Saturday, August 6, 2011

Are they for us or against us?

As a mother of daughters, I felt that there were many more things to teach them besides the usual be nice; use your manners; be fair, honest, loyal; blahblahblah—the common things everyone teaches their children. When raising daughters, there are added lessons to be taught.

I am an avid reader of skirt! Magazine. I read it from cover to cover and then I cut it up and make scrapbook pages for the lovelies’ scrapbooks. I enjoy the magazine because they seem to stand for many of the same things that I spent all these years teaching my daughters. Life lessons such as stand up for yourself; appreciate your female ancestry for the hardships they willingly and bravely faced so that you wouldn’t have to; learn all that you can about everything; let your actions reflect your independent thinking; don’t settle because settling is giving up; challenge yourself every day; challenge authority instead of blindly following; be willing to be spontaneous; find the humor in every situation and laugh out loud; accept challenges head on; take a risk; believe in yourself; be a student of life; find your own path and invite a man to travel it with you ONLY if you want him there not because society dictates it… etc.

I have noticed, however, that perhaps this magazine is sending out (inadvertently, I hope) a mixed message. On one hand, they promote feminism; support and encourage women to believe in themselves, make discoveries, be independent, and so on. But, if you pay attention to the ads that are run in the magazine, you’ll soon make a discovery. There is hardly a page without an ad suggesting that the readers should not accept themselves as they are but take great strides (and spend lots of money) changing themselves. Forget inner beauty ladies- fix your outside and maybe your inside will come along.

In just one issue I discovered the following:

5 ads promoting a whiter, straighter more attractive smile
8 ads suggesting women need a better body via Botox, breast augmentation, face lifts, etc.
19 ads advising only women without skin imperfections or wrinkles and hair on their face and bodies will be at the top of their game
4 ads advocating thinness as beautiful-excess weight as not
6 ads encouraging health and wellness
1 ads alleging our hair color isn’t good enough (ok, you got me on this one- I do reach for the Miss Clairol sometimes)
3 ads promising a reversal of the aging process
17 upscale clothing stores

I’m not opposed to any human being of either gender wanting to look their best. However, I do have an issue with a magazine that encourages women to be happy with themselves running ads that promote the opposite. These ads allude to the fact that women are not going be successful, achieve anything on any level, be recognized, or possess an intelligent thought unless they have perfect, ageless, hairless skin; bright white, straight smiles and thin bodies dressed in clothing that costs more than my monthly mortgage payment. In other words, according to the ads, if your skin breaks out, your teeth are crooked, you have arm hair, carry excess weight and dress in Wal-Mart clothing, feel inferior because YOU ARE. 

Yes, I understand that magazines have to run ads in order to stay in business. But is it ok to be hypocritical? The messages in the ads are in conflict with the message the magazine is supposedly trying to send.
Are they thinking that people don’t really pay attention to the ads anyway? That we are too stupid to recognize an incongruous relationship? Does it not seem that the businesses are taking advantage of feminine insecurities? Am I making a mountain out of a mole hill?

If I purchased a magazine such as Glamour, Vogue, Elle, Mademoiselle, or Cosmopolitan, I would expect ads that support the idea that we are never enough without the help of beauty aids or surgery. But not a magazine that emphasizes inner beauty and strength. 

And, yes, it’s kind of difficult to argue when the magazine is available for FREE which makes the ads of the utmost importance. But I still have an issue with the discrepancy between the magazine content and the ad content. 

Either they’re talking out of both sides of their mouths or I am over analyzing.        


  1. I´ve never heard of that magazine, but I´m going to check it out online. Sounds like they don´t really know which side to take...

  2. You think too much, kidding! So right you are. I can not think of one product that promotes what you are looking for except maybe college advertisements...or the military.

    You have four beautiful, intelligent, individuals who have blossomed under your guidance. They will know how to spot a hypocrit, too.

    Great post with many valid points.

  3. You hit the nail right on the head with this one. I noticed that about the 2nd time I read the magazine. The message I get from that mag is that you need to have $$ to live happily. Don't get me wrong, I love the magazine. It's a fun read but when I became unemployed / disabled it was clear I could not come close to buying or dining at the advertisers listed. Good eye there missy! Hugs and Love.

  4. I totally agree, it doesn't make any sense for them to run those ads given the message they want to put out there. Then again, maybe their true message is their bottom line only...

  5. Betty-That's what I was thinking but then again, I do tend to over think and they do have to make money...????

    Gail- You're right- there really aren't any products out there who promote honestly. Thank you!

    Barb- Thanks Barb. Sometimes I just don't know whether I'm over analyzing or not.

    Alessandra- Isn't that the way it is with nearly everything anymore? The bottom line...meaning the almighty dollar. Geez.

  6. I totally agree with you.
    And even if we do ignore the ads, there's the underlying message, and presumably that message reaches us on some level.
    I'm not averse to a bit of hair colour, electrolysis or make-up myself, but I get fed up of being barraged with ads. And I draw the line at Botox and all that stuff.
    I really like the values that you have taught your "lovelies".

  7. I agree. I haven't seen that magazine but those ads don't make sense when they have nothing to do with the magazine. The trouble, like you mentioned, is that a magazine can only continue to be published because of the money they take in from the advertisers.
    That's really sad.

  8. Mimi- Thank you. It's driving me nuts right now- I wonder how they look themselves in the mirror.

    Debby-It really is a sad situation. But I also have to wonder how hard they try to find better businesses to contact?

  9. It's perfectly OK to analyze or even over-analyze. Still, if the magazine is free, they're probably doing whatever they can to keep it going. And if that means that the ads clash with the content such is life. Having been in publishing for a bit, long, long ago, I bet that's their view.

  10. As a sister over-thinker, I would guess that you are pushing the analysis envelope. Nothing wrong with that. I'm wondering what ads would be more acceptable in a mag for young women? If it were full of ads for adventure/sports equipment and travel destinations would they buy it? Just askin'.

    And, I think you're optimistic about all kids (girl or boy) being taught those fundamentals you list at the beginning of your post.

  11. Michele- I know. I believe that's what they're thinking too. But, sometimes, I'd rather pay for a subscription and have them change the ads.

    Stephanie- I don't know. Some affordable clothing ads; more health and environmental and wellness stuff? Workout and sports items like you mention? I don't have the answer- just the questions. LOL And I think you're right about me being optimistic.

  12. That is frustrating isn't it? I've noticed that in one of my fav magazines for older women called "More". It is all about accepting our age and keeping open to new careers and interests and starting over but it also has articles and ads about looking younger than we are!
    Make up your mind!

  13. Good thought provoking post there today! I haven't heard of that magazine either, but I will have a look on line. It does seem a little incongrous, doesn't it, that they are all for feminism, the inner self etc. and then promoting these adverts. It's almost as if they are selling out really. Sounds to me as if you could write a good letter to the Editor, pointing out these little 'discrepancies'!

  14. This- I have thought about writing a letter but haven't so far. I have to mull things over for a while before I act on them or put them 'out there.'


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