In several recent interviews I’ve been asked a similar question: Why are women still buying chick slicks if we know they contain such negative messaging about beauty, dieting, aging, and sex and are crammed with airbrushed images of women, with whom we should never compare ourselves.
It’s a great question and one that I can only answer speculatively. Here are some theories:
We Overlook the Negatives
Do women just overlook the negative messaging that makes them feel badly about themselves? Women may still be gun-ho for the chicken recipes, the craft ideas, the interior décor advice or some of the other informative articles, therefore they blow right by the images and the content that doesn’t resonate with them or makes them feel inferior.
We Ignore Disparaging Content
Have women turned a blind eye to disparaging content? Maybe we’ve become so accustomed to the underlying negatives in the glossies that we’re aloof. You know, the way you get a snack, go to the bathroom, let the dog out or check out what else is on Television during a commercial break, so that after a while the commercials become a non-issue because you don’t even pay attention to them anyway. Maybe women don’t pay attention to the content that strips their sense of self-worth.
Are women’s magazines just a part of our cultural lexicon? Perhaps reading your favorite glossy every month whether it’s in a lounge chair, at the doctor’s office or in bed under a cozy comforter is a rite of passage the way we read Nancy Drew with a flashlight or ran out for the latest Harry Potter volume—it’s ingrained in our psyche to take delight in the scented silken pages of the chick slicks since they are still like a giant helping of non-edible comfort food. It’s just the way it is.
We Look for the Good
Are we just looking for all the good within the pages? I for one still have a love/hate relationship with the glossies and am always searching for those that get it right. Maybe you are, too. Some months there are real women who inspire me to do and be more, excellent journalism in stories as diverse as the latest health, social and political issues, or celebrity interviews that dig deeper that than the celeb’s fave lip gloss. We can still find those stories buried occasionally between the ad-thick content of the glossies. Are you looking?
Why do you read them, if you do? Do you subscribe to your favorite? Do you still love nothing better than cracking open the crinkly pages as a form of inspiration, ideas, aspiration, advice, humor, fluff, information or entertainment? Is it a mindless read or does it mean more?
Drop me a line and tell me why you read a woman’s magazine and which one. I’ll randomly select one winner from the commenters and send you a free copy of Airbrushed Nation: The Lure & Loathing of Women’s Magazines (Seal Press).