I accidentally buggered up this week’s post – Mostly because life has been increasingly busy of late with many upheavals which is why I took a leave of absence, and there are still ripples of that! But, I managed to pull something together. Surprisingly, there is not a lot to deconstruct. Actually, the magazines have kinda been on good behaviour. There is a slight focus on age defying skincare and such this week – maybe because its winter in the southern hemisphere? And food gets a little play on the covers as well – which has really done nothing but make me crave some gluten free so good vanilla bliss, and homemade stewed apples…
A – Magazine cover has no mention of Beauty, weight, or appearance.
This weeks A’s are a motley crew, with a few surprises. Grazia, Woman’s Day, and TV week are all flawless, with OK! also joining in the fun. Though OK! keeps Nicole Ritchie and husband Joel Madden under their current stringent baby bump watch, the cover is flawless.
B – Magazine cover makes mention of Beauty Routines, and Fashion articles for maximising ones appearance – No shaming or promises of results.
Vogue features Abbey Lee Kershaw for its fashion heavy cover with the tagline Beauty Overhaul: Cutting edge discoveries. I am kind of not sure what to make of this tagline. We all know that most beauty products are little more than science experiments in jars, sporting their fantastic little patented secret ingredients like Stimulift (L’oreal). Beauty companies such as L’oreal and Estee Lauder invest a lot of money into finding exciting sounding discoveries such as The Youth Molecule (EL), or Pro Xylane (L’oreal and Lancome) – because these scientific sounding ingredients – often known only to five scientists world wide – sell more products. If its cutting edge, it is more likely to keep you ahead of the aging curve, and isn’t that all that matters? As Naomi Wolf tells us in the Beauty Myth – we all worship at the fountain of youth, and those of us who can delay aging the longest, win. And, are more successful. Vogue – the front-runners of fashion – are simply bringing us this information. To sell more advertising.
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.
NW focuses on Miranda Kerr’s Hot body secrets – perfect for midwinter to remind us that bikini season is right around the corner, and who better to use than a Victorias Secret supermodel who happens to have had a baby in the last year, and is Australian? It ticks all the boxes for helping women feel inferior, whilst giving them a false sense of empowerment by providing them with Kerr’s Hot Body secrets. I can give you them myself though – Healthy diet reliant on protein and veges, and exercise! NW also puts some topless guys on the cover with the tagline Phwoar promising us More hot boys inside. I thought this was interesting considering how many articles have been in the media recently regarding poor body image in men, and the pressure they feel to be Buff Mr Universe types. It’s about time NW started making men feel inferior. Can’t just leave out that section of the population, can they (yes. That was sarcasm).
New Idea runs the tagline Pink – How I lost 30 kg andalso features a story about two contestants on reality TV sham The Block: Dans and Dani‘s secret proposal. Plus! Check out our hot bodies. Interesting cover there for New Idea – Hot bodies for two people, weight loss above it… I wonder what health message they are trying to send?
Harpers Bazaar cashes in on Olympic fever with Kate Moss gracing the cover wearing Christian Dior and brandishing the tagline Best of British Cool. Harper’s also runs the tagline Future Proof: Age-Defying skincare. There must have been a lot of break throughs in the last year.
Australian Woman’s Weekly features three Australian television personalities on its cover to promote our successful (white, beautiful) women on TV. While it was clearly meant to be an empowering cover (and I certainly don’t want to take anything away from how hard these women have worked for their successes), it re-enforces just how white-washed our media really is, and let’s not forget these three women are also quite slim. This cover runs two interesting taglines which seem to re-enforce this slim notion of beauty, with Nutrition: Beat the fat hormones and Julia Morris – The pressure to be funny and thin! I have always loved Julia Morris, and had no idea there was any pressure on her to look a certain way. She always looks smashing, and is freaking hilarious to boot. I do wonder about a cover, however, that speaks of pressures to be thin, beating fat hormones, and then offers us 26 pages of comfort food. Clearly there is some confusion here – but probably not really. Magazines know it is their job to keep you consuming – and not just products, but images and ideals. After all, its the advertisers that help to keep them in business. The best way to keep you consuming is to sell you what you want, and make you feel guilty. Comfort food is guilt food, and most people aren’t lucky enough to be able to eat vast quantities of comfort food whilst still maintaining society’s idea of beauty – which is thin. AWW tells us that there is a fat hormone (ok?), and that a well known Aussie comedian feels the pressure to be thin, but then offers us winter comfort food – which we will then feel guilty for eating, and then go out and buy the beauty products that will promise to make us a better version of ourselves (provided we have access to awesome lighting, photographic make-up and Adobe Photoshop).
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.
Cosmopolitan features Miranda Kerr this month, and if there is ever one magazine that we can be sure will completely troll the hell out of us – it is Cosmopolitan. On one cover they have managed to completely reduce the role of women to man-candy who do nought but consume images of pretty men, buy shoes, and think about how to be amazing in bed – for HIM. That’s right, completely hetero-normative. And the cover is pink. PINK!! I can’t even. My favourite tagline, however, really is “Foundation is just false advertising“. Stuff guys say about your makeup. This tagline has been bothering me since I read it. Oh, I am sorry. I wasn’t aware that when I put foundation or eyeliner, or a dusting of gold eyeshadow (I like Half baked by Urban Decay) over my lids I was doing it simply to attract the approval of the male gaze. It isn’t just Chicks who take notice of these covers – Its guys too, and this is simply re-enforcing a false idea that we groom ourselves simply for male approval. We somehow left the 21st century, and ended up back in the 18th. Good thing too, I was starting to miss the pressures of being quaffed and powdered and mastering the art of the fan to appear all coquettish. It also assumes that the only gender that partakes in the application of foundation is the female, which is perpetuating contemporary gender constructs. Plenty of men – including those of the heterosexual persuasion – wear foundation or tinted moisturisers, and shouldn’t be made to feel inferior for doing so. Cosmos assertion that we should give two shits about what guys think about our choice to wear makeup is quite simply ridiculous. For Shame, Cosmo.
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.
Please don’t faint. There are no E’s this week. Just take a moment to enjoy this.
Best Cover – Lets give it up to Grazia. A for effort guys!
Worst Cover – Dear Cosmo. Suggesting that the sole role of women is to pander to the male gaze is a failure on so many levels, even the 4chan gaming community thinks it’s misogynistic.
Honourable Mention – OK! But guys, keep away from the baby bump watch. It isn’t your job to police women’s bodies…
What do you think? Did I get it right? Did I get it wrong?