The fashion borg

I was buying a stack of women’s magazines the other day. Maybe eight or ten of them. All of the covers featured bubblegum or hot pink something or other. They were heavy. I plunked them down on the counter and the woman behind it glanced curiously up at me.

She gestured at the one on top, to the woman posing seductively on it, and asked if it was a certain actress from a TV show I’d never heard of.

I said, “I really don’t know. I’m a writer. These are just for research. I don’t actually ever read them.”

She looked the slightest bit impressed. “Oh!”

(This one’s a couple years old. Notice the pink. Always with the pink. source)

I was smacking myself internally as I walked out. Seriously? What happens next– you buy a couple cartons of ice cream and tell her you’re feeding it to test subjects as part of a study on dessert and neurology?

It was true. I was buying them for research. I am trying to figure out which magazines to submit essays to. Everyone who has given me any advice about this has begun with, “Get a bunch of magazines. Learn their format and their tone.”

The real reason why you have to get a bunch of them is because finding the articles takes a long time. They’re buried between thousands of glossy ads for Gucci and veggie pizza and mystical age-defying creams that can make a sixty-year-old woman look eighteen again. You become a detective, following the trail of an article, trying to guess its next move. Learning how deep inside the ads it will hide when it’s running.

The last time I looked at one of these things I was probably fifteen. And it wasn’t even mine. It was my friend’s. And we weren’t looking at it earnestly. We were making fun of it. Is it OK to say that? I can’t actually tell how many women read these things seriously. Is it mostly twelve-year-old girls? But the majority of the written material is about sex! Well, twelve-year-old girls are curious about sex. But curious enough to keep an entire industry afloat? Is it possible that any sixty-year-old women ever see that ad about the magical science fairy cream? Is it possible that anyone sees the ad for some new food-based skincare product that is being poured in milky gushes over a model’s ecstatic, open-mouthed face and not think– See– I have no idea how all this works.

(source)

After reading (looking) through several of the magazines, and making Bear take the test about what guys are really thinking along with all the guys who Cosmo appears to keep locked in a back room for the sole purpose of responding to their quizzes about what guys are really thinking, I realized that nothing had changed since I was fifteen. Not that I really expected it to.

These are the main written topics:

What guys secretly want from you sexually

What your hair secretly wants from you sexually

What guys secretly want from your hair (sometimes sexually)

What other women are saying about having sex

What supreme, universal experts with PhDs are saying about dieting, relationships, and sex

MOVIE STARS

These are the main visual topics:

Oh my god! You’re getting old already! Cover it up!

Be yourself by putting a lot more makeup on your face

Stop eating so much, fatty, and live on Crystal Lite instead

Thinness is happiness

Movie stars love cosmetics

Everything you wear is about sex

(source)

I feel like I’m missing a few. Something else that has to do with sex and thinness? But none of this really bothers me anymore, except in a sort of vague, distantly disappointed-in-society kind of way. It’s like I’ve grown calloused in places I used to be vulnerable. In places I used to think, “Why is it women who look at endless images of panting, flung-open, glisteningly sexualized young female models? How is this an ad for sunglasses or a granola bar? Why can’t women look at ads that don’t involve supermodels? Is that really so difficult to change? Why are we supposed to care about pleasing a guy in bed more than we care about anything else?”

OK, so I still think some of those things. But mostly what struck me this time around was the editorial “we.” Practically every bit of text was written in it. “We love Jake Gyllenhaal! We just can’t get enough! We think he’s absolutely the hottest hunkiest piece of smokin’ manflesh Hollywood has cooked up!”

The tone was perky, excited, collective, and relentless. As though everyone on the staff of Glamour is just bouncing up and down on their stilettos all day, working themselves up into a frenzy about Glamour’s Top Ten Hotties for The New Year (It’s Not Who You Think!!).

Every piece brings to mind a frantically grinning, desperately chipper, perfectly coiffed group of starving editors and staff writers. Perhaps chained to their desks. Speaking as one. The fashion borg.

