Tag Archives: news

The problem with women’s magazines

Dear T

I’m sure you’ve seen this circulating social media circles in the recent weeks.

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I know what you’re thinking. How truly grim it is that this sort of discrimination is still a frequent occurrence? Definitely.

How scary the world is? Absolutely.

How inspiring this story is? Ye… wait. What?

The other day my friend Lucy sent me this:

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Inspiring. Inspiring. Is that what you would call it?

Like one of those videos that you see posted on Facebook about a dog freaking out when it sees its owner for the first time in years or a 9 year old boy giving his coat to a cold looking girl at a bus stop. Those things are always labelled ‘inspiring’.

But then again, there’s no racist graffiti plastered all over the subway in those videos.

Here’s how I imagine the meeting at Glamour HQ went down:

Writer: We need to talk about this story, but it’s pretty intense.

Editor: I agree.

Writer: Why don’t we sugar coat it by skimming the issue? Write about how inspiring it is that people cleaned off the anti-Semitic hate?

Editor: BINGO

It was during this meeting – presumably in a desperately sleep deprived state – that they came up with this really fitting and appropriate tagline to sell the story: ‘This will brighten up your Sunday!’

My friends and I discussed this over Whatsapp, where many of our deep conversations and debates (and what we’re going to wear on a night out) take place. My friend, Jess, said that she was all up for seeing positive in negative situations, but felt ‘like that just shits all over a horrific news story.’

Because at the end of the day, this news isn’t about the people who wiped off the Nazi symbolism (which in my eyes is pure human decency). No, it’s about how terrifying it is that this hate is still being scrawled over walls in 2017. And as Lucy pointed out, it ‘hasn’t brightened up anyone’s fucking Sunday.’

Buried underneath Glamour’s glitter and unicorn shit is a real issue.

I wondered how many other stories like this one get camoflaged everyday in women’s magazines.

That’s when I noticed it.

Women’s magazines are seriously behind the times when it comes to progression. Here’s a cute montage I made earlier:

From my research, the majority of women’s magazines contain most or all of these wise and thought-provoking articles:

  • How to have good sex, specifically with a man (Because apparently you can’t if you’re sleeping with a woman)
  • What clothes you should be wearing atm and will suit your figure (This is important for seducing the man that you might have sex with and conforming to the popular notion that appearances are there to be judged)
  • How to be happy (Man+sex and good clothes/body/hair xox)
  • Which celebrities look shit and why (Play close attention so you don’t make a fool out of yourself in front of men)
  • How to style your hair and do your make up right. I’m not even going to speak in brackets. I know about as much about make up as my brother. The magazine will tell me a) I’m brave for going ‘bare faced’ b) I should try a better moisturiser if I’m going to do that.

I’m not brave, just lazy. I like painting my nails. Sometimes I put concealer on my spots. Occasionally I wear lipstick. It’s not a hobby. I don’t know the brands or ‘what’s hot.’

Just like some girls like red wine and some don’t. Some dabble. Why not. Free country.

The point is: make up and hair doesn’t interest every girl. Neither does wine. Neither do Shane Meadows movies. There is no universal interest.

These common articles are not common articles of woman kind. These tropes are not defining of femininity. But they are in every women’s mag and I find that weird.

It’s weird that we can still be lumped into one model of culturally constructed femininity, a woman whose life revolves around fashion, beauty and sex. 50 years ago it was this.

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It’s weird that these magazines also preach their allegiance to feminism, like its a trend. Equality and all that, yeah. Stand up for what you believe in, but careful not to wear too much eyeliner because that’s a serious faux pas this season and no-one will take you seriously.

It’s fine to be a feminist and also want to have good hair. It’s also fine not to. The whole point of feminism is that you can be whoever you want to be without restriction. These magazines have codes and control.

Today these magazines should be brave. They should be without restriction.

But it might not sell.

