I’ve always wanted to write for a magazine. I grew up reading women’s magazines in the hopes of finding womanly advice I am still so desperately in search for, since my mother passed away right before high school started.
It only made sense that I turned to these magazines for insight. I’ve grown up standing in lines next to beautifully glossy covers with gorgeous women covered with tell-all secrets to help me aspire to the ideal life. A life of beauty, glamor, poise, and perfection. Page after page, I read them longing to be a part of all of it someday. These magazines taught me how to dress, how to apply makeup and incorporate certain lifestyle choices that were supposed to make me feel beautiful.
To a certain degree, I do believe magazines can help you do so—but only up until the point they become something that is more detrimental than a source of entertainment. If these magazines aren’t intended to be read as fiction, why do they illustrate very unattainable concepts that, if taken the wrong way, can brainwash people for the worse?
I really do believe and hope that the mission most magazines strive for is to empower women, not sensationalize unattainable beings. But at the end of an issue, it’s so easy to feel even more insecure. I find myself reading between the lines of “how to feel beautiful” and taking it as I’m not beautiful or important enough.
Nothing quite represents this juxtaposition to me than seeing a trending Tumblr image of a fake cover elucidating the ugly truths behind these women’s magazine’s pretty lies. All of a sudden, it seemed that this life I originally wanted so badly was, in actuality, a lifestyle that portrays anything but beauty, glamor, poise, and perfection. And I couldn’t help but ask myself: Do I really want to be in a business that reverts women to their lowest common denominators?
We may think that we have evolved past the days of women being labeled and categorized, but these magazines are starting to prove that we’re just being put into different boxes. We may no longer read about how we need to have a meal on the table and a high-ball in hand when our man walks in the door, but it’s the same story, just a new decade, isn’t it? How much different is it from a woman’s place is to cook and clean than to be the best possible sex partner for your man? Or to dictate that we are nothing but a throbbing sex drive and self-consciously obsessive about our weight?
There shouldn’t be anything wrong with reaching out to these magazines as a source for advice. That’s why I wanted to pursue this industry in the first place. But if their advice has left society lowering my status, importance, and significance as a woman and human being worthy of dignity and autonomy instead of lifting me up and empowering me to be the best I can… why would I ever find myself wanting to be a part of something like that?