This week has been dominated by the death of Whitney Houston – which overshadowed the Grammys (and incidentally saved us from many best and worst dressed covers I suspect – it’s OK, the Oscars are coming up!). Whitney’s passing is indeed a tragedy as we reflect on both her talent and successes, as well as recognising her pain and addictions, as this article does. Woman’s Day also had two covers this week. I suspect the first was run before Ms. Houston’s passing, so both appear.
There was no uploaded Grazia cover this week, so they get skipped. Lucky Grazia!
In other news, Elle magazine may launch in Australia again through ACP. Though this story broke in November (2011), Mia Freedman’s tweet this week alerted me to it. The Australian reported that the launch is in doubt however, and may be postponed until next year. One of the apparent reasons is that Grazia – another ACP publication – fails to meet its weekly circulation targets. One must wonder if maybe the magazines AREN’T giving the public what they want. This really does make one wonder how many fashion magazines the current market can support. There are several magazines on the Australian market I DON’T rate, as these are the ones that are not commonly found in front of the newsagents or at the supermarket checkout (thus boosting their visibility and subliminal impacts). Magazines such as Oyster, Russh, Yen, Frankie, and Peppermint join international publications such as Dazed and Confused, I-D, Glamour, and many, many more. In an increasingly digital market, one has to question why ACP would consider re-launching Elle in Australia – a market clearly over saturated as it is. On to this week’s magazine releases.
A – Magazine cover has no mention of Beauty, weight, or appearance.
Woman’s Days original cover and New Idea both deal with celebrity and TV personality gossip, however are both flawless. Apparently the royals are in trouble, and some Princess is pregnant. I don’t know who she is. As she is just called Princess, I can’t Google her. Woman’s Day, Who, and OK! all run Whitney Houston tribute covers. It’s tough to know the content of the features however, and the covers do seem to suggest speculation.
B – Magazine cover makes mention of Beauty Routines, and Fashion articles for maximising ones appearance – No shaming or promises of results.
Madison –features plus sized model Robyn Lawley on its cover with the tagline– You Don’t Have To Be Skinny Or Small To Be Beautiful. And, Super Sexy Curves. It is a great tagline, which manages to send its message without thin shaming, in that it doesn’t assert that thin is not attractive, just that it isn’t the only DEFINER of beauty. The cover shot is simple and sexy without pandering to the male gaze. This is a great moment for Australian magazines which aren’t known for featuring plus-sized models on covers. (Yes, I do feel strange calling Ms. Lawley plus-sized).
Shop til you drop – featuring Kirsten Dunst focuses on the old standards – wardrobe, hair, make-up, and dressing your partner thus re-enforcing the age old myth that women like to try to change their men – who I am sure were Neanderthalic, grunting, alpha male messes before their charming girlfriend entered the picture to show them how they can be all they can be Rom Com style…
Instyle magazine’s cover was almost flawless, despite its major feature on 101 Best Beauty Buys. It also happens to be a wedding issue, which I think is slightly concerning with the connection between a wedding issue and a 15 page Beauty Product guide…. yeahhhh. There isn’t enough pressure on Brides To Be as it is…
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.
TV week – Rebecca (Gibney) tells TV week how losing 15kgs is tough. I am sure the article will be relatable to many people, and I have no idea why Ms. Gibney needed to lose weight, but the tagline re-enforces this idea that people need to be slim. Coinciding with this is a story regarding one of the Biggest Loser trainers and his cancer scare. I hope he is all good.
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.
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 – Sadly, a new editor over at NW hasn’t seemed to have stopped the body shaming, and Kim Kardashian is the recipient with the amazing tagline– My Body‘s Out of Control – punctuated by the exclamation Extreme Curves! over a photo of her wearing workout gear. What a coincidence!?! Pairing a photo of someone working out with the assertion that their “body is out of control”? My biggest problem with this is the underlying assertion that people only exercise because they have too – as opposed to enjoying the health benefits and endorphins that come with a work out. The dangerous idea that exercise is punishment is fostered by TV shows such as the Biggest Loser. Many Eating Disordered persons tend to use exercise as punishment for eating, and compulsive exercise – or anorexia athletica – is a very real eating disorder. This becomes even more destructive when recovery patients discover a form of exercise that they enjoy, and are criticised by (usually well meaning) people for engaging in compensatory behaviours – simply due to this popular belief that exercise is punishment – which in turn makes them feel guilty. It isn’t the most creative story, and really, it makes me wonder if NW was a little low on material this week. All this serves to do is to re-enforce the ridiculous notion that curvy is fat and exercise is punishment. NW also reports the earth shattering news that Rihanna spends $1.5 million on her hair each year! It must have been a slow news week.
Famous – I have spoken a lot on here about magazines glorifying weight loss in celebrity mums, and how it creates unrealistic expectations and pressures on non-celeb mothers. While the lead story seems to be more speculation on pregnant Kourtney Kardashian, tucked away on the bottom right of the cover is Beyonce and Kate (Hudson) with the tagline Inside Their Baby Bootcamp! There is also an assertion of how much weight has been lost between them. I can’t quite read it, I think it’s 32 or 37 kgs. On a cover that actually features two pregnant celebs (Jessica Simpson, and Kourtney Kardashian), I find it troubling that a story on post-baby weight loss would also feature as it creates an incredibly strong link. We know that Ms. Simpson is now likely to show up on future covers as the tabloids either bemoan how little she has lost, or celebrate a loss. Furthermore, tabloid magazines are renowned for fabricating this post-pregnancy weight loss – again creating pressure on non-celeb new mums. As always, I have to sound like a broken record here and state the only winners in this are the diet companies as frantic new mums try to lose that baby weight as quickly as possible so as not to be ridiculed. Holding celebrities up to these standards is unreasonable, and considering the Eating Disorder Initiative just launched in Australia, and Eating Disorder Awareness programs currently being carried out worldwide*, running with these stories is simply in bad taste. And while some women are lucky and walk out of hospital with a flat stomach, they are in the grand minority. It takes time to lose that weight, and the last thing a new mum should be focussed on is whether or not her thighs jiggle (or any woman for that matter!). Famous also tears apart another Kardashian with the story Kim’s Bizarre New Face. Her Surgery Under Fire. Soooooo, On NWs cover she has apparently gained some dangerous curves, but according to Famous she worked on her face. It has been a busy week for Ms. Kardashian. It seems she can’t win. Whether Kim has had surgery or not is her business, and as any good makeup artist will know, make-up can create many illusions. I think Famous is just creating tabloid garbage, and unfortunately are sending some incredibly dangerous messages.
Best Cover – Madison. Hands Down. It walked a fine line beautifully.
Worst Cover– Famous.
Honourable Mention – None.
Did I get it Right? What did you think??
* Please see yesterdays best of the interwebs post for links upon links =)