OK, so the tabloid magazines are all about One Direction this week – that boy band. I am really quite disturbed about the level of ADULT FEMALE FANDOM surrounding these teenage boys, is anyone else? Jennifer Aniston continues her magazine cover assault, bagging another. Unsurprisingly, the Kardashian’s are front and centre on the tabloid magazines, and weddings seem to be the big thing – including the Pitt –Jolie wedding. Most covers mentioning the Pitt- Jolie wedding are taking great delight in pitting Jen Aniston against Angelina Jolie in another attempt to make women suspicious of each other. A couple of the tabloids are again insinuating that people are criticising the appearance of some celebrities – which is really just a backhanded way of doing it themselves. Good Show.
A – Magazine cover has no mention of Beauty, weight, or appearance.
Woman’s Day, TV Week, Famous and In Style Magazine all earn A’s this week. Woman’s Day focuses on Shane Warne and Liz Hurley, while TV Week reports on Australia’s TV awards, The Logies (only we would call it something that sounds like something you hack up out of your throat…). Famous also has a flawless cover, reporting on an alleged Kardashian marriage, and fostering the adult obsession with One Direction. Ugh. And In Style features Rachel Bilson, and is all about the hair and winter fashion.
B – Magazine cover makes mention of Beauty Routines, and Fashion articles for maximising ones appearance – No shaming or promises of results.
No Bs this week.
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 Jennifer Aniston this month, with the magazine praising her new style. The cover predominantly features online shopping and beauty tips. So what’s the problem you ask? SURELY this deserves a B! Well, one would think so, if not for the tagline Broken heart? Looking Hot Is The Best Revenge – Your Breakover Starts Here. Hmmm. Shop til you drop… You almost got it right!
New Idea – Julia Roberts, How I got this body after 3 kids! Followed (I am sure, not accidentally) with the tagline All-New Flat Belly Diet – Its Easy! While the flat belly diet is problematic (I am assuming it includes a healthy balanced diet full of greens, many planks and a fair amount of pilates) , as are any specific diets – especially those that claim to target specific areas-, It’s great to see Julia Roberts looking so healthy – and not being criticised for it! However, she is still being reduced to her appearance– and that is problematic. We have to wonder how a woman struggling to regain her shape after 2 or 3 children feels about this, as this cover indirectly puts pressure on all women. Many women talk of feeling pressure to lose weight after children, and the struggle to take it off after their body has changed so many times to cater to the ever growing embryo/ foetus. New Idea is using Julia Roberts to essentially tell women that they cannot use motherhood as an excuse to have a frame that doesn’t fit into the small socially acceptable norm. I wonder if there is a full page Jenny Craig advert inside (probably featuring Mel B).
Girlfriend – Usually, Girlfriend gets it right, and they did on part of the cover with the tagline What’s a “real” girl? GF debates the big body issue. The “Real” issue is picking up steam every week. “Real Girl” or “Real Woman” is usually a term given to separate one group of females from another – continuing the societal construct which keeps women fighting each other rather than fighting issues such as inequality. Insinuating what is real usually indicates that another thing, the opposite – usually body shape – is not real. Who gets the short end of the stick? Unsurprisingly, it’s thin women with boyish figures. Tumblr user claireruns is emphatic in her promotion of all bodies and all women being real, and like so many is sick of seeing one body shape pitted against another. Claire asserts that this notion that boyish figures are somehow un-natural makes girls with these figures feel unfeminine – like they AREN’T real women – which is ridiculous, because they have all the right “lady parts”. As she states, ” If you want people to stop sporting the notion that every woman needs to be thin then you need to stop believing that every woman needs to be curvy. Every Body is Different”. I am interested in Girlfriends article on what a “real” girl is, and I hope that it is everything – because all girls are real. It’s an interesting cover as well, featuring Lea Michele from Glee, who has faced pressure to have plastic surgery to make herself more “bankable” for Hollywood, but has continuously refused – because she likes herself just fine, thank you.
