Listen up ladies! I want to ask you a question. Can feminism thrive within the pages of women’s fashion/lifestyle magazines. Lets first examine the first thing you see when you pick up a women’s magazine – the cover. What do you see? A super slim, tanned model/celebrity. She gazes out with flawless looking makeup, unblemished skin, impossibly glossy hair dressed immaculately in designer couture. Do you know any woman in real life who looks like this? These images are often airbrushed and photo shopped beyond recognition to portray an abnormally perfect (by society’s standards, certainly not mine) image. One most girls/women will never be able to attain without having surgery or becoming anorexic. This is just the cover though the content inside isn’t any better.
Once inside you see adverts that portray the message that you aren’t okay as you are and that you must buy their products and look like their model does. A model who is usually super slim and super tall. Then you get to the actual articles.
Articles that are full of ways to slim down and lose weight rather than teaching us to love ourselves and that all body shapes are beautiful.
Articles full of body baring dresses and articles on how to ‘rock his world’ rather than teaching young women to respect themselves and their bodies and realise that it is fine to not be sexually active. No wonder teen pregnancy is on the rise with the kinds of messages that are portrayed to young women and teen girls.
One article that I read recently that really got my back up was one by Cosmopolitan magazine. Apparently their dating tips consist of putting ourselves down, swishing our hair and licking our lips so in other words dumbing ourselves down and acting provocatively. Never mind the fact that if the guy is the right one he’ll love us just how we are and that none of this tricking and foolery is actually necessary.
Women’s magazines seem to me to perpetuate common stereotypes and teach young women the wrong lessons. That to succeed in life, looks are more important than a brain. They set unreachable and in my opinion unrealistic ideals and place their focus on things that in the grand scheme of things aren’t that important. I’m all for fashion and beauty articles but why can’t there be more emphasis on other areas too like career, happiness, loving and respecting yourselves and realising that you don’t have to be a size 0 to attain love and happiness. Am I totally missing the point here? Or are women’s magazines actually anti-feminist?
The full list of participants and their posts can be found here, on the Feminist Fashion Blog!