There are only 9 magazines this week, so this will be short and sweet. Three of them earned A’s as well!!! Shaming does dominate the tabloids with a particular focus on weight and diet. The Kardashian’s have – as always – ensured they are getting a fair amount of tabloid press, but the tabloids fascination with the Jolie-Pitts is threatening to overshadow them, as is Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis’s rumoured hook-up. Katy Perry has managed to also snag a few headlines.
A – Magazine cover has no mention of Beauty, weight, or appearance.
The Australian Women’s Weekly, Who magazine, and New Idea are all flawless this week. AWW features Kerri-Anne Kennerley on the cover, and is obviously geared towards upcoming Mother’s Day. New Idea and Who are both focused on celebrity gossip and rumour mongering, though neither cover shames in any way. Good to see!
B – Magazine cover makes mention of Beauty Routines, and Fashion articles for maximising ones appearance – No shaming or promises of results.
Madison magazine is decisively selling the beauty myth this month with the tagline Beauty That Works – How make-up matters for your career success. Naomi Wolf’s theory of the beauty quotient equates physical appearance with success in the workplace, asserting that the more physically attractive a female is – carefully cultivated by grooming such as hair, makeup, and fitness – the more likely a female will be promoted, or even hired. In these instances her qualifications and intelligence are rarely taken into account. These standards are rarely extended towards male employees. By running this tagline Madison is firmly perpetuating the belief that female attractiveness equals success and trumps experience and intelligence. It is unsurprising that a fashion magazine such as Madison which is targeted to women who work full time in professional careers should run this tagline, though there is really no reason for the myth to be perpetuated. Madison’s cover however is a breath of fresh air featuring three women aged in their 20s, 30s, and 40s. 73% of their readership falls between the ages of 18 and 49, and Madison are indicating that they are clearly attempting to cater to their readership, whilst hopefully attracting new readers within these age brackets. The cover also highlights a little of Australia’s diversity, which is a welcome departure from the Anglo covers of most Australian magazines.
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 focuses mainly on Aussie soap Home And Away, and the results from The Logies. There is also a feature on Reality Singing TV show The Voice , with the tagline Tears and weight loss battle … I’m confused as to why there is a picture of Delta Goodrem, as she has never needed to lose weight, so why would she be battling weight loss? I am hoping that this is just really really really poor cover design, considering she is a judge on the The Voice, because having a weight loss story next to someone as slim as Delta Goodrem is sending a very very poor message. Perhaps a little more attention needs to be paid to your covers TV Week?
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.
Grazia features Kate Moss on its cover and proclaims it the Wedding issue, boasting a feature on Extreme Bridal Diets. I find myself wondering if they will be looking at the apparent new trend in Feeding Tube diets for Brides to Be. The choice of cover girl Kate Moss for this cover is problematic– her waif like figure has always made headlines, drawing criticism from every corner and accusations of promoting eating disorders. To have her on the cover, alongside another famous bride to be Angelina Jolie whilst advertising extreme bridal diets is sending a rather confusing message. Both of these women are obviously slim, and attract more than their fair share of body policing and thin shaming comments, however positing them alongside taglines advertising extreme diets is both shaming their figures, and holding them up as an ideal – kind of a ‘follow these diets, and you too can have their figures’.
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 continues to bring its Shaming A Game with the tagline Kardashain Body Wars. ‘Kendall, get out of my limelight‘. Kendall is Kendall Jenner, Half sister of Kim Kardashian, and a model. At 16 I find it hard to believe that Kim may be jealous of her little sis. This seems to be indicative of a dangerous trend in tabloid magazines that encourages female competitiveness and catty games. It’s a fantastic way of governing women, because if they are more focused on outdoing each other in superficial forums they have no time to focus on loss of health care options, wage disparity, and unfair treatment – among other issues. As much as the Kardashian beat up might sound heinous, it has nothing on The Bony Brides Diet Vow ‘I‘ll gain 20 kilos before my wedding‘. All the details on Brad and Ange‘s October wedding. I actually don’t know where to start with this one. It has me lost for words. We have damaging insults, and harmful body policing. I find it hard to believe that Ms Jolie has at any stage proclaimed she will gain weight before her wedding. Ms. Jolie’s career is partly based on her toned, slim figure, and the fact that this is a conversation anyway is incredibly troubling. I am disgusted with the precedent that NW have set this week.
