None of the magazines really had a lot to offer this week. It was a little slow for news. The tabloids reverted to Angelina and Kim Kardashian. There are some scary skinny stories which are unconvincingly disguised as concerned reportage. And it seems babies are on everyone’s mind. TV Weeks cover is missing, as it has not been updated online. The version in the supermarket was all about a wedding in an Aussie Soap Opera though… I think. I will be honest, I forgot it the moment I looked at it. Beware of much sarcasm ahead.
A – Magazine cover has no mention of Beauty, weight, or appearance.
Not one magazine was worthy of an A this week.
B – Magazine cover makes mention of Beauty Routines, and Fashion articles for maximising ones appearance – No shaming or promises of results.
In Style features Jennifer Aniston on its cover – and the re-touchers seem to have gone a little easy on her, judging by the amazing laugh lines they left around her eyes! (there is no negativity intended by that comment). The tagline tells us the feature is her talking about her boyfriend, that body, & what makes her feel sexy.
Who. Honestly… I probably could have given this an A – if it weren’t for the mention of Diet, even IF the tagline is referencing the Jolie-Pitt brood’s alleged junk-food diets. I am not a fan of parent policing. There is also a Hunger Games piece, which I am happy to say features the Female protagonist, and not the boys. It is a nice change.
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.
Shop til you drop features a HEAVILY photo-shopped Leighton Meester (Gossip Girl)this month. Even better, this cover shot originally featured in Vanity Fair. She really didn’t need the lengthened legs, slimmer waist and hips, or extra cleavage. These days, it is assumed that female consumers KNOW that every photo we see is digitally altered, however, it has widely been demonstrated that younger girls are not aware of this. This particular cover appears to be pin-up inspired – perhaps referencing Gil Elvgren’s vintage pinup illustrations. It isn’t entirely Shop Til You Drops fault that this image is heavily photo-shopped, but the magazine did choose this particular image – an image which equates long thin legs, tiny waists, and pin-up style clothing with sexuality. There is nothing wrong of course with choosing to wear these clothes if it does make you feel sexier, however this shoot has been made with the male gaze in mind, and is cashing in on the current pin-up popularity. The magazine in itself is completely focused on dressing for your size and maximising appearance, continuing to drive that link that appearance and sex are inextricably linked. Though it is not explicit on the cover that maximising ones appearance is for men, the image, and the taglines work together to tell the story. You can see Video from the Vanity Fair photo shoot here.
New Idea. Meaghans Hell – ‘Biggest Loser ruined my life‘. Im over 100kg again. The Biggest Loser often comes under fire. Any Google search can tell you this – though, you do have to enter in the right search terms. On the one hand the show is meant to promote healthy bodies and weight loss, whilst holding contestants accountable and offering a support system which is crucial to losing and maintaining weight. But let’s be realistic. The show is a competition where contestants are locked away from the real world and their lives revolve around diet and exercise. It’s an eating disorder waiting to happen (and has. more here). Contestants work out for unsustainable amounts of time per day, and have intakes so low that their bodies are often running on starvation (below a net 1200 calories) enabling them to pull those huge numbers week after week. If they pull low numbers they are ridiculed and made to feel guilty – by both trainers and contestants alike. If they take part in temptation their trainers often punish them with exercise – which forms that unhealthy link that exercise is a form of punishment – not an activity that should be enjoyed. A message often seen on Fitness Blogs is “You are only one workout away from a good mood”. But you would never know this watching a show like Biggest Loser. Meaghan’s failure to maintain her loss in the real world is really a reflection on how the show fails. On the show she was held as a role model, and in real life she could not sustain the lifestyle that the show forced upon her. It isn’t uncommon either to see former Biggest Loser contestants on the covers of weekly magazines bemoaning their weight gain. It also sets up a mindset that regardless of the diet/ lifestyle, it is inevitable that you will regain the weight you lose. The audience is free to relate and judge. Meaghan is posited as being incredibly unhappy with her larger frame – asserting that large is bad, and you too should be going through hell if you are around her size, and not her former fit self. What’s even worse about this cover is the 15-minute cheesecake brownies on the cover… we have been through this link before. I wish Meaghan all the best at finding peace within herself.
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.
