I started reading women’s magazines in high school while trying to figure out this makeup thingie. You know, my mum and friends never used makeup and youtube wasn’t around at the time, so I relied on magazines to explain to me all things beauty. And then when I was bored I would read some of the other articles too and for a while I enjoyed it. Then, as time went on, something about these magazines started to irritate me. Actually, a lot of things about these magazines irritate me.
Magazines promote an unhealthy image of beauty
What bothers me the most is that these mags promote a very unhealthy, fake and unattainable image of beauty. Women come in all shapes and sizes and they are all beautiful, yet on these magazines, all of the models, celebs and even normal people are very skinny, wrinkle-free and without any flaws at all. And even though these people don’t look like that at all in real life, mags just photoshop the photos away until a beautiful and healthy woman stops resembling a human being to look like a stupid plastic doll.
The pictures of Faith Hill above are the perfect example of this. On the left, she looks absolutely beautiful. She is a normal size and her face hardly has any imperfections. You’d have to look really closely to see them and even then she still is a very attractive woman. Still, the stupid magazine felt the need to photoshop her. They made her even slimmer and her face is so unnaturally smooth that she looks like she is made of plastic instead than flesh and blood. But because we’re exposed to this kind of image every day and we’re constantly told that’s the way we have to look, normal women have self esteem crisis and feel really bad about themselves. How are they supposed not to when probably even Faith herself would feel inadequate when she compares herself to her fake photoshopped picture?
Most of these images are so manipulated that it’s easy to see they’re fake, but still the message that we have to be skinny and perfect to be happy sticks in our head. In addition, not everyone, especially younger girls who still haven’t learned to use their critical minds, can always distinguish the real images from the fake ones and they believe that celebs naturally look like that. And thinking that’s possible, they can do dangerous things to achieve their ideal or even just spend the rest of their lives feeling miserable about themselves for not being a size 0.
Magazines promote dangerous ways to lose weight
Not only these magazine portray an ideal of beauty that no one can achieve, but they also promote very unhealthy ways to achieve it. In the few months before summer for example magazines have been full of articles on how to achieve the perfect bikini body. And their advice usually includes spending money on expensive cellulite creams that don’t work (and besides, everyone has cellulite, even celebs, so sport yours with confidence) and stupid diets on how to lose several pounds in a couple days or week.
Now the thing about diet is that, unless they were prescribed by a doctor, they can be very dangerous. Losing a lot of weight in a short period of time is never a good idea and not an healthy one. Most diets recommend you avoid carbs, sugars or fats and that’s just stupid cos YOUR BODY NEEDS THEM TO BE HEALTHY! Of course, it needs them in moderation as too much of them can hurt you. Carbs for instance give you energy and eliminating them completely from your diet isn’t healthy. Depriving your body of certain foods can make you feel weak, dizzy, tired all the time and also has dangerous long term effects for your health. If you wanna lose weight, do it in the healthy way. Eat everything in moderation and exercise. It may take months before you get the results you want, but at least you won’t get ill.
Magazines promote plastic surgery, but not its risks
But mags don’t only promote being skinny, they also tells us that ageing is a crime and that we should be wrinkle-free even when we’re 90. Sorry girls, that’s not possible. Wear your sunscreen daily, use creams with antioxidants, eat food rich in antioxidants, don’t smoke and drink in moderation, exercise and you’ll be able to prevent ageing prematurely. But ageing is a natural process that cannot be stopped (unless we die young, and who wants that?). One day wrinkles will start to appear but if you took care of your skin and your body you can prevent some damage and look younger than your age. But you can’t turn back the clock or stop it and look at 70 like you did at 30!
Magazines are constantly promoting expensive creams and cosmetics that are supposed to feature some magical ingredient that’ll work miracles for you but the truth is that most of that stuff is taken directly from press releases and so products are hyped up and their effects exaggerated to get you to buy them. And then there’s plastic surgery, botox and fillers. I don’t care what you think of plastic surgery or botox injections, if you’re pro or against them, as everybody is entitled to their opinions and are free to do what they want with their bodies.
Magazines often talk about the latest cosmetic surgery procedures highlighting how they will make you look younger and they often feature celebrities that have had some work done (although finding some that haven’t these days is not easy). What bothers me is that all of this may lead people to think and believe that plastic surgery is safe, just a routine operation with no side effects. That’s no true. Plastic surgery is just that, surgery, and no type of surgery should be taken lightly.
