Tag Archives: women’s magazines

Yummy Mummy or Boring Bob?

27 Mar

women's magazines

I am at an age where I’m old enough to be someone’s mother. I am actually a mother as I have two kids. What I mean is that I am now old enough to be the mother (maybe even grandmother) of the generation I consider to be ‘young’, the wannabes, the men and women who will be our next future. And that makes me feel old. Listen closely enough and I can sometimes be heard uttering the telling phrase: “Policemen are so young these days”. What’s a girl woman to do when she finds herself at the top of  a slippery slope grabbing on for dear life with her stubby fingernails?

I’m not a big fan of health and beauty magazines aimed at women. They’re very pretty to look at and sometimes even include an interesting feature amidst their trivialisation of women (under the guise of empowerment of course). They have the ability to tweak the love handles and poke the pimples of anyone harbouring a dash of insecurity. One day they could even be the cause of my daughter valuing lipstick over the human race. It was to my horror then that I found myself reaching for the latest issue of the Boots Health & Beauty magazine looking for inspiration and solace. Such depths of self-pity had I reached.

Egged on by the promise of “tiny and oh-so-doable steps” and just the hint of the chance to CHANGE MY LIFE, I stumbled across Louise Kearney whose goal was to “look glam at the school gates”:

“When I drop the kids off at school, the other mums always look so well turned out and cool – I wish I knew their secret! … I’d love to re-invent myself as a yummier mummy, but I’ve got no idea where to start.”

Louise may have been smiling in the photo but it was a desperate cry for help and it struck a chord. My two children are now old enough that I can start to reclaim my body safe in the knowledge that I’m not planning a pregnancy that will come and b*gger it all up again. Like Louise, I will become a school runner from September when my oldest starts to drag me daily into the snake pit that I’m led to believe the school playground to be. Oh clever, clever Boots magazine! Louise could be me. I was practically ripping open the laptop to order the magical products prescribed to cure lovely Louise of her baggy mumsiness.

Most exciting of all was the discovery that I was already halfway there to achieving the status of aged, yet desirable, woman. I have a bob. There was me thinking I had a boring old haircut. But no, look in the mirror again and feel the power of the bob. According to Lord Trevor of Sorbie, Louise’s ‘hair expert’ in the article, a razored bob is the way forward: “Trust me – a shorter style will help turn back the clock”. I trust you Trevor, I trust you.

Content that I now had the tools to be gorgeous, I let my guard down and dipped into the rest of the magazine. Little did I realise that my new found confidence was about to be shaken. On page 24 I received the following slap in the face courtesy of the magazine’s columnist, soon to be 40-year-old (gasp!) Katy Regan:

“Plus I’ll ditch the bob, which my twenty-something make stylist informs me ‘is a look only women over 35 go for these days’!”

Only sad, desperate old women over 35. The bob: the blue-rinse for the 30-something generation. How we’ll laugh at them behind their backs when they ask for a cut a bit more ‘Ann Hathaway’ and we tell them that a bob would much better flatter their face shape. It hides the wrinkles and the jowls, darling. Know thy place.

The world of women’s magazines yet again reveals just how superficial it can be. Whilst I am frightened by the industry’s output and the negative impact it can have on self image, I am even more frightened that there are people (usually women) writing this content and failing to see the hypocrisy of it. Scarier still is if they are producing the content in full knowledge of their influence but are choosing to subjugate any twinges of sisterly solidarity. Of course these magazines have their place and should never be taken too seriously (indeed, I feel I am getting a bit serious here and may need to pause to adjust my blue stockings). But the potential of even the most lightweight and frivolous of magazines to do harm should never be underestimated. Especially by an old duffer with a bob like me.

Advertisements

How to be fabulous

27 May

You’ve been lured in by the title haven’t you? I bet you’ve been drawn into posts and articles like this before. The promise of ‘fabulous’ is very hard to resist. Particularly if you’re a woman. Especially if you’re a woman. Look at the number of magazines women buy that promise the Golden Ticket. (Women’s lifestyle/fashion magazines had a circulation of 6,863,314 at the end of 2011. Source: ABC.)

According to women’s magazines women all want the same: to be fitter, thinner, lovelier, more sexually alluring and successful at work (although on the latter some magazines have yet to be dragged into the 21st century). The sexism inherent in this bothers me. No, I’m not claiming to have noticed anything original. I’m pointing out the bleeding obvious. To become fabulous is to become empowered. Yet where does the power really lie when the yardstick is other women and much of it is to attract men? Seems that the power still sits with those around us, not with ourselves. Depressing really.

So what’s to be done? I suggest we ditch the mags and subscribe to my 3-year-old’s guide to How to be Fabulous. She wisely advises that to be fabulous you must:

  • Be nice.
  • Be good.
  • Listen.
  • Not burn your fingers on the oven.
  • Be a builder.
  • Don’t chop your fingers off with scissors.
  • Not be grumpy (like me apparently – delightful child.)

See, it’s as easy as that. Male or female, fat or thin, young or old, you can ALL be fabulous.*

* The precise amount will depend upon your circumstances and your soul may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments.Due to market fluctuations terms and conditions are subject to change without notice. (You didn’t think it was really going to be that easy did you?)

William's stories

Lots of stories!

@adadcalledspen

Not a journalist or a writer, just a dad to two amazing children. Oh, and I love cheese.

blue milk

thinking + motherhood = feminist

Technology Solved

Hints, tips and tutorials for wordpress and the net at large

Domestic Goddesque

Home life. Home style. Home cooking. Home Exchanging.

Sara Bran

Notes on Gravity

bee & barlie's books

English Children's Books: Writing for other Expat families

Slummy single mummy

FAMILY /// LIFESTYLE /// TRAVEL

Grit & Honey

Women clothed in strength. Your story isn't over yet.

ccstomberg

Random musings

My growing obsession blog

Struggles and successes in a suburban garden

angelbaby

a pro breastfeeding and gentle parenting blog

Style in my City

Fashion, food, lifestyle and culture in St Albans

Fives A Fellowship

One family's journey on the road less travelled

simonsometimessays

...and sometimes he sings it instead

Love All Blogs

the first blog showcasing site and non-profit making, altruistic network that welcomes all bloggers

dorkymum

parenting, photography, politics... and anything else that takes my fancy

Mayfair Mum

Adventures raising a Little Chap and more

SAHDandproud

I'm not a writer, not a journalist. Simply a Stay-At-Home Dad (SAHD) to two amazing children under 3 and a half. I tweet and blog about things that go on during the day and night.

Mammasaurus

A blog by Annie Spratt

Northern Mummy with Southern Children

Tales from a northerner stuck in the south

%d bloggers like this: