Last week I had a flick through glamour & immediately remembered why I stopped buying women’s magazines. I felt a rush of anger at the content. Despite nods to feminism (tiny footnote on feminist websites), the magazine continues to be a bastion of incredibly thin women, articles about the calorie content of food & men’s preferences about a variety of issues.
Let’s start with Dawn O’Porter’s column on women in panel shows. She expresses rather unhelpful opinions such as
‘Or a channel is brave enough to commission female- strong panel show where women don’t have to compete with men; the problem will be the same’.
Whilst I’m all for more female strong programming, I strongly reject the suggestion that women will do better when they are not forced to compete with men. Claiming we need men free zones in order to be accomplished is bullshit. Women can hold their own in mixed panel shows the same way they can in any area of life.
O’ porter’s next gem was to declare women as funny as men, but not as competitive, therefore females on panel shows will just sit back & let the men battle out it. Eh, what? Clearly no one has told dawn that attributing emotions & characteristics to a specific gender is sexism. These tired old tropes about the differences between men and women are feeding into our patriarchal society. When women are still telling other women that they aren’t up to playing with the big boys, we have a problem.
Next up, the ’hey, it’s ok’ page. This is basically a list of female gender stereotypes, but hey it’s ok, don’t worry you’re only a woman. This issue contained the following gem,
‘….to have mainlined a coke, small popcorn & cracked into the revels before they’ve even started the film trailers.’
Did you get that? It’s ok to eat. Absolutely fine to make a pig of yourself, well as long as you don’t forget it’s a SMALL popcorn. Girls eat small. Remember that.
If you can bear to read on you will reach an article named ‘pluck what?’ written by Luke Leith. This piece is handily labelled G MEN, just in case you missed the fact that it is written by man. The man in question first gives us a row for casually insulting men’s appearance. I’d suggest that if your partner is talking to you in any of the ways mentioned the issue is not gender based, but related to the fact that you are dating an arsehole. He goes on to give us a little potted history of gender politics in the UK. Apparently we are not-quite-there-but-almost (a sexism free society), phew, what a relief. Which leads him to his big point; all this feminism has hurt men. Men are now sometimes portrayed in an unflattering light in advertising. We women are just too harsh on the poor men folk these days. We must not hurt their feelings. Oh, those poor men. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think objectifying men or labelling them imbeciles is ok. However, the painting of men as victims of sexism is laughable. Reverse sexism isn’t a thing. It doesn’t exist because it is not institutionalised. White, cis, males still overwhelming hold the power in society. When the world is constructed in favour of your sex, sexism is not a discriminatory factor.
We are then presented with a guide on how to approach our partners about them balding, putting on weight o their sartorial choices. This is insulting because it assume that
a/ we care about those things, rather than, you know, loving our partners for who they are.
b/ that we are cruel bitches who would mock a person we supposedly care about
Of course what is most annoying is that a women’s magazine feels the need to employ a man to instruct us.
My next bone of contention is yet another piece by a man. This time Eric Sullivan tells how men feel about our sex toys. Why what men think about what we use to masturbate is even an issue, I don’t know. Eric tells us that when he stumbled upon his girlfriend’s dildo he felt aggrieved; he went so far as to accuse her of cheating on him with a plastic cock. Eric’s girlfriend explained that she wasn’t replacing him. Eric was of course skilled & competent in the bedroom. This made his fragile ego feel a little better. Nevertheless, the only way to make Eric feel completely comfortable was to involve him in the dildo’s use. So, there we have it, women have no right to own their sexuality. We must satisfy all our desires in a manner that does not intimidate men. We must consider how men feel about tools that are designed for our pleasure.
After what seems like a million pages of fashion, make up & advertising this issue ends with ‘dos & don’ts’ a page which congratulates celebs they magazine deems to look good & ridicules those whose clothing choices they do not approve of. Screw the sisterhood, eh?
Besides these troublesome pieces the magazine continues to perpetuate the thin is beautiful myth. There is no sign of anyone who even remotely resembles me. None of the insanely expensive clothes featured would be available in my size; larger women do not exist in glamour world. It is a world that is also predominately white, assumes that everyone is straight & that how we look is our main concern. All this from a magazine that frequently tries to attach itself to feminism, I despair.
Lily Allen Hard out here