This week Angelina Jolie has DOMINATED the covers. She is getting married, breaking up, having twins, cheating – ALL OF IT. The body focus has largely toned down in most magazines, and there is a focus on relationships – I am sure in time for V-Day. My guess is it will be much the same next week. Beyonce has also enjoyed some time in the spotlight after the birth of her daughter.
A – Magazine cover has no mention of Beauty, weight, or appearance.
Dolly and New Idea have perfect covers this week! Dolly is running its Model Search again (which launched Miranda Kerr), and has its Cool List and a ultimate sleepover guide! (plus a sealed section every girl should read… I find myself hoping it is much like the ones they had when I read it). New Idea however focuses on Celebrity Gossip – all love and babies just for Valentine’s Day. Awwwwww.
B – Magazine cover makes mention of Beauty Routines, and Fashion articles for maximising ones appearance – No shaming or promises of results.
Marie Claire is firmly centred on fashion and beauty this month. Featuring a stunning and simple beauty shot of Angelina Jolie on the cover, its taglines offer Hot Hair And Make-Up How To‘s – The Latest Looks To Suit You, 686 Sexy New Ideas (anyone else ever noticed how Marie Claire likes its new ideas and tips in the 600 range???), The Year’s Best Beauty Buys, and a 9-5 style guide. WHEW! It’s clear that these taglines are focused on dressing for yourself and making yourself feel amazing – and also dressing well in the work place. Naomi Wolfs The Beauty Myth comes to mind, especially her idea of the beauty quotient – how one looks will determine their hire-ability….. It also features what I think is an intriguing story – Don’t feed the humans, the world’s most shocking tourist attraction. I am going to need to read this – it makes me wonder where it is, and what the reason for not feeding the locals actually is. I can think of a few places off the top of my head, but who can really know.
Marie Claire’s website also features a Depression Awareness Campaign called Shine a Light on Depression. The page features a Depression fact sheet, celebrity stories on their personal experiences with depression, How you can help someone you know, helplines, and also why the magazine – which has a lot of clout – felt the need to draw awareness to depression. It is such a positive move for a fashion magazine to be taking this avenue, and their covers definitely project an idea of empowerment as opposed to creating appearance/ relationship anxiety. Furthermore, Depression has been firmly linked with eating disorders. Whether the depression comes first or after the eating disorder has taken hold is firmly individual, as each patient presents differently, but it is always there. Kudos to Jackie Frank and Marie Claire for taking SUCH a positive move in a world where fashion magazines are too often demonised (though, not always without merit =) ). Read more about Shine a Light on Depression here… (and make sure you check out the interactive lights)
Woman’s Day – 22 Fab recipes PLUS weight loss special! – It’s so small, tucked in the corner next to a picture of a cake (really Woman’s Day?), you would miss it if you blinked. Jean Kilbourne would have a field day with this, as she noted in Cant Buy My Love that women’s magazines are notorious for putting images of fattening foods on covers which usually feature thin women alongside weight loss specials. Kilbourne notes that there are a few things going on here all of which fuel the “paradoxical obsession with food and weight control that is one of the hallmarks of eating disorders”. Yes, she went there. The juxtaposition of dessert foods alongside weight loss specials act to cause guilt if you eat the cake; remind you that the perfect woman bakes the treats– but should not eat them; and the more nasty assertion by association that the cake is what makes you fat. Lots of anxiety to be created there! Furthermore, the inside of the magazine is only going to re-enforce that anxiety (but we are more interested in the anxiety caused by being continuously exposed to these messages on the covers in your daily life). The rest of the Magazine is focused on weddings and relationships and pink, and I am not really naive enough to think there is no underlying message here that if you aren’t thin enough (and cant bake), you won’t get that wedding ring! Pink. Relationships. Weight. Cake. Oh, Woman’s Day.
TV week – Bitter On-Set Feuds Rock Excess Baggage… It’s a weight loss show… and there are on-set feuds. To be honest, with the amount of times that excess baggage has been on TV Weeks cover recently citing this drama or that drama, I have to wonder if it is lagging in the Ratings…. In all likelihood this would not cause any body anxiety though.