Luckily, for us in 2017 everything is so accessible. We can pick and choose for ourselves what we want to read about, what each of us can specifically relate to. We can like, retweet, share. We are the creators of our own publications. And in a few years, physical copies of magazines will be dying out anyway. But wouldn’t it be nice if, before they do, the editors take a stand and make a real difference. Because soceity could really do with it, now more than ever.

What do you think? Reckon I’m being unreasonable?

Looking forward to a catch up soon

Alex xoxo

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Have your cake and eat it too

Dear T

I hope you had a great summer. I’m finally back in London for good after a summer away; I was lucky enough to spend a week in Lake Como, followed by a week in Amsterdam, followed by five weeks in America! It was amazing but it’s good to be home, with my earl grey tea and three pronged sockets and of course the Great British drizzle.

Speaking of which, while I was away I was absolutely distraught to realise that I couldn’t watch the first two episodes of the most quintessentially British series on television there has EVER been, that is, The Great British Bake Off (#GBBO). I love it with all my heart, but even so I am still genuinely stumped as to why this programme is so popular. Last year’s final pulled in around 15 million viewers, as many as the World Cup final! 15 million people watching a baking show?! A show where normal people – not even celebs – make bread and cake for a little old lady and a random scouse to nibble on. (This reminds me – check out my favourite Tumblr of all time)It’s more than a tv programme. It’s a way of life.

Anyway, yesterday I was a little depressed to learn that BBC have lost the rights to GBBO. Sources have said that the beeb were £10million short of keeping the most BBC-y programme there has ever been. That’s greed if ever I saw it (and I am an avid watcher of a baking show).

First we lose David Bowie, then Brexit happens, NOW THIS. 2016 has been a shocker for our little island.

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I know how u feel Mary

I wonder what percentage of the people crying this week about BBC losing GBBO also whined and moaned about the licence fee last week. And so we examine the gloriousness of the love/hate relationship between the people and the beeb.. I’m talking about the people who want to watch the programmes and use iPlayer with NO adverts, but find it absolutely outrageous that they are asked for a contribution. Because of course, everyone knows BBC have a giant money tree behind Broadcasting House that they use to pay for everything. They only ask for the licence fee to test how dumb the nation are so that they can eventually put their new reality tv show, Britian’s Got Talent Stupid into production. Funny how no-one makes a peep when Netflix or Sky ask for dollar, but when BBC food is taken down because the money tree is drying up, everyone is up in arms.

I’m hopeful it will be revealed that Boris Johnson is the chairman of Love Productions. It will explain the ridiculousness of the decision and we can all get on with our lives. But for now we are to accept that BBC haven’t been able to cough up the dough (tehe) and Channel 4 has gained the rights to GBBO. When I think of C4, I think of a middle-aged lady trying to be hip and ‘down with the kids’. I think of reality tv, nudity, and Hollyoaks. I can’t wait for the first C4 episode:


Previousy on GBBO…

Mel+Sue: Hello and welcome to GBBO. We have a sick show for you today.

Ad Break.

Mel+Sue: Welcome back. Here are some huns makin cakes using only ingredients they foraged yesterday.

Clip of cake. Product placement.

Ad Break.

Mel+Sue: Call in to vote for your favourite contestant. Here are the bakers and the numbers you need to call.

Ad break.

Mel+Sue: The votes are in. The person leaving the tent is……………..(long pause for tension building purposes)…… Simon. See u next week.

End Titles.


There hasn’t been a GBBO scandal like this since Deborah stole Howard’s custard and #BinGate. The icing on the cake (lol) is that now there are rumours flying around that Mary and Paul won’t return to the show. WHEN WILL THIS MADNESS END. I know it’s just a baking show. But for many of us it’s the best thing about bleak September, especially after the crumby year this country has had (sorry). I desperately knead to squeeze in some more baking puns, it’s the yeast I could do (so sorry).

What do you think? Am I being overdramatic?*

(ans: yes.)

Hopefully see you soon!

Alex xoxo

UPDATE: minutes after posting this Sue and Mel have QUIT Bake Off. My heart really cannot cope with anything else. I’m going to go and comfort eat some jaffa cakes.