Unfortunately, where the Girlfriend cover goes wrong, is with this tagline: Body Trash Talk and What Boys Think Of It (Spoiler alert – It’s a “no” from them). It started off so well!!!!. The idea that we should care about what boys think of body trash talk is ridiculous. Should girls stop body trashing – both themselves and others? YES. A study has shown that women who actively talk down about themselves actually continue to damage their self esteem – those negative comments you make about yourself both indicate a problem AND worsen it. Trashing other women’s bodies doesn’t make you feel better either. But should we stop body trashing because boys don’t like it? No. You don’t change yourself because of other people, you change for you. The moral of the original Little Mermaid was essentially – don’t bother changing yourself for men, because it won’t work. The little mermaid goes and gets herself feet, and spends every waking step in pain for the Prince, and he chooses another (Disney kind of got this message mixed up). Sure he was a shallow, superficial brat – but what of it? We should stop body trashing – but doing it for the approval of men shouldn’t be the motivator. GF also comes with a free cosmetic kit. *sigh*
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.
Cleo features Adele on the cover and a hilarious (non related tagline) – get a better body in six minutes flat. Sometimes – I have to admit, I love waiting to see what Cleo does next. If there was ever one magazine that was dedicated to the Faux pas, it would have to be Cleo. I ALSO like that they put the words Super Size over Adele, with the full tagline actually being about your career – but those words are much smaller. Surely there was a better word they could use? Merriam Webster online has provided me with accelerate, aggrandize, amplify, boost, build up, escalate, hype, pump up – among others. Microsoft Word adds to this list with enhance, advance, and MY favourite -rocket. But no, with all the weight talk surrounding Adele, Cleo chose Supersize. Hearing how the media talks about Adele is always interesting – Adele proves that it isn’t about the way you look. Adele shows us you don’t have to sell sex to sell albums. It’s also interesting the cover that has been chosen. Usually, Cleo’s covers feature a full body shot, or at the very least from the knees up. But curiously, only Adele’s face and shoulders are featured in what we might call a beauty shot. Interesting move there Cleo.
Back to the better body in six minutes flat – Does it include putting on body controlling underwear, because really, that is the only way you are going to get a better body in six minutes – and Cleo knows this. It is impossible to get fast results – especially in six minutes! (yes, I know I am being very literal). Unless you go the plastic surgery route, and even that takes longer (not including recovery. You would have been better going for a run every day!). Cleo follows this up with Revenge vs. Gossip girl – bring on the bitchfight! – I just thought this idea of catty girls and bitch fights was interesting on a cover with a woman who seems to enjoy nothing more than skinny shaming and slut shaming other women, and pitting herself as representative of all the “real” women out there. Just saying.I will admit, sometimes I feel like the only person that hears the way Adele talks about others. While its true the media often tries to push female artists into corners where they will bitch about each other, Adele is one of the few who will happily take the opportunity – and apparently, its OK for her to do this. But to finish it off, Cleo ends with Be The Girl He‘ll Never Forget In Bed. I don’t even know what that means, nor do I know why it is on a cover actively promoting fast body results, and cat fights. Oh no, wait I do…. I see what you did there Cleo. Do you see it?
Women’s Health – features Elizabeth Banks on the cover, fresh from her incredible role as Effie Trinket in the Hunger Games. Women’s Health tells us How She Got This Healthy And Hot. Wasn’t she always? It’s a bit worrying though this correlation between being healthy and being hot. Like it’s the only way to be hot – that said, it’s better than some of the alternative views of hot in the media. Still, its pitting one ideal against everything else isn’t it? I expect better from Women’s Health! Women’s Health also runs the tagline Your Perfect Weight – 5-Day Flat Belly Meal Plan. Total Body Toning Moves. See Results in 10 days. I see they are going with the flat belly diet as well? *sigh*. Furthermore, the editors at Women’s Health should know better than anyone to promise hard results in 10 days. It takes a month for you to notice results, two for friends, and three for everyone else – and that’s providing you stick to your healthy lifestyle plan, and make healthy changes rather than restrictions. Something to keep in mind. Women’s Health also runs the tagline The better sex workout – tighten, tone, then..moan.