And I put the magazines down, unsettled.

I shouldn’t nit-pick, but I also couldn’t help but notice that the No-Fear Guide to Hair Color was contradicted several hundred pages of ads later by “Ten Totally Gorgeous New Hairstyles (Because Every Woman Deserves Man-Magnet Hair).” Real men ( albeit the same fifty of them locked in the supply closet on the 14th floor) voted that brightly dyed hair is a turn off. The No-Fear Guide urged women to give it a shot. Who knows what chaos might result. We’ll have to tune in next time, to see what the PhD relationship specialists make of this. And by “we” I mean “me.” One terribly unperky little cynical woman who could not care less about Jake Gyllenhaal’s “drool-worthy bod.”

(source)

*  *  *

Un-roast: Today I love the way my skin hates skincare products. It’s not even me, I swear, it’s my skin. It turns an angry red and goes, “Get that stuff off me before I sprout a rash of the biggest pimples you’ve ever seen in your whole life, punk.”

P.S. I’ve been loving the un-roasts you guys include in your comments!!

P.P.S. I feel kind of lame for writing about women’s magazines. I know they’re an easy target. But having so many of them on my couch makes it practically impossible to think of a better topic at the moment.

New post at Un-schooled, which is actually a chapter from a book I started to write when I was 16, about my life. Because 16-year-olds have definitely lived long enough to write memoirs.

(What do you think? source.)

48 Comments »

Kate on January 24th 2011 in beauty, body

48 Responses to “The fashion borg”

  1. JJgal responded on 24 Jan 2011 at 11:33 am #

    I have a hard time “reading” these mags as well, though there was a time. So much about sex, and being sexy, and all the time-consuming, expensive and tortuous ways to become more sexy. Because that’s all that matters right? That’s how we gals are supposed to judge ourselves against other gals and what we base our value on, right? Um, not.

    And check out that phot of Eve Mendes on the Marie Claire cover… this is a popular pose in Hollywood and photo shoots – to make the waist appear smaller. But who actually stand that way???? It does NOT look comfortable, natural or good in any way.

  2. JJgal responded on 24 Jan 2011 at 11:36 am #

    And excuse my typos once again. Sheesh. Haha

    And what do I think of Jakey-baby? he looks too much like my brother, so I don’t see it at all. (Creepy)

  3. Kate responded on 24 Jan 2011 at 11:40 am #

    Yeah, I don’t think I have ever stood that way in my life. And if I have, it was probably uncomfortable both for me and for people around me.

    My brother is named Jake, so I get where you’re coming from :)

  4. Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday responded on 24 Jan 2011 at 11:40 am #

    I’ve been planning to write a post about magazines. I’ve noticed a true difference in how I feel, how I act, and how I shop now that I’ve stopped reading them.

  5. San D responded on 24 Jan 2011 at 12:17 pm #

    When I toyed with the idea of getting published, I relied on the “Writer’s Market”, and have a collection of reject letters with some good suggestions to prove it.

    Women’s magazines are eye candy. I only read them when I get my hair cut to add the stereotypical “salon” experience. My hairdresser and I laugh our butts over them. Michael and I have a 20 year relationship now, beyond hair cutting, into trips to art museums and theater, thanks to our common ground of laughing at the absurdity of what fashion mags think I need to know about my life and others.

  6. Sarah responded on 24 Jan 2011 at 12:39 pm #

    Love this. I stopped looking at them when I let me hair grow into it’s natural color six years ago. No one shows women under 50 with white hair…they sure as heck aren’t representing me!

  7. Diane responded on 24 Jan 2011 at 12:41 pm #

    My husband, after paging through Cosmo on a newsstand the other day, wondered why it is not required to be wrapped in dark plastic like Playboy. He felt that the articles on sex were just as explicit. We both kind of shuddered to think that young girls are getting the impression from these magazines that this is “normal” behavior or that boys will expect from them all the things on these “what guys really want” lists. The real world is so much different.

