Let’s just enjoy the calm before the Oscars. Shall we?? It is a relatively quiet week, though overwhelmingly negative. Honestly, there were a lot of contentious covers this week. I have really struggled with grading them, and I think that many readers will probably disagree with my choices (and you should feel free to let me know!). There are some laughable headlines, and there is a massive focus on diet and weight. The Kardashian’s are front and centre on most tabloid magazines, giving Angelina Jolie a break. Woman’s Day still has the Whitney Houston cover up so they get a bye.
**apologies for the lateness of this post. It has been a flat out weekend! and funnily, I am watching the Oscars as I finished editing this!
A – Magazine cover has no mention of Beauty, weight, or appearance.
Both New Idea and TV Week are flawless this week. New idea focuses on a TV stars pregnancy in a positive fashion, and there is a Whitney Houston special, though I am not sure about that Shock Murder Claims tagline. TV week focuses on soap operas and reality cooking shows.
B – Magazine cover makes mention of Beauty Routines, and Fashion articles for maximising ones appearance – No shaming or promises of results.
Girlfriend features emerging actress Lily Collins on the cover, and comes with a free make-up brush kit. There is an intriguing tagline Baldness & Tiaras. Not Your Average Beauty Queen which sounds incredibly promising. Sadly there is also a Crack the Bro Code feature, which always worries me. This whole idea we speak different languages is really rubbish. I think I wasted half my life believing that garbage. The Sex Talk feature also looks promising. I am continuously impressed with Girlfriend magazine. I may have to pick one up and read it to see if the content follows through with the positive covers. I have given it a B due to its mention of Beauty and cracking the bro code, but it’s a Very High B.
Australian Women’s Health – Compared to last month’s cover, this AWH is overwhelmingly positive featuring Biggest Loser trainer Michelle Bridges on the cover. It focuses on Fitness, Nutrition and Balance, which are essential to a healthy lifestyle. The tagline Slim Sexy Body Now. Turbo Charging Weight Loss – Build Strength and Stamina does seem to promise quick results, which made me wonder about the grading, however it is relatively accepted in the Fitness world that strength training and lifting is better for fat loss than many other forms of exercise, and essential to a fitness regime. AWH’s best cover so far this year.
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.
Who Magazine goes for gold with the weight loss special… I wonder if this will amp up as the Olympics draw closer – 16 Amazing Slimdowns. How They Did It. Shape-Up Secrets From The Stars. Kim, My Best Bikini Body. Paulini, I Lost 20kgs! Rhianna Dropped 5kgs. Miley, Down A Dress Size. You know those moments where you just don’t quite know where to start? I think it’s questionable from the images that Miley is down a dress size, and it is well known that she is NOT appreciative of comments on her body feeling that they contribute to a climate that fosters the development of eating disorders and normalises disordered eating practices. Whats happening is we are seeing celebs being congratulated for losing weight – by the same magazine that criticises celebrities for being too skinny. Which is it Who? This is clearly being run in conjunction with a diet special which has been disguised as shape-up tips from the stars, and how they did it. We decode this as, they did it, and you should too so that you can be successful. This idea that appearance equals success was called the beauty quotient by Naomi Wolf who asserted that the more physically attractive a woman is –bodily, facially, and dress wise – the better chance she has at success and employment. I don’t mean to take anything away from Paulini’s weight loss – as long as she did it for herself, and not because someone in a suit told her too, but all this sends is the message that Slim is the only way to be, and if you aren’t slim you aren’t beautiful. As it doesn’t overtly shame or promise results… it gets a C. A LOW C.
Grazia – A-list Diets. Why Posh Won’t Eat Cherry Tomatoes. Show Me The Money! How Your Makeup Can Up Your Salary. My one question when looking at this issue of Grazia is “Is that even Gwyneth on the front cover?”. I think the re-touchers may have provided her with a relatively new face. It’s a shame, her old one was just lovely. Back to the taglines, it is interesting they used Gwyneth on the cover with an A-List Diet tagline, given her well known Macro-biotic diet. I’m not really sure why we need to worry about Celeb diets. If they have the money to retain a chef and nutritionist, they can refuse tomatoes all they like. Food Phobias are quite real however to those people with disordered eating. It could be carbs, fruit, meat, junk, you name it. These sort of articles only serve to re-enforce those practices. And again, we have Naomi Wolfs Beauty quotient being re-enforced. Strange that it is still here, 20+ years after The Beauty Myth was written…
Cleo- Cleo seems to be amazing at Faux pas’. I actually have to wonder if it is intentional. In what may be the best Bad Taste joke so far this year, Cleo features Jessica Alba on the cover, with the unrelated tagline The easiest way to LOSE WEIGHT. (yes, it involves eating!). Jessica Alba has admitted to suffering from an Eating Disorder, painfully obvious in the second season of Dark Angel (2000/2001). It is quite possible she still suffers from disordered eating practices; however, she works tirelessly to raise awareness, and has been quite vocal about aiming to raise her kids in an environment that is healthy. Hmmm….