NW – One Direction‘s 7 Juicy Confessions! – Strip-Off Pics Inside. Honestly… I just had to include this because it just freaks me out – this adult fandom. Looking at NWs readership demographics, 73% of their readership is over the age of 25 – so who on earth are they running these stories for? Body Shocks – Fears for skinny Rachel (Rachel who? – I can’t tell, but I wonder if the only people who have these alleged fears are people trying to sell magazines, and then its more shaming than anything…)and Revealed!! Nicki‘s Real Rear (Nicki Minaj). I don’t understand…
OK! Ange Vs. Jen Bride Wars! The race to the altar is on! How Ange threatens to ruin Jens big day. Society actively places women in competition with each other over everything – appearance, life, and attractiveness to men. Yes, I said it. Society tells us that our worth is determined by the way men see us – which is done to encourage women to look a certain way and be suspicious of others they deem a threat. Magazine covers such as this one actively promote this sort of thinking. Samantha Brick famously stated in her ode to herself that being incredibly attractive has cost her friends as they are unbelievably jealous of her, and worry she will steal their partners. Regardless of whether this is true or not – and clearly she believes it to be – it indicates a social construct that has women more concerned with being scared of each other than their declining rights as human beings. OK! follows this up with an image of Leighton Meester and the tagline Don’t call me fat! This prompted me to wonder who on earth was calling her fat. So, I googled it, and found that ACTUALLY, no-one was. All articles I found were focused on her toned body, Yoga workout, and her looking fantastic in a bikini. Nice work there OK! As With NWs cover claiming there were fears over a skinny Rachel, this assertion that people are calling Meester fat is nothing but a backhanded way for the magazine itself to shame her.
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– Ahh, Grazia. They never quite know where to stop. They are running with the cover story Extreme Weight loss –Which is followed with two stories. One being Eek Alexa! 6kg shed in two weeks! Which drove me to question where on earth do they pull these numbers from? Surely it’s an incredibly credible source! It certainly isn’t anywhere on the internet. Alexa Chung unquestionably has a tiny frame, and is constantly an easy target for skinny bashing and thin shaming, shown in these articles regarding a photo on Instagram. The second tagline prompted my weirdest google search for this post yet – Ange Too Skinny For Sex . This may be the best thin shaming tagline I have seen to date. Really Grazia, you outdid yourself here. I had to wonder, what exactly constitutes too thin for sex, but all I could find on the internet was in relation to men and penises – nothing to do with women. However, I found this Sydney Morning Herald article regarding the Grazia cover, which indicates that some incredibly reliable and intimate source (so, the hairdresser for the sister of the partner of the cleaner – probably) who has claimed that Angelina-
”refuses to undress in front of partner Brad Pitt with the lights on” … Grazia‘s unstoppably intimate source – known as the ”source” – adds that Jolie has ”moved into her own bedroom and says she wants it to be permanent”.
This is because she is ”tormented” by her body insecurities ”every single day.” Good old ”source” even reckons her ”scrawny frame” – one of the celebrity gossip world’s most beloved put-downs, along with ”proud of her new curvy figure” – is because Jolie ”won’t eat because people in the Third World don’t have food”.
I see. Does anyone else feel like Grazia’s reasoning just doesn’t make sense? Here I was thinking that possibly this was just an assertion that a thin person could not POSSIBLY be attractive enough for sex. Or that they were saying that a thin person could break during sex (my google search confirmed no such thing). But no, it all comes down to alleged self confidence issues. Nope. Still sounds like Thin Shaming to me Grazia, no matter HOW you try to spin it. Thankfully, Grazia show that they also will give attention to men with the Real Life story , I’m happy my husband had cosmetic surgery, just to remind the guys that they aren’t perfect either.
Who – Who magazine’s cover is a little bit of a letdown after some of the other covers this week, but don’t worry… they get some awesome shaming in there with 50 Stars Without Makeup – a feature guaranteed to show celebs at their red carpet ready best, and then with the worst pap shot readily available to humankind. The cover features Sofia Vergara, Beyonce and possibly Adele and Jennifer Lawrence. Ms. Lawrence has definitely made it now if she is starting to snag tabloid attention, and you know they think she is gorgeous if they are trying to insinuate she really isn’t. This also helps draw attention away from that incredibly strong female protagonist she is currently playing who isn’t sexualised like most others who carry action films. Who also continues the woman against woman with Jen Aniston’s reaction to the Jolie- Pitt wedding. Is it too much to hope they will report that she shrugged and then congratulated the happy couple? No, I am sure a source has reported that she went on a 5 week bender to Cabo before getting Brad and Jen forever tattooed on her butt. Such is the tabloid industry.
Best Cover – In Style. Great to see a fashion mag snag an A.
Honourable Mention –Famous. I like to see the tabloids NOT shame. Great job!
Worst Cover – Congratulations Grazia on a completely Heinous cover.
What do you think? Did I get it Right? Did I get it Wrong? Tell me what you think!
Sidenote – the end of April marks four months of analysing Australian magazine covers, so I am going will be putting together a review (just have to finish the hunger games post xx)