  8. jenny c responded on 24 Jan 2011 at 12:47 pm #

    We are legion? Lol

  9. jenny c responded on 24 Jan 2011 at 12:48 pm #

    “We” are legion? ;)

  10. Tempest responded on 24 Jan 2011 at 12:49 pm #

    I occasionally have to look at these magazines for work research – trends in fashion jewelry, and I always feel like I’m peeking in on this alien culture, and then I ended up critiquing the graphic design, text layout, and how much the images are photoshopped. Makes me feel like someone is going to show up at my door demanding my ovaries, “sorry, you are totally not a woman. give them back now.”

  11. Raven responded on 24 Jan 2011 at 1:16 pm #

    First, let me say, I agree with your assessment of beauty magazines. What I’m curious about, is why these are what you chose to try to write for. I say, go find magazines that interest you (even “Bust” has more to offer women than the standard fare–or it did when it first came out, I haven’t read it in a while). For me, I’d want my name in something like Mother Jones or Wired or something unabashedly naughty, like Filament.

    While researching beauty magazines can be a good basis for a paper that reveals “our” disappointment in society, it doesn’t sound like any of them would be a good match for your own insights–which, as a geek, a woman, and a homeschooling parent–I’ve come to enjoy reading.

  12. Deanna responded on 24 Jan 2011 at 1:17 pm #

    I despise those magazines. I see them when I grocery shop and I try hard to avoid them…but it isn’t always easy when the lines are long. I always say that if an alien landed on Earth and picked up a copy of Cosmo He/She/It would think..”Man these Earthlings spend a lot of time thinking about blow jobs and how to look and act sexy. Do they ever get any work done? Do they ever read or take long walks or work in the garden?” Basically, they want everyone to be 1)under 35 2)be successful enough to afford all that stuff 3)Have sex 3 times a day 4)Keep in shape in order to have sex three times a day 5)Get enough sleep to have sex three times a day…well you get the idea.

    You look around you at the grocery store and see relatively normal looking people with bags under their eyes and sweat pants and wonder who all these people are they are writing for?

  13. OMG responded on 24 Jan 2011 at 1:27 pm #

    OMG OMG I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE JAKE GYLLANNHAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLL

  14. Ashley responded on 24 Jan 2011 at 1:31 pm #

    At first I was going to make a long comment about how I felt like this was a stab at my whole life since I have always aspired to be a staff writer (and possibly one day an editor) for a women’s magazine, and then I had a thought: I can’t deny that I agree with you on much of what you said. I agree that reading (or looking through) many of these magazines seriously is crazy, but a part of me also thinks that critcizing them so harshly is also taking them too seriously and is as equally crazy. (This is not a stab at you.) I have been reading magazines like this since around age 13 but I have always taken them with a grain of salt. I’m sure as hell not taking notes on anything. It’s just mindless entertainment, like watching TV.

    Yes I am currently a magazine journalism student. I have written hundreds of articles from relationships to skin care tips for small publications and ezines. However, my dream has mainly been to make my career in writing actual articles (the ones that are so hard to find) of stubstance, of important issues that women face in real life that have nothing to do with hair or makeup. After reading this post of yours just now, I am even further inspired to do just this. I would love to run my own magazine one day full of articles of real life with minimal photos of airbrushed celebs (if at all) and models of all shapes and sizes. Forget what men want from women in bed, damnit!

    So in short, thank you for this post. I didn’t expect to say this while reading it, but you have helped remind me of what kind of writer I want to be. :-)

  15. Ashley responded on 24 Jan 2011 at 1:33 pm #

    Forgive my typos haha. I just woke up and am still a little sleepy.

