Saturday, 30 June 2012

#Closer

My attitude towards women's magazines changed a couple of years ago. I was scanning through a magazine my sister had left about the house when one particular article offended me. The article was suggesting tanning products that you could use, however the blurb that was written for the piece suggested that being pale for summer was not socially acceptable. As someone who wears little makeup and does not see the point of tanning products, especially when we all know how fake and dodgy some tans look (reference: Snog Marry Avoid), I was fairly offended that they were suggesting I would be a social outcast for not using these products.


 I write this after as I was informed how Photoshopped some celebrity pictures are in the magazines, such as when Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were first 'dating'. There were no photographic evidence, however magazines were creating their own images of the pair together, by digitally imposing one of them next to the other. Shameful and disgusting.

Guardian journalist,Julian Norman has written an insight into her response to the trashy weekly magazines that are infested with absurd articles. It is so good to be able to read someone's analysis and relate to the analysis as I have recognised the points that she raises for many years. On a rainy afternoon, Julian read a discarded magazine whilst traveling on a bus and her analysis of the magazines are an interesting insight, especially if you have never considered what you are actually reading.

" Almost all of the stories could be boiled down to 140 characters, so I began to tweet it with the hashtag #Closer. Kerry is a size 10–12 and so she had weight loss surgery. Now she's "ecstatic with her new body" was a typical tweet. Taken together, they are a fabulous collection of absurdism. "

An interesting observation Julian made is that the articles in the magazines "can be categorised into roughly three groups: bodies, food and relationships." This I was familiar with, as More! describes itself as a magazine about 'men, sex and relationships' with a bit of fashion on the side too.

"In bodies, we learn that the ideal size to be is an 8. Women who fall below that size are said to be "gaunt", and are usually mourning the end of a relationship. A 10 is acceptable but usually prefaced with the word "curvy", as in "Amelia is a curvy size 10." " These magazines criticise female celebrities, down to the smallest strechmark, spot or sweat patch. To be in the spotlight is to make yourself vulnerable to these magazines and newspapers.


"Bodies intersect neatly with food. Carbohydrates are generally considered a bad thing..." is one thing, and then there is the inevitability that a woman gets pregnant. "We're told approvingly that one woman was back to a size 6 two weeks after the birth. Women who don't lose the weight quickly will "admit" to losing it slowly, and again these horrible "pals" will be quoted saying that the woman in question is distraught by the weight and hint darkly at depression. With friends like that, eh?"
The magazines that line our shelves are bitchier than what we realise and may even subtly enforce paranoia about the way we present ourselves, what we eat and other socially unacceptable behaviour.

Go read the article. It is a great analysis of the magazines that line the shelves in newsagents, supermarkets and corner shops that we often pick up on a whim and become trash within hours. And one final noteworthy point from Julian;

"How is any woman supposed to love her body (as the advice columns tell her to) when she's just read 90 pages about how women thinner than her cry themselves to sleep over their disgusting, flabby, fat figures? "

Links
Julian Norman on Twitter
Other Magazine Related Blogs by myself including women portrayal and their content.

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