Saturday, February 6, 2010

Loco Lady Living

You want politically correct? Check back tomorrow. Probably I'll be back on track. Today, no.

False Counsel
Although I completely know that a woman can think as well and as logically as a man, I also know women operate under a terrible external handicap. That handicap is disguised as an Aid to our Nurturing Side. This Nurturing Side is frequently confused with our Decorative Side. I wish this Aid catered to our Reasoning Side. I am speaking of women's magazines.

For women, this post hopes to make you more critical readers. For men, it is to reveal the conspiracy, seemingly harmless, that is making the Decorative And Nurturing women in your personal life act out of character. You are not supposed to objectify women, but treat them as human beings with wants and needs and brains. That said, then how come it randomly seems so damn necessary to edge back and go hmmmm?

I think the discourse of women's magazines and its bent truisms have planted themselves in daily conversation. They are the culprits who have been objectifying women, and they come from both sexes.

Instead of furthering logic, advancement, decorativeness and nurturing capabilities, these magazines make women worry and suffer needlessly. In my continual campaign (not just for the emancipation of women, but for better discourse for all) I offer the following examples:

The Ladies' Good Housekeeper Home Day Magazines
If you can't figure out which three magazines I mean, you are blessed. Just check at Grandma's house.
In these magazines, there will be:
1. one article that proclaims how easy it is to lose weight, as opposed to
sixteen articles that show you how to make food containing a lot of cheese, sugar and/or cake mix
2. one article that helps you tighten your budget, as opposed to
 five articles that show you something you must buy, unnecessary, for under $299
3. one article that tells you why you should not run to the doctor blindly,
as opposed to one article that sends you to the doctor for some highly-unlikely disease.

The purpose of these magazines: to glorify a good domestic life by making the homemaker use more prepared foods, feel bad about her body/capabilities, be suspicious of her doctor yet hypochondriac, spend on crazy shit yet balance the checkbook.  It is an old tradition and a bad one.

Crafty Magazines
Men have these too. Both sexes shop toward 'possibilities' (e.g., big piles of fabric or scrapbooking paper; extra sheets of plywood on sale for building birdhouses next spring)
The difference has always been that magazines targeting women typically offer decorative crafts in the articles and inadequate tools in advertisements (economy glue guns, plastic sewing machines, edge-cutters that only cut one inch at a time), while the men's offer a mix of both decorative and substantive projects. Their ads feature bigger better tools that specialize in one function each. The tools recommended for a ladies' project will rarely give a good result.

Both sexes are equally swayed by advertisers, with two results. Result no. 1: men buy industrial-grade tools when they don't need them (over-investment); women buy crap tools because they never see industrial grade (under-investment).
Result no 2: women take up craft space with supplies (unfinished production). Men take up craft space with tools (spare capacity). Thus we perpetuate the stereotypes.

Women's Fashion/Advice magazines
They always have a fake poll: men prefer orange lingerie over any color, men don't like hair spray, etc. Then they go on to show you hair fashions that will require hair spray and no orange lingerie anywhere-- This is like the logic disconnect in the domestic magazines above, but with a different subject matter. (You will also note that there is no poll on what kind of lingerie women prefer: the answer? the lace should not be scratchy and the teddy should be long-waisted enough so that the wearer may straighten her backbone.)

But these magazines also add a significant bait-and-switch. The feature lines on the cover promise you a remedy that no article in the table of contents appears to address. A reader will ruin her manicure trying to find it. The dissatisfaction she feels will spread to other aspects of the magazine (why can't I have hair like that, a man like that, a manicure that lasts through a magazine.) This frustration-induction will cause the reader to buy a better hairspray or whatever, (although, men don't like it but somehow respond to it? according to mag)--thus making them perpetually dissatisfied--because they never fully realize the root cause of the dissatisfaction is an false promise on the cover.

Men's Porn Magazines/Home Decor Magazines
Men's porn shares characteristics with other magazines, but especially Home Decorating magazines. Mostly a reader should remember Wrestling: a lot of effort is expended to make the fake look real.  Thus lamps without power cords sit on gorgeous tables, unable to shed light or display any capacity beyond appearance. They are not representative of a functioning life: a lamp cannot go Anywhere, it needs a power source. Babes may actually prefer flannel pajamas. But hey, the stripped-down appearance is way fun to look at.