  16. Andrea responded on 24 Jan 2011 at 2:25 pm #

    I think that we need to step back to “Kids’ Cosmo” (read American Girl Magazine), “Kids’ Glamour” (read Seventeen), etc. These magazines are basically the same as their “adult” counterparts, but geared down a bit to hit us earlier with articles like: Will He Ask Me to The Prom?, How To Dress Like A Movie Star, Decorate Your Room Like (insert name or choose Demi, Miley, Brenda, Ashley, Selena…)’s! Improve Your Skin NOW! These are messages sent far too early and far too frequently!

  17. Sandra Marr responded on 24 Jan 2011 at 2:29 pm #

    A good one! I also, many moons ago, read Cosmo a few times. Back then a main article was: Are you Masochistic? That was the first time I had heard that term, so I was curious. I found it truly interesting and went about being “temporarily” Masochistic. What a hoot! LOL I had my Mother smacking me in no time, she was so easy! I would stand there smiling and it would make her even more angry, asking me if I wanted more? I said sure, if you wish…. PS that was the only time I was Masochist, but I had a great time doing it!

    Other than that, 33 years ago, the magazine was basically like it is now. Full of ads of clothes I can never dream of owning and would never know WHERE to wear them! If I truly wanted to look out of place, that would be what I would buy! So it in truth is suggesting that I become a “misfit” of society! These magazines are for brains of “cotton candy”, thus the Pink problem… LOL

    I also concur that you are worth MUCH MORE, than writing for this kind of “not fact/life/reality Mag Rag”. There are women’s mags for Mom’s, they would print your articles and we WOULD read them. The real magazines with real articles. There are HomeMaker ones, Mother’s Day, things like that. Organic Mom’s etc. The best way to find out, is get your hands on the snail mail offers from Reader’s digest or similar Magazine Outlet place. They have long lists of magazines…or go to the publisher’s sites. I would cheerfully delight in reading your articles there!

  18. Cassandra responded on 24 Jan 2011 at 2:45 pm #

    I agree with Andrea – there is barely a diff. between “Vogue” and “Teen Vogue”. In fact, as I type, I have a pile of magazines beside me with zillions of little book marks in them to scan different images for research. And… what do you know….? Many of them sport HOT pink on the cover – and… 3 of 12 have Taylor Lautner and his luscious self sprawled in various, “Look at me-muscles” poses…
    Oh heaven… help us!

  19. Christin@purplebirdblog responded on 24 Jan 2011 at 3:07 pm #

    “Is it possible that anyone sees the ad for some new food-based skincare product that is being poured in milky gushes over a model’s ecstatic, open-mouthed face and not think–”

    You make me laugh *so* much, and I love you for it. Thank you for brightening my hectic Monday!

  20. B1 responded on 24 Jan 2011 at 3:26 pm #

    @ Deanna – I’d like to see how many men could keep up (pun intended) with the sex three times a day, every day for the rest of their lives.

    @ Kate – I love this post. I never liked reading these silly mags expect in waiting rooms or in line and never understood the drive of all my female friends to read them.

    It would be interesting to create a magazine of articles written by all women with interviews of all women in business, life, child care, aging, skin care, cooking, mechanics, computers, etc. and then not have any big ads throughout the mag, but like the old ads in yearbooks, or booster club programs, the advetisers would all be relagated to the back of the book. Or if they were in the book the stipulation would be that they could not include a model in the ad, so no flesh of any sort, including a sexy hand to show off that lovely diamond ring. It would be interesting.

  21. JJgal responded on 24 Jan 2011 at 3:29 pm #

    I think the only time I ever stood in that pose I was at an emergency chiropractic appointment. And I definitely wasn’t smiling like that.

