (as we all know) is to look and dress better and the only way that can be achieved is by opening up your wallet to the very advertisers that pay for said magazine’s very existence. Which- call me crazy- but seems like a conflict of interest. But here’s the thing: the success of any of these advertisers depends completely on your buying into this stuff in the first place. A plastic surgeon can’t stay in business without customers. Designer clothes can’t sell unless someone buys them. Your happiness cannot be measured by the stacks (or lack thereof) in your wallet!


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