Monday, April 9, 2012

What do we want? Let the magazines tell us!!

What particularly intrigued me in Gill’s section on gender and magazines was how as women the smallest details of our lives are shaped by what we read in popular magazines. The amount we spend on beauty products is positively correlated to those advertisements in magazines that promise us an enhancement of a feature that we dislike about our bodies. The way we deal with fitness in our lives is also tied to the latest diets that are promoted in magazines. Even the way we define ourselves is tied to magazines. The magazines tell us what to wear, what to eat, how to flirt and even how to act in the bedroom. “ A girl’s agency is then defined in terms of buying things” (187)

They sell this ideal fantasy, where if you eat what they say and flirt with the tips they have provided that you will gain this perfect life. They seem to categorize woman into boxes of wanting to be thin, wanting to be in a relationship (if not married) and wanting to be the trendiest person and as also wanting to be successful at her career. Is that all a woman really wants? ( for eg, how should you wear your hair today?) . Popular magazines for a large part are also clearly heterosexist and cater to the white upper middle class population. They also tend to suggest that all women have the same kind of problems. However, we know this is not true, women often find themselves struggling with more serious issues.Gill addresses how magazines often do not deal with systems of inequality or complexities of sexuality but often provide answers for more immediate and trivial problems.

.If we look at magazines that do look at issues of privilege and oppression and the more serious matters, we will often find that they are not as mainstream as magazines such as cosmopolitan or marie claire. Is it necessary then for us to divide magazines up into categories such as advice on sex and relationship and shopping : cosmopolitan, real issues :salon , bitch magazine etc. Would it be too much to ask for one magazine to have everything?

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