  22. Just Josie responded on 24 Jan 2011 at 4:22 pm #

    I love to hate ladymags. They are too, too ridiculous. I find Seventeen especially gross. I also feel like a washed-up feminist for mocking them. Like, really Josie, you’ve got the whole of the patriarchy to analyze, and you settle on… this? Ahaha, they’re just such an easy target! When I go into the library and check out a stack of this drivel, I, too, feel compelled to defend myself, or apologize. Or something. The librarian will inevitably give me an odd look (probably not, though; I’m probably just really paranoid!) and I’ll be like, “OhIdon’treallyreadtheseImeanIdobutonlytomockthem!They’retoolsofthepatriarchydesignedspecificallytooppresswomen!Pleasedon’tjudgeme!” (only not quite that bad) I am endlessly disturbed by, well, by the fashion industry’s appropriation of… most things. “Military” prins, “tribal” prints, etc… And the way that these are supposed to be for women but they’re all about him (heteronormativity!). Which makes perfect sense in a patriarchy, obviously, because women exist only to please the menfolk. I’m disturbed by the way Seventeen recently published an article called, “Bitchy Girl Moves He Loves!”, failing to make the distinction between “bitchy” and “assertive”. Gar. And there are just too many rules. Far too many. Or maybe I’m just lazy? (No, I’m not. Well, yeah, I am, but there are definitely too many freakin’ rules!)

    Anyway, like you said, I definitely think there aren’t that many women (or at least I certainly hope! :s) who live exactly according to the magazines. I kind of cannot wait to start my It’s Fun to Be Seventeen! Project.

    “Because 16-year-olds have definitely lived long enough to write memoirs.”

    Psh! If Justin Bieber can do it (plus a MOVIE, now!), I have total confidence that you could have. And I’ll bet 6 Galleons, two Knuts, and 11 Sickles that your autobiography would have been a hell of a lot more interesting than the Biebs’. On the topic of potshots, does criticizing Bieber count as one? Fudge, I think it does. :/ ;)

  23. Just Josie responded on 24 Jan 2011 at 4:41 pm #

    Deanna, your comment about these magazines and aliens reminds me of that one feminist quote (I do not know who said it, or even if it’s ever been attributed to one woman), “If aliens came to earth and saw our magazines, they’d wonder what men were [paraphrased]“. Meaning that there are only women who get the “privilege” of being objectified upon the magazines’ glossy covers (with a few exceptions, i.e., Taylor Lautner?), and men is just a word. What MEN want, What MEN like, what MEN eat, for goodness’ sake… without ever really seeing these men to which the Powers That Be allude. :P

  24. Mandy responded on 24 Jan 2011 at 5:11 pm #

    The author, Cyntha Heimel, once said that womens’ fashion mags seemed to be all about the care and feeding of the male…
    She has a point.
    And I got my rant about unrealistic body image out in the comments section of your “Being Naked” blog entry. I won’t repeat myself.

    @JustJosie:
    “6 Galleons, two Knuts, and 11 Sickles ” Aha! Another Terry Pratchett fan!

  25. Mandy responded on 24 Jan 2011 at 5:21 pm #

    Darn it! I keep forgetting the un-roasts!
    I love my hands…I love my long graceful fingers. I love knowing that I can use them to locate, and then ease pain and tension. (I’m a massage therapist) I love that they’re sensitive, flexible and strong.

  26. Ashley responded on 24 Jan 2011 at 6:40 pm #

    I have to agree with the first commentor about Eva’s pose. As a model myself, I hate that pose! It just bugs me when I see people doing that.

  27. Amy responded on 24 Jan 2011 at 9:02 pm #

    I loved the language and word choice in this piece! I love a good turn of phrase and clever word combos, and you really delivered! I think you’re awesome attitude and oh, just a teeeeny bit of sarcasm also shine. I love it!

    And really, who in real-life talks like these magazines? Who calls them ‘zines? Or says phrases like “drool-worthy bod”? Or “stressed tresses”? A call for real words that don’t make women sound like 14-year-old mouth-breathers…

  28. Wei-Wei responded on 24 Jan 2011 at 9:55 pm #

    I find that “healthy-living” magazines are much the same – the messages are as follows:

    Sneaky ways to CUT CALORIES!
    Always find a BALANCE!
    Eating disorders are bad, but CUT CALORIES ANYWAY!
    Scientific research said THIS a week ago, but now it says THAT! Shock horror!
    Do THIS to FEEL, LOOK, SMELL, THINK, LAUGH AND SHIT IN A YOUNGER WAY!
    Be natural and be yourself! Even though we’re telling you who to be!
    You’re sexy, love yourself, but we could all do with some improvements because nobody’s perfect EXCEPT FOR YOU ;) ;););)

    Yeah, got a little over the top with the sarcasm there.