C – Magazine cover prominently mentions Diet/ Health with no hard promises or time frames, Features weight loss stories, Features stories about Beauty Routines which promise results, Features stories on Slimming/ Sexy clothing, Focus on obtaining a particular type of desirable body. Magazine cover focuses on dressing for the male gaze.
Cosmopolitan – 6 Reasons You’re Still Getting Big Fat Pimples. Feel Sexier Naked – Easy Ways To Tone That Post Holiday Food Baby. Bam! Instant Sizzle – Simple ideas to reignite your look, Career, & Love-Life. Oh, and Beyonce is on the cover. Honestly, I just look at this cover and rub my forehead constantly. OK, well there is nothing wrong with running articles on pimples – though on a cover that seems to scream YOU SHOULD BE IN A RELATIONSHIP!!!!, one could assume that pimples mean you suck. Eloquent, I know. One can also assume a post-holiday food baby is not sexy (especially this close to valentine’s day when you could be getting naked if you are a participator of the hallmark holiday – guess where I sit), and you should not get naked or feel sexy naked if you rock the slightest food baby at all… I don’t know. Cosmos covers don’t even evoke any emotion in me other than a strong desire to facepalm repeatedly. They are predictably heteronormative, and constantly place focus on appearance for the male gaze – though to be fair, this one DOES try NOT to do it as much as it has previously., however its cover is likely to cause appearance anxiety. But, still…. Kudos for having Beyonce on the cover I guess… Though lets all remember the message she sends…
Grazia – Man Vote -What does your hair really say to him? Hear that ladies? Your self worth, and your hair, is dependent on the approval and validation of men. I’m going to guess most guys aren’t too accepting of my rainbow hair? It’s probably a good thing I don’t spend hours painstakingly fudging it for them, huh? Oh, Kim Kardashian is on the cover… wonder what her hair says?
D – Magazine cover actively promotes diets which promise fast results. Actively promotes Exercise for specific results. Actively assumes worth is determined by Male Gaze. Actively promotes youth for an audience over the age of 21. Actively promotes drastic beauty routines. Slight shaming tendencies.
OK! Beyonces New Body – 15 Kgs in 4 weeks. Thats right, Beyonce lost 15 kgs in 4 weeks. And it’s all over the tabloid magazines to add more pressure to new mums to shed that weight fast. It’s a lucrative diet market – the new mummy market – and the more the magazines help create anxiety over NOT losing that baby weight quickly, the more Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers and other such agencies are going to benefit. Call me cynical if you wish. However, what I find MORE troubling on the OK cover is the story featuring Suri (Cruise) and Shiloh (Jolie-Pitt) with the tagline Little Girls Lost. Fears for these hollywood princesses as their secret worlds are exposed. Last week we saw Woman’s Day question Shiloh’s tomboy appearance, and this week OK! Seems to be following suit. Without reading the story, it really is hard to know where OK! is going with this. Are they attacking Angelina and Brad’s decision to allow Shiloh to be true to herself? Are they commenting on Suri Cruises incredible princess face painting? What are the fears? We can only guess from what we have seen on other magazine covers really. The choice of children and previous magazines stories gives one reason to wonder if this is a case of gender representation. Shiloh favours black and short hair, where Suri seems to favour pink and long hair. IS there anything wrong with this? Well, unless their parents are forcing them to dress/ look this way there really isn’t. And commenting on the appearance of little girls really only serves to widen the gender divide, and continue to place girls in pink wastelands – and by extension, boys in blue wastelands – rather than allow children the freedom to express themselves authentically.
Who. How She Did It! Hot Body After Baby! A month after daughter Blue‘s arrival, Beyonce reveals her amazing new body, PLUS More new mum slimdowns (Mel B, Kate Hudson). OK, I am going to admit it… I kind of wonder if Beyonce is wearing spanks. There I said it – people can shoot me and call me mean, but I honestly question 15kgs in that short amount of time, and to be fair if I were in her position, and needed to make red carpet appearances after birth, I would probably put on the body slimming underwear!! That said, Beyonce is a fit fit woman and therefore she probably could bounce back a little quicker than your average new mum – HOWEVER that does not make it right for the magazines to continue to push this body anxiety. It takes 9- 10 months to put the weight on. It should take that long to get it off. New mums are especially vulnerable to any kind of pressure or criticism as their hormones exist in a heightened state for an undetermined amount of time. This indirect promotion of body anxiety is disgusting.