Woman’s Day. I am not going to Lie. I ALMOST gave it an A. And then I considered a B. But then I decided that the assertion that Elle McPherson was Dumped for a Model Half her Age which could end her in Rehab was not even C worthy. It’s a solid D. You almost had this one Woman’s Day! According to various gossip columns I have read to make comment on this, it is not clear why they split, though long distance and conflicting priorities has been cited as the reason. (He is based in Miami as a Real Estate developer, she is based in …. Everywhere, but certainly London whilst Britain’s Next Top Model is Filming) In fact ONLY Woman’s Day is insinuating she was dumped for a younger woman, that she was hoping for marriage, and that she is feared to sink back into spiralling depression. It almost feels like Woman’s Day is being quite snarky. Going “HAHA! You are hot and you got dumped because you’re old”. One has to wonder how that makes the readers of Woman’s Day feel. The Readership base of the magazine is primarily Female – 81.7% – with the majority of readers being over the age of 35. That number almost doubles as women enter their 50s. Are these women going to feel worse about themselves, because if Elle can be dumped for a younger woman, then surely they can too, or will they feel superior? Tall Poppy Syndrome perhaps? In Hollywood, it is allegedly harder for actresses to get work once they hit the big 4-0. News desks are often populated by peppy young looking women – particularly in the United States – who are botoxed, scrubbed, painted, GHD’d and Hair-sprayed to within an inch of their lives. The Quest for younger and more beautiful is a myth that is so highly perpetuated by all facets of modern media, and has been discussed at length by feminists such as the Guerrilla Girls, and Naomi Wolf, and was further discussed in MissRepresentation. It is so refreshing to see an upstanding publication like Woman’s Day also buying into it with salacious gossip.
OK! Jess – My 30kg Gain! (Three weeks to go). So, Jessica Simpson is pregnant and she has gained weight. One would think by this wording that this was Criminal! HOWEVER, the website extends on this, stating that the heavily pregnant star couldn’t be happier with her body. Well, sure. The nude photo for ELLE Magazine that Jess has recently posed for illustrate to all of us that she seemingly is LOVING being pregnant. But where is this on the cover?
NW – Skinny and Struggling. Reality TV stars show the stress of moving on. Bethenny – Headed for Divorce. Taylor. I cried for two months. Bethenny, is Bethenny Frankel. She was originally on The Real Housewives of New York City, and then Bethenny Getting Married and Bethenny Ever After. Bethenny is also the creator of the Skinnygirl brand. Bethenny has recently suffered a miscarriage, and divorce claims are coming from her estranged mother – clearly a reliable source. Struggling with very real personal issues? Yes. Deserves to be splashed over a tabloid? No. Taylor is Taylor Armstrong –of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, whose Husband committed suicide in August of 2011. Prior to his suicide, Taylor had filed for divorce citing domestic abuse. I cannot begin to imagine the emotional rollercoaster she must still be on. I am not going to comment at large on either of these ladies bodies. I think photographic angles and the ladies both stretching have a lot to do with their appearance in the images. I also think the entire conversation is heinous. These are real women who are dealing with real issues, and because of situations they have placed them elves in (Reality TV) are dealing in the public eye. I don’t think their appearance needs to be monitored by a two-bit tabloid that has nothing better to do than to kick people while they are down.
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.
Grazia. Oh, Grazia… only uploading mini-photos onto Facebook now? I will just take photos of your magazine in the Newsagent and continue to post commentary. If you don’t like it – stop shaming. It is that simple. This Week, Victoria Beckham is back on the cover with this captivating tagline Posh – destroyed by her Vanity. The story continues with Hollywoods dangerous quest for perfection. According to Grazia, Ange says I’m a laughing stock and Demi says My body is all I have. I actually don’t really know what to make of this cover. It’s completely shaming Ms. Beckham, Ms. Jolie, and Ms. Moore, but I am not really sure what it is trying to say with its ridiculous claims… it’s kind of like high school bullying really…
Famous. Oh Baby! Jess bares all. Look at this amazing picture of Jess Simpson on the cover of famous. Just take a minute to drink it in. Now. Look at the rest of the cover. Can you say Editorial FAIL? At least it isn’t NEXT to this tagline: Why These Stars Think They’re Fat. The New Disorder Plaguing Hollywood. Before I say anything else… I would just like to point out that some of these photos are incredibly old. It’s a shame Famous couldn’t get newer photos… maybe it would give the story more credibility. Furthermore, Eating Disorders aren’t uncommon in Hollywood (just as strict exercise and diet routines are not), and it really is nobody’s business regardless. Famous has pulled out some old favourites for this story – Nicole Ritchie, Keira Knightly, Rachel Zoe, and two others. The Keira Knightly photo is another interesting example on how angles can make all the difference. As seen in this picture below from the same evening. This is a tired article for Tabloid magazines.
Best – In Style. It seems to be suggested that Jen Aniston’s feature is empowering.
Worst – NW. Skinny shaming is never OK, and they could not have picked two worse people to attack.
Honourable Mention – Who. They tried. No explicit shaming for once. I’m impressed Who!
What do you think?? Did I get it Right? Did I get it Wrong? Got a cover from your country that you want to share???