  29. Kate responded on 24 Jan 2011 at 9:59 pm #

    @Wei-Wei
    Yay! I’ve missed you!! Great comment, and thanks for the perspective on this whole realm of women’s magazines that I haven’t explored.

  30. Kate responded on 24 Jan 2011 at 10:01 pm #

    @Ashley
    Thanks for this. I think it’s important to take women’s magazines with a grain of salt, too. Even though sometimes I’m really bad at taking things with a grain of salt. And also, here I am, trying to get published by them. So there’s that. I appreciate where you’re coming from.

  31. Autumn responded on 25 Jan 2011 at 12:08 am #

    I work in women’s magazines and have been pretty cynical about them for years–most of my colleagues would probably finger me pretty quickly as the one on staff least likely to buy into all that jazz.

    Then I finally got gigs at different places. Like a financial magazine. And I’ve never been concerned about my finances (of all my anxieties, I didn’t catch the money-freakout bug). And suddenly I found myself checking my bank balance daily and logging into my IRA “just to see,” something I literally had never done before. This was after one month of working at a personal finance magazine. I’d been in ladymags for ten years.

    My point is we can think we’ve got our callouses all nice and built up, but there are still those tender spots where it seeps in despite our best efforts. I wish you the best “we”-proofing moisturizer available to womankind for your research!

  32. Louise responded on 25 Jan 2011 at 4:07 am #

    Hi Kate,
    I found you a few months ago through Mamamia and I think your writing is wonderful!
    My dream is to be a writer and I love the way your writing conveys happenings of every day life in a comedic matter!
    I’ve recently started up my own blog and would be very grateful if you visited, the address is: http://www.silencingthemirror.blogspot.com.
    I look forward to enjoying more of you posts,
    Louise, aged 15.

  33. Dana Udall-Weiner responded on 25 Jan 2011 at 8:47 am #

    Even though mags are an easy target, as you say, I’m glad you wrote this. I started buying such publications about a year ago in hopes of getting published, and I’ve found very few that feel like they would want a substantive piece, and which wouldn’t make me feel like a total hypocrite in my feminist identity. Maybe you should start a new magazine, Kate!

  34. Liz responded on 25 Jan 2011 at 2:00 pm #

    Kate,
    You make me smile and laugh out loud! I do buy magazines, but they are usually something along the lines of Psychology Today, Coastal Living, La Vie Claire (sadly no longer printing), Time, and Scientific American Mind Magazine. I get crap about my choice of magazines sometimes; but I don’t care about who’s in and who’s out, which product is best for this or that (the next day it will be some new product they are trying to sell to us anyway), and some of the sex articles I’ve seen while perusing in the grocery store line;), kind of freak me out! It’s like some kind of Barbie in Sexy Beauty Wonderland thing. I have to admit that I do enjoy some of the recipes in Shape magazine, I like looking at the latest fashion pictures in some magazines as well, and I liked looking for new exercise ideas in Fitness while preggers with my first daughter. There’s something for everyone—that’s for sure!

