Here is a sampling of recent women’s magazine articles (print and online):
(Diet Tips) Six Ways To Make Your Bikini Your Bitch
(Sex Tips) Leg Sex: It’s a Thing
(Beauty Tips) Are You Applying Your Skincare All Wrong?
(Celebrity-Inspired Tips) Nicole vs Anne in The Battle of Bleached Hair- Who Wore It Best?
(Celebrity-Inspired Tips) Gatsby-Inspired Accessories
(Beauty Tips) Four No-Heat Hairstyles to Try
(Beauty Tips) Beauty Awards (article about the best beauty products picked by a panel of judges)
(Celebrity-Inspired Tips) Met Gala Red Carpet
(Diet Tips) Workout Trend Alert: Everybody Dance Now
(Sex Tips) Spice Up Your Love Life!
(Celebrity-Inspired Tips) There’s Something About Kerry (article idolizing actress Kerry Washington)
(Beauty Tips) Get Healthier Hair Now
(Beauty Tips) Makeup to Look More Awake
(Sex Tips) Numbers Game: Sex With Younger Men
(Diet Tips) Three Weeks to a Bikini Body!
(Celebrity-Inspired Tips) 7 Celebrity-Inspired Ways to Update Your Office Wardrobe for Spring
(Celebrity-Inspired Tips) 25 Celebrity Haircuts That’ll Make You Want Bangs
(Sex Tips) 30 Sex Tips Every Woman Should Consider Before Age 30
(Diet and Workout Tips) The 7-Minute Full-Body Workout That Really Works (It’s Scientifically Proven!)
Are you noticing a pattern?
Every single month, every one of these magazines seem to say the exact same things. Nearly all magazines marketed to women have content that fall into these categories:
All of the above titles offer tons of “really helpful” advice on how to lose weight. But have you noticed that the celebs on the covers of these magazines often say during interviews that they employ the aid of special trainers to lose weight? How can someone who has a special personal trainer (and often personal chefs, too) give workout advice to the readers of these article, many of whom simply cannot afford such resources? Aside from these tips not being feasible expense-wise for the average reader, they are also absurdly time and energy consuming. Some female celebs claim they work out 5 or 6 days a week for hours a day- would you really want to live like that? And even if that desired weight loss was achieved, would you look back and say it was worth it?
Still, there is an even bigger problem here- that weight loss tips are being given at all. The writers of these magazines are really communicating that you shouldn’t be happy with your looks right now. Any doctor will tell you that if you’re morbidly obese, have high cholesterol, or any other serious health problem brought on or exacerbated by your weight, you should do something about it. Aside from that, you don’t need to diet or work yourself out to death to achieve the perfect figure- not only is that unrealistic, but when you fail in your quest to look like a celebrity after all your hard work, you’ll only feel like you’ve failed.
The fact that women’s magazines tend to feature sex tips is part of a bigger problem as well, highlighted aptly in an article on ABC News online:
“First came the G-spot, then multiple climax and spiritual tantric sex. The modern woman is not only expected to be a good mother and a professional success, but some believe she needs to behave like a porn star in the bedroom.”
It would be great if articles like “30 Sex Tips Every Woman Should Consider Before Age 30” really helped women enjoy sex more, but they don’t because they fail to address concerns real women have. For instance, several studies say that many women find sex painful- a study done by WomensHealth.about.com reports that two-thirds of women say they sometimes experience pain during or after sexual intercourse. In another study cited by PsychCentral.com, only about 47 percent of young women have an orgasm during sex. What’s more, medical professionals always suggest that a woman suffering from sexual problems seek the counsel of a doctor trained in such matters, not a magazine.
Another craze of the magazine world is beauty tips, usually consisting of advice on how to improve your hair, skin, and any other body part. Articles such as “Get Healthier Hair Now” are meant to point out a woman’s flaws to herself, then persuade her to buy a new product featured in a magazine that offers an easy fix for the flaws. All this just ends in fruitless searches through shampoo, skin care, and makeup aisles looking for the perfect product few ever find. Indeed, if there were a perfect product, say, an anti-frizz gel that actually works, the search would be over and there’d be no reason to read such articles.
These article tend to follow the same pattern as beauty articles, but with one difference- they not only point out what’s wrong with you, but plaster pictures of celebrities on their covers that seemingly have nothing wrong with them.
Oh, celebrities have plenty wrong, but have professional makeup artists, hair and clothing stylists, dietitians and trainers that are payed to hide every flaw. What sense does it make, then, to stare at a picture of Kerry Washington (above) and use her looks as your goal? The magic of Photoshop helps, too, for quick adjustments that makeup and hair people can’t fix. Watch the two YouTube videos I posted a few weeks ago, Celebrity Images Photoshopped and Celebrities Before and After Photoshop, and you’ll see what I mean.
The bottom line is this- when we buy these magazines, we are wasting our time and money. We only buy them because we think we need them- and we think we need them because they tell us we do. How about we break the cycle?