E – Magazine cover actively shames celebrity/ media personalities’ appearance. Actively promotes unhealthy diets/ unhealthy weight loss/celebrity diet tips. Actively engages in fat/ thin/ age shaming. Shaming dominates the page.
NW – Exclusive Photos – Body Panic! – Pregnant Kourtney – Scott calls her Fat. Lara – Fighting Weight Bullies. The face I am making right now is that face people make when they exhale and pout while looking both perplexed and disturbed all at the same time…I can’t quite figure out who Lara is – Lara Bingle perhaps? But apparently she is battling the weight bullies… I’m not really sure why based on the photograph on front of the magazine, but it troubles me that they are insinuating that Lara is overweight or has some weight issue as she looks perfectly healthy to me. And I have to wonder the effect that has on someone who may be the same size who is reading this. Are they to take away that they are overweight? Or is this just indicating that we hold personalities and celebrities to a higher aesthetical standard than ourselves – which in some way makes it okay to then criticise them for not holding that standard (which, funnily, we can’t seem to define…). Celebrity worship defines our culture in a lot of ways, and with that comes an unflinching ability for a large part of the media to taunt said celebrities either in the name of entertainment – or giving the viewing public what they want. Give it a Rest!.
Not to be outdone by asserting that people are calling Lara Fat is the assertion that Scott (Disick) is calling his pregnant partner Kourtney (Kardashian) fat (Googling Scott and Kourtney gave me their last names!). Honestly, this seems like a made up grabby headline to me. Kourtney already has one child to Scott according to google, so I am going to assume he is quite familiar with the pregnant female form. I don’t watch the Kardashians, so I have no idea what their relationship is outside of what I see on TMZ (and, to be fair, it doesn’t look that bad?). My biggest issue with this is it sends two very wrong messages – one, that women should be watching their figure during childbirth to ensure they DON’T gain too much weight, and two, that it is OK to call a pregnant woman fat. It’s never OK to call a woman fat, and during pregnancy? That’s just low. And to assert that someone has said it on the cover of a magazine – well, in a really indirect way, that just makes it okay for other people to do it! The cover also features a ‘broken’ Demi (moore), and other distraught celebs. The best thing to come out of NW this week? Their editor is leaving… wonder if a New editor will bring about a new focus which does not rely on body shaming the rich and famous.
Famous – The RELATIONSHIP ISSUE!!!….Kellan Their Curves – Why His Lovers End Up So Thin. The Mother Of All Insults – Kourt In Tears Over Scotts Body Taunts. Ok, Famous didn’t call it the relationship issue, I did. Kellan is Kellan Lutz – of Twilight fame, and Famous asserts that he turns all his girlfriends anorexic. I am so disgusted by this. It’s Thin Shaming, AND it’s firmly placing any blame on the shoulders of a man, insinuating that women change their appearance for men and to suit their aesthetic desires. It serves to make women second class human beings who are base their self worth on, and are completely dependent on the approval of men. This isn’t to make light of the fact that often in (abusive) relationships a dominant partner can cause weight loss in a submissive partner, but I would not want to assume the state of the relationship of the couples in question. According to Us Weekly, Kellan’s current partner is Sharni Vinson – who was in Step Up 3, and once upon a time in Aussie soap Home and Away (which I watched devoutly when I lived in NZ – which is when she was in it!). Sharni has always been a tiny girl – though extraordinarily fit, so to insinuate that she has been made thin by a partner? I honestly don’t know how to respond. It makes light of women who are in these sort of relationships (though, we really can’t assume their relationship, and shouldn’t). Furthermore, it is blatant thin shaming and makes light of eating disorders. Famous also puts their two cents in over Kourtney and Scott – it’s a sad week for pregnancy. The rest of the cover focused on relationship meltdowns…
Best Cover – Dolly Magazine. It is refreshing to see a cover aimed at young girls taht wasn’t focused on their appearance. Congrats Dolly!
Worst Cover – NW. It was a tough call
Honourable Mention – Marie Claire … Though I think I am giving it an honourable mention more for their Depression Awareness campaign than for their actual cover – though it was nice to see a positive Angelina Jolie cover as well!!
How did I go? Did I nail it? What is your opinion???