The other day I looked around my cluttered South End apartment and cried “Uncle”. I need to stream line; cluttered space- cluttered mind and all that…  First up, the stacks of publications in various piles, mostly unread. I have subscriptions to several publications right now. Among them: Elle Decor, Lucky, Harper’s Bazzare, Fitness, and Ad Age. The only one that I really read is Ad Age. Elle Decor and Lucky I thumb through and read a few articles. Bazzare and Fitness usually get put in a pile and forgotten about, Fitness with good intentions, Bazzare with ambivalence. So I hauled them all out and began the task of thumbing through them to see if there were any pages I wanted to keep for later. Twenty minutes later I did the unthinkable; I picked up all of the fashion magazines and chucked them into the recycling bin. You see, after thumbing through a few of the lady mags, you start to notice a disturbing trend. Beautiful expensive things- that I probably will never need and can’t really afford, beautiful expensive people- who are supposed to inspire and delight but frankly often fall short, and a real lack of content. Try and find an interesting or compelling article in a Women’s Fashion Magazine these days.

I started to wonder where my sudden lack of interest stemmed from. Did I just age out of an important demographic? No. Do I not care about fashion anymore? No, I don’t think so. Boston isn’t the most fashionable city, but I still can and do enjoy pulling it all together for a great night out. I think perhaps I just don’t like the way these magazines make me feel about myself anymore. That I am not wealthy enough, not thin enough, not beautiful enough. There is a long history of research into the subject of lowered self esteem and the role women’s magazines play in that and I’ve read a lot of it. I grew up quoting Naomi Wolfe’s Beauty Myth, Gloria Steinem’s Revolutions From Within, and check Jezebel’s content daily, it’s usually a bit too snarky and superior for my taste, but has a feminist bend and decent fashion content as well. All of the reasons Lady Mags aren’t so great for your self image are well documented:  the air brushing, photoshopping, styling that makes sense on a photo shoot- but try wearing that out in public and see how many block you get…

Maybe I did age out, or maybe I’ve just grown up. Or maybe I just like myself more now. I’m not saying I’m done with Lady Mags for good. But I don’t intend to renew my subscriptions when they expire.  I think I’ll enjoy them the same way I enjoy the tabloids- at the gym-on the treadmill during my warm up and cool down and then thoughtlessly tossed back in the magazine holder for someone else to recycle. Which really, is the most enjoyable way to enjoy your daily smut intake.

One Response

  1. Good for you. Did the same (different set of magazines) a few years ago. I do have electronic subscriptions to things I read and resource as archives online. Also just went through a major book purge, for the same reasons. Simpler is better. Ken

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