An operation always has some risks: you could be allergic to anesthesia (and if that happens and you’re alive to tell you’re very lucky), or the doctor may make a mistake (I don’t care how good he is, he’s human and humans make mistakes) or there could be any other kind of complication. The same with fillers. If not done right, you can find your face paralyzed in some weird positions or look like a freak. Not to mention that even if everything goes right, you may not be pleased with the results. Perfection doesn’t exist and a bit of nip and tuck won’t give you that. I’m not saying don’t do plastic surgery. Again, the choice is yours, but please be aware of the risks, don’t take it lightly. And don’t exaggerate, you don’t wanna look like Barbie or a porn actress.
Magazines promote competition between women
Have you noticed that magazines are almost always never supportive of women? Not only they tell you how to look, what to wear, how to act, implying that you’re obviously stupid and can’t do anything without their “precious” advice, but they often slag people off for the way they look. A celeb is a normal healthy weight? They call her fat. Is she too skinny? She has an eating disorder. Isn’t she in shape a couple of weeks after having a baby? She’s called fat and lazy. Has she had plastic surgery? She’s called a freak. Is she 60 and has wrinkles? They crucify her.
Doesn’t matter what you look like, what size are you or if you do exactly what these mags tell you, they’ll always find a way to bring you down and tell you don’t look good enough. And what about those stupid columns about “who wore it best?”. It’s a dress, for goodness’s sake! Who cares if two women are wearing the same dress or who looks better in it! Who cares who’s prettier, who earns more or who has the most handsome boyfriend? It’s not a competition! We should stop comparing each other and slag each other off for silly reasons but start being supportive and stick together instead.
Magazines give stupid advice about relationships
Magazine also like to give stupid advice to women, especially when it comes to men. We are always told how we should dress or act to win the guy we fancy. And once we get the guy, they tell us how to keep him, how we should behave with his friends, how we should please him in bed and out. But what about us or what we want? Well, to be fair they also tell us how to get a rich boyfriend or how to convince him to do what we want but what kind of relationships are these?
You don’t need to dress in a certain way to get a guy and you don’t need to find a way to get him to take you on holiday or propose or whatever. Relationships are hard work and take a lot of compromise and if you have a problem or want something, you should just talk and sort it out, not trick the other person into doing something or pretending to be someone you’re not! And if you do, don’t complain the relationship didn’t last. Jeez, I wonder why?
Magazines feature too many ads
I know that magazines take a lot of money to publish and they need to advertise to cover the costs, but when more than half of the pages are ads and there are barely any articles in them, well, what’s the point of buying that mag at all? We want to be up-to-date with the latest news and trends, read tips and tricks to solve problems we have or read interviews about a celebrity we adore. But what we don’t want is having to reach page 50 for the index and page 80 for the first article! Come on, that’s insane! If you don’t give me anything to read but only lots of pages promoting expensive products I’ll never be able to afford, why should I buy your magazine again?
Magazines promote mostly expensive items
Another pet peeve of mine is that magazines seem to promote mostly expensive items. They tell you that the new Gucci shoes are a must for the season or that you need that Versace bag to look like a certain celeb and then there’s the expensive cream that will make you lose 10 years after you swipe it on once. All those things aren’t must-haves yet they are promoted in such a way that they make you feel a loser if you can’t afford them. They make you think you need to have them to be cool, to be successful in life, to be accepted by your friends.. They become status symbols and if you don’t have them, you’re out.
Magazines need to promote high-end things to have the money to survive and they take their info off the press releases of the brands. And expensive brands need to create a psychological need for you to buy their products. Any dress can cover you so you wouldn’t choose a high-end one unless you believe you’ll be happier, sexier, more glamorous or successful or whatever with it, would you? But the truth is, you don’t need to spend a lot of money on high-end stuff to look good or be happy and I would love to see more stuff I can buy on the pages of magazines instead than items I can only wish I could have one day.
The Bottom Line: Magazines Suck
Ok, that may be a bit too extreme. Not all magazines are bad and in any case, they aren’t the only media to blame. Tv, fashion designers and lots of other people have their faults too. But we can’t change the way the media thinks. We can however, change the way we think. We can educate ourselves and our children not to fall for these traps. We can learn to use our critical minds to distinguish the reality from the fake images and claims we’re bombarded with everyday and we can stop buying magazine, watch Tv shows and ignore all the other things that make us feel bad and inadequate about ourselves. There’s more to us than looks and we should learn to rely on our brains and personalities instead.
What do you think about magazines?