This week is going to be a little light as I enter my fourth week of migraines and headaches. So please forgive the lack of in depth criticism. I am just going to do a quick summary.
Outside of Australia, two teenage SPARKteam members petitioned Teen Vogue to follow Seventeen magazines lead with their questionable photo shopping policy, and were met instead with abrasiveness, and harsh attitudes from supposedly professional adults.
I spent a little time considering the criteria, and realised that baby bump watch counts on comments of appearance, so there will be that change from here on out.
Mila Kunis is dominating the fashion magazines, just as Katie Holmes and Tom cruise are dominating the tabloids. The tabloids also engaged in body bashing and policing, and the fashion mags seem to be interested in preventing aging.
A – Magazine cover has no mention of Beauty, weight, or appearance.
Thanks to the continued focus on Katie Holmes’ to Tom Cruise, Who, Woman’s Day, Grazia, and New Idea join teen bible Dolly in earning As for their flawless covers this week. It’s been quite heartening to see Grazia hit the top spot so much recently. I hope they keep up the good work!
B – Magazine cover makes mention of Beauty Routines, and Fashion articles for maximising ones appearance – No shaming or promises of results.
OK! magazine ponders when Reese Witherspoon and Drew Barrymore may have their kiddlings based on the size of their bumps.
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.
Madison – The Busy Woman’s Guide To Losing Weight – because you have NO EXCUSE no matter how busy you are. You must chase that ideal shape… whatever it is. Don’t worry though, Madison also has your appearance covered with Makeup to suit your hair colour + top 10 anti-aging breakthroughs – because not only should you fit societies ideal mould, you should also never age, and never wear the wrong make-up – lest it ruin someone’s day…
Cleo – Get Fitter, Richer, Happier for less than $6.50. What is it with the number 6?? Cleo definitely seems obsessed with it – is six really the magic number? Shannon Spence seems to believe that it is, as it is perfectly balanced – anything under looks too little, and ten seems to be too much. According to Mathematics, Six is the perfect number, because all of the numbers factors (1,2, and 3) add to Six. Of course, this doesn’t really explain why six is the magic number, but look at this tagline– Look hotter in 60 seconds – again, with the number 6, but this time it’s a minute. But they don’t SAY look hotter in one minute. Its 60 seconds. I googled to find out why 60 seconds is magic (other than the obvious time saving aspect), and I got nothing except a whole bunch of articles teaching you how to do things in 60 seconds. Moving on from the number six, Cleo runs with this tagline – Hit the sex jackpot! Prize-winning tricks to try next time you’re naked – inadvertently linking appearance to sex yet again. I guess I shouldn’t be so hard on Cleo. It is clear that this is a magazine which is firmly committed to catering to the male gaze. Are those tricks to try when naked designed to maximise a female’s sexual pleasure? Or that of our partner – who is presumably male being that Cleo is a hetero-normative magazine. Why do we NEED to look hotter? Who are we looking hotter for? And how do you define what hot is? You don’t. You are TOLD what is currently attractive according to the male gaze.
In Style continues the idea that we are afraid of aging with The New 10-second facelift, which thankfully doesn’t feature the number 6. I wonder if it’s drinking a glass of water? Or, moisturising?
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 Health – Shed One Size In Two Weeks – Tricks To Melt Fat And Tone Muscle Faster. Dear Australian Woman’s Health. Can you please stop with the timeframes? Personally, I actually don’t mind reading AWH sometimes. I used to buy it religiously. I actually love exercising, and found that reading AWH was cheaper than a gym membership and kept me motivated. It’s a magazine dedicated to health and fitness… but as those in the health and fitness game know, timeframes don’t work. AWH are telling their audience that they need to be smaller – and it’s EASY to shed one size quickly, so what are your excuses? Fat and weight loss should never be advertised as easy. That is a dangerous game to play.
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 focuses on Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise this week, but keeps up their tradition of body shaming with the tagline Sharni (Vinson)told ‘GET HELP NOW‘. Hang on, who told her this? Google has nothing. Her twitter seems to show a pretty incredibly positive and enthusiastic person, not to mention a woman who is incredibly comfortable in her own skin and proud of her ripped bod (judging by a pic of her in a bikini as her background)– and I know few eating disordered people who have those qualities. The photo that NW have selected of Sharni is probably the worst of the pap shots to come out of that beach day – When slim people stretch – as Sharni is doing – it isn’t uncommon for their rib cages to become more prominent (I have much fun doing this in the mirror myself…). I wouldn’t be surprised if this image was ever so slightly photo shopped. This thin shaming has got to stop. It appears petty and continues to perpetuate the idea that it is OK to police women’s bodies, and make false claims regarding their health. From Sharni’s twitter feed – “Believe none of what you read and only half of what you see”.
Famous joins in the body shaming this week, with Where are her Kerrves? (how clever) skinny fears for Miranda which is accompanied by the body rating story Best and Worst Bikini Bodies: The Good, The Bad, and the OMG!. It boasts 25 New Pics. These paparazzi shots include the perennial tabloid favourite Rachel Zoe, and Sharni Vinson among others. Why is it OK to rate women’s bodies as best or worse? I am assuming the women who put the story together would NOT be happy if their bodies were to be rated in a magazine, so why is it OK to do it to High Profile women? Some of these women are mothers, some are dancers and athletes. All this does is continue to objectify women, and makes it OK for women to engage in this sort of behaviour. I was having a conversation recently about my work, and the person I was talking to said while she was in Europe, she would sit in cafes with friends, and they would simply criticise the appearance of all the people who walked by, and it seemed perfectly normal. This person is to fat, this person has had plastic surgery, this person NEEDs plastic surgery… and so on. WHY is it normal though? Well… because tabloids, magazines, and television NORMALISE it. This behaviour is not normal and not healthy. Rating women’s bodies and attacking their appearance does not make you more attractive.
Best – Dolly
Worst – Famous – Body Policing and Rating women’s bodies? For Shame.
Honourable Mention – In Style. Great cover, shame about the facelift tagline though.
What do you think? Did I get it Right? Did I get it Wrong?