Australian Women’s Weekly– AWW features Princess Mary on the cover, and the tagline Rebecca Gibney: How Menopause stopped my diet. It’s worrisome that Ms. Gibney admits to having been on diet. I am not a fan of any food regime that tells you to avoid foods unless it is for medical reasons. These sort of regimes promote and create disordered eating practices, which can set a person on a very dangerous path. Ms. Gibney is a reasonably successful actress here and in New Zealand, and I would hate for that success to be equated to her size – and many will make that leap. I do think this would however be a grand article for the target audience of AWW which is women aged 25-54, and is more popular with women aged 35 onwards.
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.
Famous – Famous wins the award for Most Laughable Tagline with Kourtney’s Shock Confession – I’m having Khloe and Lamar‘s baby . However the cover focuses on The new curvy stars fight back – leave us alone. Tired of the criticism: the celebs getting healthy and leading a Hollywood revolution. 18 new bodies… too bad the photos are incredibly unflattering for the most part. And really, there is no revolution. Hollywood is a cacophony of different sizes, though it is true that slimmer women tend to win major roles and romantic leads. This is partly the consumers fault. If we didn’t watch those movies based on this, eventually Hollywood would change their formula. If we chose films with unconventional female leads, Hollywood would be forced to take notice. It would have been a great cover if they had picked great photos of all the stars. However, they chose to pick unflattering pictures, which takes away from the story. It looks like Body Positivity, however, it smells like shaming. I get so tired of this.
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 – Not to be outdone by Famous’s failure of an attempt at body positivity, NW continue their trend of body shaming with Revealed: stars with cellulite. The cover features an image of Scarlett Johansen, and Sarah lastnamenotknown from behind wearing their bikinis. The argument is these magazines show us what we want to see. And that is stars have cellulite, and this in some way humanises them. Whatever you need to tell yourself so you can sleep at night. But, we aren’t stupid. We know what is going on here. These stars are being shamed. They aren’t holding up the ridiculous standards that have been imposed upon them by some unknown entity. And by shaming celebs for having cellulite when they dare venture out in public, we are also shaming everyday women into feeling that they can’t go to the beach in a bikini without being ridiculed for cellulite. NW continues their shaming with the tagline Heidi Ruined By Surgery. I am not quite sure who Heidi is, but that just looks like a photo of a girl without make up on to me. And then, on to a little more shaming with All-new frozen faces (Court, Frozen and Pal; Lilo, Nose collapsing; Jwoww, Puffy Pillow face). Plus, more inside. It’s bad enough that celebrity women (and men) feel like they have to keep a youthful facade in order to please the public and the production companies. We often hear stories about women who are pressured into feeling the need to have collagen and botox, or stars who are told they should consider a nose job. So it is a little ridiculous to see these stars criticised by the same media outlets that take great delight in reminding them when they are starting to look a little worn around the edges, or Photoshop out the slightest hint of any wrinkle. Plastic surgery is a personal choice, though sometimes it can be reflective or low self esteem or body dysmorphia. Women who choose to partake in Plastic Surgery should do so without feeling like they will be ridiculed, and NW have ensured that women will never admit to having some work done. Please watch MissRepresentation for more on Celebrities and Media Personalities who feel pressured to have surgical procedures.
OK! OK! exclusive. Im not too thin! Sharni Vinson joins stars hitting back at claims they are scary skinny such as Rachael Finch and Audrina Partridge. Well, this started as quite an interesting issue. A month or so back, WHO magazine ran a story with Sharni on the cover claiming that she was scary skinny, and it is clear from this image that she is quite ripped. When I first saw this cover I felt so incredibly elated at a tabloid magazine FINALLY acknowledging that Thin Shaming is ridiculous (well, kind of but not really – the acknowledgment that is. We all know that thin shaming is disgraceful). BUT then, I saw this little story in the corner. Jess Simpson New baby Fears, Danger Diet Warning. It has started. Just in time for Mel B to announce that she lost all her post baby weight on Jenny Craig. Coincidence? Probably. [Video]
Best Cover – Girlfriend. They give me hope.
Worst Cover – Famous. It looks like positivity, but really it’s shaming.
Honourable Mention – Women’s Health. Fantastic focus on fitness, balance, and nutrition for health.
Did I get it Right? What do you think??