In mainstream porn, there are a lot of shills involved to help the scam: the "Letters to the Editor' for instance. "I am a hippie so Thank You smutmag for showing a natural woman last November" or similar. So these magazines are equally scams. But these are not the magazines that generally are messing with the logic. It's the supposedly meaningful, helpful b.s. that I believe is stopping women in their tracks.

It is also my impression that men's porn magazines always deliver inside what they say they will on the outside. If the cover feature line says that "Sarah P. bares all", she will be there--either a political interview w/photo in low cut mini-dress, or, in centerfold booty few words, if she's some other Sarah P.

Women's magazines of any category do not offer the same certainty. However deplorable someone may find that certainty to be, I think inducing schizophrenia and planting scenarios that must inevitably fail are much, much worse.

Well. Be miserable no more--


Books of the World said...

So true, so true, so true....sadly, so true. You should forward this post to those magizines. No worries about being politically correct, you hit the nail right on the head. Take a bow, or curtsie, you deserve an encore. Thank you for the accurate post.

The Bug said...

I recently decided to let all my magazine subscriptions lapse - not that I had a ton of them. Of the three I'm still getting I actually think that two of them mostly deliver what they advertise - Weight Watchers magazine (if you didn't want to lose weight before reading the magazine it will inspire you to do so after reading it) and Weeder's Digest (a small NC publication with mostly hilarious essays about gardening). The third magazine? Self - and I am getting tired of reading about a new way to please my man (or myself) in bed each month.

Who has time for magazines anyway, with all of these blogs to be read LOL?

Ann T. said...

Dear MBB and The Bug,
Thanks for writing in! For both of you, I think I have the same response. It is,
They don't care whether we like it or not. They make more money on advertisers. Subscriber loyalty seems to be second.

I know it makes no sense, but,
There it is. I even think the articles are on the automatic.

"Jane, 26, had a problem with Brad. It seemed that Brad . . . ."

Weeder's Digest sounds great.

Thanks for writing in! Good to know i'm not the only one disgusted.
Ann T.

Slamdunk said...

Ann T.: Your rants are well developed and entertaining to read.

I could not guess how you would relate budgeting, non-functional lamps, and men's porn in a single post, but you did.


The Observer said...

Ann T

What a wonderful post! I always thought the women's magazines show the impossible image of a woman--and women's lib didn't make it better! Now the woman has to bring home the bacon and fry it too, looking like Halle Berry and cooking like Martha Stewart. I never thought of the men's crafty mags the same way; they always seemed much more useful then the women's stuff. (So much of the time, men's stuff seems more useful then women's stuff: why are there NEVER pockets in women's trousers or skirts? Why aren't women's clothes created in different inseams for women with different heights?) Somehow, even though still fantasy and exploitive in many ways, the media geared towards men seems more substantial.

The Observer

PS: While thinking on this reply I got in "trouble" in the local B&N. The resulting rant is on the blog.

PSS: word verification for this: "eretica" Who invents these things?

Ann T. said...

Dear Slamdunk,
Stick with me, and you'll be completely lost in the 'everything goes together somehow' realm of life! When I'm not totally confused by it, I'm generally very happy. LOL.

Dear The Observer,
The most important thing about Martha is not that she's brilliant, mean, or an ex-con, but that she has STAFF. Once you remember that, it all falls into place.

As to pockets, we do not have them in order to support the trillion-dollar handbag industry. That industry is also supported by the slimness fetish, since we do not want to add cargo to our hips and seat.

Some day men will lose their pockets after they overwhelmingly support the man-bag industry. It will be a revenge of sorts, except far off . . . perhaps it will also involve cosmetics for men, (oh, back to the all fits everywhere ). . .

Thanks for writing in!
Ann T.

Bob G. said...

All this is so very true.

Methinks there is a curious, yet diabolical duplicity at work here...about all these publications.

You've presented some of the most brilliant observations I've heard in a LONG time...
They're ALL out to get "us"...LOL.

Marvelously well delivered.
Thank you!

Ann T. said...

Dear Bob G.,
Glad you wrote in! They can't call us paranoid when they really are out to get us!
Ann T.