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Women’s magazines and their terrible messages

June 30, 2014

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Weight LossFat HealthExerciseMy Boring-Ass LifeDickweedDiet Talk

Trigger warning: Mention of dieting and weight-loss.

I’m not a fan of women’s lifestyle magazines. They were something I only to read while in a doctor’s waiting room or during my lunch break at work. The majority of them regurgitate the same topics every month, but are re-worded to sound fresh and different, and almost all of them have no qualms about heaping a load of gender and body shame onto its readers. A true and honest mainstream woman’s magazine would actually look like this:

They keep recycling the same messages: you’re not thin enough; you’re not hot enough; you’re not pleasing your man enough (just men — apparently lesbians don’t read); you’re pathetic if you’re single and not dating; and we always have to put pretty, thin female celebrities on these things so they’ll sell, but we’ll still Photoshop them to make them even prettier and thinner.

My biggest pet peeve about these magazines is they will showcase page after page of delicious-looking food and give you the recipes, but at the same time tell you how to cut calories or how to keep yourself from eating. So that beautiful cake you’d like to bake or that delicious meal that will feed your family of four? Don’t eat a bite or you’ll *GASP* gain weight and get fat! But don’t worry though, we have that latest fad diet and exercise plan to help you burn it off and drop six dress sizes by the weekend!

Think I’m exaggerating? Take a gander at these real covers and clippings:

Well, looky here, it’s Dr. Oz, who’s in serious trouble for peddling and attaching his name to whatever diet or weight loss product is out there. And notice that cake on the upper left corner—you can make it but don’t dare eat a slice!

Women’s World loves Dr. Oz. Here he has a solution for cellulite. And another cake at the top right corner, right above headlines for anti-aging and how to melt belly fat.

Redbook was shaming women even back in 1993 when it came to sex and food, and they have the queen of self-shame on their cover, Kirstie Alley. I’m not sure if they were Photoshopping back then but these older covers look a lot better than today’s.

Holy crap, did MeMe Roth write this?

I know there are a lot of women who enjoy reading Cosmo, Glamour, Allure, Redbook, Marie Claire, and the like, but for myself, I need to keep my sanity. We are bombarded with terrible messages of self-hate and body shame by the media every single day and if I can eliminate at least one of the sources I know I will feel a lot better mentally and emotionally.

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. vesta44 permalink
    June 30, 2014 2:08 pm

    Looks like Woman’s World even photo-shopped Dr Oz thinner on that second cover – or maybe he’s been partaking of all of those “miracle” cures he’s so fond of touting on his show. . . .

  2. Dizzyd permalink
    June 30, 2014 3:53 pm

    That “Overanalyzing” magazine mockup was HILARIOUS!!! Especially “SEX Again? What are you – an alley cat?” Or the one: “I Had To Pay For My Own Drink: One Woman’s Horror”. Oh, the poor thing! Quick sisters, get some of that zero-calorie Greek yogurt served by John Stamos on a silk pillow! Or the one about needing sex so bad you’d blow a baboon. I guess that’s what they see women as – oversexed worrywarts who starve themselves so guys will want them so they can get that sex…

    And you’re right! I noticed it especially with Woman’s World – they have a BIIIIG banner across the front touting the latest “this time for sure!” miracle diet, usually with Dr. “I’ll-Sell-Anything-for-Money-cuz-I’m-Shameless” Oz, smiling that creepy smile of his, and on the same cover, they’ll have this decadent chocolate cake which is to DIE for!!! and yet you better not have a piece cuz then you’ll become a Fat Fat Fatty McFatterson and nobody will love you!! and other such BS. And the icing on the whole frickin’ cake? Right above the magazine title they gush “God Bless America!”

  3. June 30, 2014 4:22 pm

    When I see woman’s day I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. I work in a grocery store so I so all those everything to walk to my dept. The latest issues is the worst I’ve seen yet.

  4. LittleBigGirl permalink
    June 30, 2014 4:44 pm

    My mother used to get “Prevention” magazine. It was very health focused, and a bit self-help-ish and new agey. They were big on organic, natural and other such buzzwords before they became everyone else’s. They were like the hipster health mag I suppose. They published books about antioxidents and how to care for your garden without pesticides.
    I liked most of what they talked about…until I noticed all the women on the cover were ridiculously thin and fit and tan (yet always Caucasian) and smiling ultrawhite smiles. I actually got so sick of it (and their “fat burning” workouts) that I emailed them about it. They sent back some bullshit towing that line about “that’s what our audience wants to see” sprinkled liberally with a tone of “we don’t give a crap about your opinion.”
    So yeah, I don’t read them anymore.
    Also don’t get me started on women’s “fitness” magazines. Actually I keep seeing really annoying stories on the cover of this one, I may have start researching those…*shudder*

    Also I want to give a shout out to the now dead “BBW” magazine. While they existed they were awesome – I first saw the Venus of Willendorf within their pages. Very body positive. I miss them so. 😦

  5. June 30, 2014 4:51 pm

    I avoid reading these magazines like the plaque, to me it’s just part of the patriarchal oppression of women. These magazines have you believing that if you are flawed in any way then you aren’t perfect. I honestly think it’s a conspiracy that women are told to feel like this about themselves because this is how people that are in the weight loss and beauty industries make money, not to mention psychologists.

  6. June 30, 2014 10:13 pm

    Fitness magazines aren’t any better….they did the “fitspo” thing before it was popular 😛 I used to read them for exercise ideas, tips, and technique, but got so sick of the women’s magazine crap that I don’t even bother.

  7. Duckie permalink
    July 1, 2014 4:00 am

    The best fashion mag ever and the only one worth reading that I know of: Vol Up 2! http://www.volup2.com/ Thanks to Velvet D’Amour!

  8. Jennifer Hansen permalink
    July 1, 2014 9:12 pm

    My “favorite” factoid about Woman’s World: The diet of the week in one issue called for eating an extremely low amount of calories for a month. The same issue published an article about hair loss that warned against eating that amount consistently because it makes people’s hair fall out!

  9. July 2, 2014 11:38 am

    If you look at women’s mags from earlier times, it was the same deal. I have several 1950s-60s Low-Cal cookbooks that helpfully instruct the homemaker on how to “edit” down a single portion of her family’s tasty foods so that they are virtuous enough for her.

    So it’s, “Bake that delicious pie and slather it with ice cream for THEM! YOU will get to Heaven only by eating that sad baked apple doused in saccharine!”

    Think of those ads in the 1970s that showed the angelic housewife bravely nibbling a diet bar or sipping a diet shake while the family around her all got real dinners that she prepared herself.

    It’s no wonder that so many of us almost lose our damn minds over what to eat/cook at dinnertime. Bah!

  10. July 2, 2014 3:32 pm

    Wow, that last bit of advice pictured about keeping a photo of yourself you dislike in front while you eat? That’s…I mean that’s basically something I’d expect to see on a pro-ana or pro-mia site. It’s basically instructions on how to give yourself an eating disorder.

    Also whenever I’m in the grocery store my husband has to stop me from setting these magazines on fire. I loathe them that much.

  11. July 10, 2014 5:23 pm

    Reblogged this on The Cheese Whines and commented:
    I’m embarrassed to admit that for most of my life I was a consumer of these rags, always trying the latest Women’s World fad diet, only to fall back into the spiral of self-hate when I inevitably “failed” yet again.
    I guess I’m a horrible person, but I can’t help but gloat about the fact that their poster boy, Dr. Oz, is up shit creek.

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