OK! Magazine features my favourite funny tagline this week – Only in OK!. Sure, it was in relation to a story on Kim and Kanye… but hey! Kim and Kanye – ex warns ‘He’s an abuser!‘. Oh dear… accusations of domestic violence? These are always troubling, and false accusations of domestic violence only make it harder for those who do suffer to be taken seriously. It would be remiss for OK to be falsely accusing a person – any person – of abuse. OK also runs the cover story featuring Rachel Bilson and a Guess Who! Body Bullied. Forced to Diet – The super-slim stars ordered to lose weight to save their careers. This is accompanied with Dangerously Thin – Annalynne McCord, and somebody else who is unrecognisable. Anybody else find it hard to believe that these ladies have at any point been ordered to lose weight to save their careers? If it looks like body policing, and smells like body policing, and sounds like body policing, it probably is. It is just one more underhanded way tabloid magazines can thin shame women.
But there is something else at play here. It is not a secret that misogynistic Hollywood often demands an unrealistic image from its female actresses, and makes certain roles scarce to come by (anything over 40). Actresses such as Mandy Moore who refuse to succumb to the size 0 and 2 ideal find it hard to attract roles. Despite OKs transparent thin shaming, they are also drawing attention to inequalities in Hollywood which make it fine for actors such as Seth Rogan to play leading men despite his non-buff physique, and criticise actresses such as Jennifer Lawrence for not conforming to a largely unattainable fluid ideal. If the actresses stopped trying to conform to these standards, and the media supported this, then Hollywood would be forced to accept women based on their merits, and not on their measurements. But, let’s not ask for a miracle. Hmm?
Famous – So Young, So Plastic. Under 25, and Under The Knife. Inside the surgery epidemic that’s forced doctors to speak out: “Enough Is Enough“. This is accompanied with paparazzi shots (the befores) and Red carpet shots (afters) of Blake Lively (Gossip Girl), and Scarlett Johansson – who is 27. The cover further advertises 45 stars and what they’ve had done. Underneath this is a Who Has, And Who Hasn’t! with Keira Knightly and Jessica Biel. The before and after’s that Famous has chosen to use are largely paparazzi shots or party shots, and Red Carpet shots where the lighting is always favourable and celebrities are always at their a-grade best -because, that is their job. Ashley Judd’s Daily Beast OPed a few weeks ago shone a rather harsh light on the media, when she asserted what we already know – media outlets often parade around experts who pick apart a celebrities appearance, reducing them to mere pieces of disembodied flesh in order to ascertain in their opinion what plastic surgery the celebrity has had done. More often than not, it is none. It is thinly veiled bullying which makes these conversations where we pull apart a woman’s appearance for entertainment OK. Famous is playing right into this with this cover. There is no proof that young celebrities have had plastic surgery – and if they have that is their own business. Plastic surgery should not be treated as something shameful. If a person feels the need to alter their body for either cosmetic reasons, or medical reasons they shouldn’t be made to feel ashamed about their decision. If it is done to empower a person, that is their own business and nobody else’s. Famous is also calling a bump watch on Kim Kardashian with Kims Pregnancy *this wasn’t supposed to happen. How her fling with Kanye has turned very real.
Best – Australian Woman’s Weekly.
Worst – OK, Famous and NW all tie for the worst cover.
Honourable Mention – Madison. They always try.
Did I get it Right? What do you think? Any other Magazines you would like me to discuss? =)