One of my livejournal friends, shaysdays, had a wonderful post today, and I was generously granted her permission to post it here.
My first issue of "Good Housekeeping" arrived today. It's a gift from my mom- a whole year of the magazine she says I always flip through at her house. I probably do, but that's because I read like people watch TV- if it's there, I will look at it.
There is something vaguely creepy about this magazine. Creepy besides Dr Phil snuggling his rather diamond-bedecked wife while offering marriage advice. Let me give you the headlines:
The Makeover Issue- 122 Quick Changes for your health, body, home and happiness
Lose 30+ lbs Without Trying 9 Easy Food Changes
Save $100s on heating bills (and stay cozy)
ReDo a Room in 48 Hours On The Cheap
Look 5 Years Younger, Fast! No Diet, No Surgery
Dr Phil and Robin Share 5 Secrets of Happy Couples (Yes, you can fall in love again!)
In other words- you can totally be someone better, thinner, younger, and more organized... without any investment of real time or effort.
But well, it was a present. And so I sat down to read it.
Every article is telling yoiu you're not _____ enough, or that you need to ______. As a matter of fact, I wouldn't really call them articles, for the most part. They're bossy advice pieces.This magazine is so insidiously horrible I'm amazed women don't burn it in effigy so they don't have to actually touch one.
This is a direct quote from "5 years younger:"
Look closer- who's that lurking under all those dark, shapeless layers? "It's sort of an unwritten rule in New York that you wear black," says Linda, and this self-described utilitarian is totally with the program (we didn't try to talk her out of it- just persuaded her her to go for a tp with a little more shape, opposite). More colorphobia: she never wanted to cover her gray hairs, even though they made her mane frizzy and unmanageable, and had never been big on color cosmetics, tending to leave her beautiful face bare."
Y'ALL I AM SMACKING MY HEAD AGAINST THE PIANO. (I moved the computer to on top of the piano for Superbowl.)
Let me reword that paragraph the way it plays in my head:
Who's that frumpy little thing? Awww... look! You picked up one style trend, let's work with that so it looks like you're actually dictating things. Now, that streak of gray hair in front you've got? That's making your hair unmanageable. It's not that you have naturally curly hair. (Let's straighten that, which takes about 10 minutes, add some hair color, that's an hour and half every few weeks) Also, we'll give you props for having a beautiful face, but no makeup? That is a crime against nature (and our advertisers) so let's slap some pigment on your beautiful (BARE!) face.
Seriously, this magazine is like an abusive boyfriend- it gives you just enough compliments to build you up, then with the other hand, whallops you with diet, 'fashion' tips to 'minimize your figure,' and a healthy helping of, "relationships, home, and children are pretty much all on you." At least Cosmo has the decency to give tips on orgasms. The closest thing to sex here is a note about their new (online) sex columnist talking about how she'd rather have a good night's sleep than sex.
NEXT MONTH IN GOOD HOUSEKEEPING: How to vacuum in pearls.
Okay, it's not all bad- I found three things I like. One, is a nice picture of Jaimie Lee Curtis with a haircut I'm going to steal. (A gray haircut, by the way! How they didn't airbrush it blonde is beyond me) A recipe for Balsamic Chicken and Pears that looks really good. And there was a piece on how to stop procrastinating, which, although it didn't actually include the phrase, "Limit Livejournal Time," was still relevant to my interests.
So I don't think I'll cancel the subscription. I'm sure my mom meant well. I just can't help but be angry that Cosmo gets blamed for making women hate their bodies and change their lives to fit some gender construct, when they're not actually giving you tips on how and why to do it- all these housekeeping magazines seem to be less about the house and more about the keeping- a man, your 'figure,' your sanity,' and most importantly- your status quo.