  35. San D responded on 25 Jan 2011 at 2:36 pm #

    This post and comments have gotten me to think about guilty pleasures. I think these magazines are just that, and as I said prior, “eye candy”. Here is my question for everyone: Is it necessary to be aware of cultural (meaning in this case the majority of people in the US) trivia (i.e. who is Sue on Glee, or who is Jake sleeping with) in order to have an idea where our society might be going and thinking? When I first started teaching I listened to the music of what my students were listening to (and beyond…from the one kid who listened to show tunes, to the odd kid who liked FISH) so that I would have a common vocabulary in understanding. I see the magazines, makeup, body image, diet issues as sociological markers, and if we devalue them aren’t we in essence demeaning those people who value any tidbit of insight or information they glean from them for themselves? Just because I think they are hysterical, doesn’t mean I’m not empathetic to the teenage girl who might find solace in reading an article on how to apply her eyeliner, as compared to being lonely in her room, or the older woman who finds comfort in an article on how a celebrity survived cancer.

  36. Yvonne responded on 25 Jan 2011 at 4:46 pm #

    You might want to check out Brain, Child magazine. It’s full of thought provoking essays written by and for “thinking mothers.” It’s published quarterly.
    I’m really enjoying reading all your blog posts.
    from a fellow Geek : )

  37. Kate responded on 25 Jan 2011 at 4:48 pm #

    @Yvonne
    Thanks for the recommendation! I love finding out about good writing.

  38. MWN responded on 25 Jan 2011 at 5:10 pm #

    Hilarious post. I especially loved the line about being calloused in places you used to be vulnerable.

    I decided in high school not to read these magazines because they subtly (and not so subtly) infect your brain with impossible expectations (airbrushing people whose bodies already conform to the near-impossible beauty standard!) and are all about pleasing men and not about pleasing you. I came to this conclusion after learning about Ladies Home Journal and how in the 1950s, that was THE magazine for women, and it had very helpful articles that promoted ideas like, “if you’re unhappy and unfulfilled as a housewife, you aren’t cooking or cleaning hard enough.” Dangerous!!!

    I love Jake Gyllenhaal. Come on, remember Brokeback Mountain?!

  39. Kate responded on 25 Jan 2011 at 5:17 pm #

    @MWN
    Oh, don’t get me wrong, Brokeback Mountain is one of the best movies ever.

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  41. Heather responded on 28 Jan 2011 at 5:35 pm #

    I have found (at the ripe old age of 25) that the best fashion related magazine that comes to my door is Teen Vogue, which I didn’t even order (I think it started coming because of a clothing purchase). Now, I don’t really care for it that much, but I prefer it to Vogue, Lucky, or Glamour (all of which I have at some point decided to get a subscription to out of curiosity, regretted, and let lapse). I think much of it is because it doesn’t have quite as many ads and it’s not quite as blatantly men catchin/sexy oriented.

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  43. Franca responded on 29 Jan 2011 at 5:37 am #

    no wonder you felt a bit weird after binging on the journalistic equivalent of candy floss. I stopped buying women’s magazines 6 years ago. It was always the same stories over and over again, i just got bored! and im sure they’ve got actually less substantial over time, if that is even possible! i cannot stand that editorial we!

  44. hatty responded on 30 Jan 2011 at 12:37 pm #

    Haven’t bought them for years because if I take them seriously, they make me feel like s**t, and if I mock them, they make me feel like s**t (because mocking people really is not good for the soul). I avoid them. Plenty more things to buy -New scientist, the Economist, etc,. etc.

  45. Gracey responded on 30 Jan 2011 at 5:43 pm #

    I’m glad you wrote this. Especially the part about the contradictory advice that the magazines (sometimes the same magazine) provide. I think it’s hilarious how they contradict each other and sometimes themselves, but mostly I feel like it just enforces my belief that true style is an individual thing and it doesn’t matter how the magazines advise you – you do what’s best for yourself.

    Wonderful post. I’m so glad Sal from Already Pretty pointed me in your direction.

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  48. Phoebe responded on 10 Sep 2012 at 6:11 pm #

    Whenever I flip through one of those magazines (very infrequently, maybe once in a few months to a year or so), the most astonishing thing to a frugal girl like me is how much money it apparently costs to be sexy or hip or fashionable or trendy.

    I don’t know. I just never feel like spending $100 on a pair of pants.