Sunday, 20 April 2014

Women's Magazine

I recently went to Wales for a course so had a 1-change train trip.  I get quite excited when I get to go on the train and have limited distractions I can take with me and it is my one opportunity to peruse the magazine isle at the train station newsagents (normally WHSmith.)  Not being a regular train traveller I seem to have a memory problem in that I always forget the short-lived excitement of getting a puzzle book or a magazine because they don't have either the ones that I want.  I am a kakuro fan and most of the japanese puzzle books at suduko and I am a craft fan and there are NO craft magazines that you can purchase at station newsagents.  This trip I decided that I would actually count what magazines I could get as a 'typical' woman, if there is a such a thing!!

Beauty magazines – you know, the ones designed to help you make yourself as attractive as every other woman mostly showing you famous woman who have experts and the time to make themselves that beautiful → at least 10.  I was reminded of someone telling me how much time it takes for an average star to get ready for any red carpet event.  It's a long time and I mean a LONG time.  Let's be honest most of us don't have that amount of time so these magazines are just designed to much us feel crap about ourselves or at the very least inferior.

Exercise and weigh loss magazines – you know, the ones designed to help you make yourself as fit and healthy as every other woman.  Slightly better than the beauty magazines because they often feature 'real' women, they are still sending a message that you could or should be thinner, healthier, eating something different to what you are (often with an out-dated diet that is one size fits all because we are all the same or at least we should all try to be.)  The message is if you only tried a bit harder or had more willpower you too could be perfect or at least a helluva lot better than you are now.  There were at least 8 of these magazines so I least I could choose which diet or exercise regime I could beat myself up with!!

And then I have saved the worse to last.  There were at least 20 gossip magazines which I could choose from telling me who was wearing what dress, who was splitting up from whom, who was pregnant with who's baby and other such information.  These magazines are full of beautiful women, who again have the staff, time, money to spend on looking fab, or of women who were beautiful but let themselves slip; or who are beautiful but made the mistake of wearing the “wrong” clothes or could be more beautiful if only they would put on some more make-up.  There is a crossover with these magazines and the beauty ones but this category are much more underhand about what is or isn't beautiful.

Well strangely enough I did not want to waste £s on any of these.  I wanted to have a look at the craft magazines: the knitting, crochet, quilting, sewing, creative-type glossies.  Unfortunately there weren't any of those so instead I saved my money and wrote this and when I have finished this I will continue reading Charles Eisenstien's book “The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible” and sigh at the irony of how Charles mentions that the “all of our external institutions reflect our basic perceptions of the world, our invisible ideologies and belief systems.”  Basically, there are no craft magazines at train station newsagents because no-one wants to buy them.  People want to buy the other magazines to look outside of themselves to discover who they are.  The problem is it isn't making us any happier as is evident by a $4 billion dieting industry and this vicious cycle of beauty, gossip and health magazines.

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