My Beef With: Women’s Magazines

Once upon a time, I wanted to write for a magazine. At 12, I thought I had enough self-knowledge and life experience to give great advice and spread my wisdom to girls who need it most. They would be sending me fan mail with all of their unanswered questions, and I would soon develop into a mini-girl Buddha. Needless to say that story and dream ended quite a while ago, and I will share why.

Because slowly but surely, I started despising most women’s magazines.

There was a time where I got Marie Claire and Seventeen directly mailed to me every month. This was a huge step from American Girl, and I was entranced by all the ads and articles that mentioned topics other than how to make a paper bag puppet. (Although, I still have that puppet issue somewhere and have every intention of pulling it out on a rainy day.)

But, after a few months I felt like I was looking at the same magazine with a different photo-shopped celebrity on the cover. The article “How to get him to text you first” and “Where did you go wrong with texting him first?” seemed oddly similar and rather petty. Sure, I would love to know why that one guy didn’t ever strike up a conversation, but how many times do I need someone to give me advice that might not even apply to my situation? He didn’t talk to me, and that was that. It just bothered me that this industry that didn’t even know me on a personal level was telling me what I did wrong.

How does curling my eyelashes have anything to do with me getting a job? The first thing that I noticed about most articles was not the tutorials on makeup, because those were pretty handy for a girl who didn’t really understand what an eyebrow pencil was, but the emphasis those tips had on making sure you knew how much this would help you. “Make sure you wear those red lips to be sure he notices you!” OR, I could wear red lipstick because I want to look nice for myself…or any other reason besides making someone else impressed by me.

Does every guy really care if I accidentally talk about my obsession with pizza? I think the dating tips are the worst and funniest of every women’s magazine. If I could count how many times I have asked one of my guys friends if he cares if his girlfriend does the perfect hair flip or flirts the just right amount and his response is “what the Hell,” I would be a rich lady.  The great thing about, you know, being a human being is that we are all different. We like different things. We flirt differently. We “hair flip” whatever that is differently, and no amount of general advice is really going to help with that. You have to find your own perfect dating guide and understand yourself and your partner. Also, if I were trying to get dating advice, I would probably talk to a friend who actually knows me personally and isn’t trying to talk to millions of women everywhere.

Boys, beauty and…nope, that’s about it. Where is the article about how to exercise your brain during bored hours of the day? Or how about a section to properly execute morning yoga that isn’t to “get a great butt,” but rather de-stress before work? I know there are articles in women’s magazines that are intellectually stimulating and are worth the attention, but there needs to be more. MORE MORE MORE MORE and please less “what does he like in bed” because my gosh I don’t care what the census is on random guys in America I will never be dating. Also, TMI.

So, there’s the beef. I am openly admitting my heart has been broken by women’s magazines. There are some huge generalizations in here, and I am not saying I don’t still pick up a magazine from time to time to look at the cover stories or the horoscope (and I still love me some Marie Claire), but I think the industry has a long way to go. Best shown in How to Lose A Guy In 10 Days, a story about a boy will almost always overshadow the heart clenching, raw story about the environment or politics. I still have hope, but I think I’m going to keep passing by those magazine shelves for a while. Unless it has Leo on it, of course. I’m opinionated and heartbroken but not crazy.

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4 comments

  1. Gah, love this. And I couldn’t agree more. Up until last spring I was dead-set on a career in women’s magazines, and then it all changed. Now, I’m much more of a fan of smart publications like Fast Company (always a great read!). I will say, though, that Marie Claire does lean a little heavier on the career side of things than most, which makes them my go-to glossy.

    Great post! 🙂

    -Lindsay

    • I do still love Marie Claire’s desire to highlight the working woman for sure! Interesting to see that a few people have had the same experience. Thank you, Lindsay for the feedback!

  2. I find I am happier and more content with myself if I do not read them. When you learn that they mentioned the eyelash curlers you need to get a job because they were reviving ad revenue from the company it puts it in an even more ominous perspective. Once in a while I pick one up or click on a site and learn something, but I view them like processed carbs, not good for you but a little treat now and then is okay.

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