I’m bored with women’s magazines. Sometimes, when waiting for a train or something, I feel tempted to buy one but these days I rarely bother. Once you’ve read a few you’ve read them all.
Women’s magazines can roughly be divided into ten categories:
- The young woman’s guide to men. These mags regularly feature articles on the best sex positions in peaceful coexistence with dieting and make-up tips. Useful if you’re unsure about how to “be the best he’s ever had.”
- A slightly older woman’s guide to living the sort of life we expect older women to live. No sex positions, even though this is an age where a lot of women are beginning to feel more confident sexually. Good for interviews with Helen Mirren.
- The how-to magazine about how to reach unattainable beauty goals and force yourself into unrealistic body shapes. Good for guilt trips served with chocolate chip cookies and ice cream.
- The fashion magazine portraying starved teenagers in clothes the unwearability of which is only exceeded by their unaffordability. Lucrative for Lagerfeld.
- The magazine that attempts to combat the frivolousness of the other magazines by being deadly serious and succeeds so well that you do indeed die while reading it. Of boredom. Good for fanning yourself if it’s a hot day.
- The baby magazine. I actually read these when my babies were little. It’s all about how, if and when to breastfeed/take your child to music lessons/to start potty training. The only possible reason to read this magazine is if you actually have a baby AND if you’re not sick and tired of everything in your life revolving around babies.
- Good Housekeeping. The name says it all. Good for quick and easy lunch boxes and how to organize everything, including your vagina.
- Craft magazines. These would be okay if I didn’t hate crafts. Useful if you want to create your own festive cards or knit an owl.
- Cooking magazines. Well, not too bad, since they do provide real practical value, but it’s not something I’d like to read on a train. I mean… They’re recipes. They’re good for the kitchen.
- Gossip magazines. I just feel so cheap reading gossip mags. I don’t know those people, and yet I find myself peeping at their lives, tempted by their pretty faces, bad hair days and failing marriages. Afterwards I feel like I woke up with two empty bottles of tequila next to the bed and had slept with the whole town. Not strong, not proud, feeling like vomiting and swearing that I’ll never do it again. Good for who’s pregnant, who’s divorced, who’s cheated, who’s ugly without make-up on, and who’s fatter than you thought.
I wonder if I left any out. The thing is, I’d like a better women’s magazine. The kind with interesting stories that are not so PC that they reek of death, yet not so stereotyped that they make you cringe. I don’t mind fashion or beauty tips, they’re all right as long as they’re not the only things there. Tips are great. Why can’t they be more versatile?
Both the men’s magazines and the women’s magazines strengthen the stereotypes that we hold by practically never handing out cleaning tips in men’s mags or car maintenance tips in a woman’s mag. I don’t want to be battered into a target audience mold every single time I open one of these magazines. I’m sure these magazines are the way they are for a reason, and that their target audiences crave just this kind of thing. That’s great for them, liberty of speech and all that.
But wouldn’t a different approach work for thousands, if not millions, of readers? I can’t be the only one who is exhausted with all this excruciatingly prototypical air-brushed femininity.
Any recommendations for me? Are there better magazines, ones that don’t tick all the stereotype boxes? Please let me know in the comments if you’ve got one. I’d love to flick through it on a train sometime.