Friday, August 15, 2008

Nothing Like A Women's Magazine To Take You Down A Notch

Why do I read magazines? Or maybe the more specific question is, why do I read magazines as a way to “relax”?

I won’t mention what magazines I subscribe to, but believe me, my subscriptions can’t run out fast enough. I used to read my magazines cover to cover the minute they arrived in my mail box. But these days, I have a better sense of myself, what makes me happy and content, but damn it if magazines don’t make me feel less of a woman, a failure almost. I can’t afford $1000 dresses or $500 cardigans, the recipes they publish expect me to use spices or foods I’ve never heard of, let alone could find anywhere close to where I live, and the vacations or “get-aways” they suggest are actually pompous escapes for people with too much stress AND time on their hands.

My idea of a get-away is exactly what I’m doing this weekend: a rock concert in Scranton with three friends I met via Weight Watchers online. We’re going to see Journey, Heart and Cheap Trick. Total cost? About 200 bucks, the price of a half-hour massage at a ritzy resort. I’m packing a cooler of my “comfort” foods and hitting the road with Chris in her totally pimped out, daisy-wheel compact car that I can’t remember the name of at the moment. But it’s not a show-off car by any means. We’ll swim in our hotel pool and talk smart and drink a little and rock out like we’re in our 20s. My outfit will consist of shorts, a t-shirt and sandals.

Ugh….I’m still reeling from the magazine I just read. Are we all supposed to be picture perfect with lots of under-eye concealer and a butt-load of money? I’m not, don’t want to be, but still, there’s a nagging voice inside that says, “You really need to have that $400 ‘party’ dress that some male designer says every woman over 40 needs to have.” Has he BEEN to Clarion? Does he realize that “dressed up” here is jeans and a shirt without words on it?

I’m making a vow right now. I’m done with “health” magazines and “women’s” magazines, at least the snotty ones I subscribe to. What was I thinking? Can you suggest something less pretentious? Less airbrushed? I really do love a good magazine (I’m still a faithful reader of Newsweek and I peruse The Atlantic online), so please, help me out here. What can I read that won’t make me feel like I have to be pencil thin, exercise in contortionist style, and cook like I have a trust fund?

Thanks for letting me vent. I’m beginning to feel normal and real again. Remind me to throw away the next issues when they arrive in the mail. I believe both subscriptions run out at the same time. Thank god.

11 comments:

  1. I like to know a little bit about a lot of things - and I find Reader's Digest fills the bill nicely. And reading Guideposts renews my faith - not only in God but in humanity as well. If I feel the need for a cooking magazine, I grab Light and Tasty. Not all the recipes are as light as I would like them to be, but they are generally down-to-earth and unpretentious - and don't require anything I can't find here in the sticks.

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  2. First of all, you are going to see two of my all time fav bands, Heart and Journey! LOVE them! I am with you on the magazines. Who can afford the purses?! When did jeans go up to 200.00? After looking at "stuff we just love," in a magazine, I feel so out of the loop. I am sure many people buy every color of every item.

    As a new mom, I have read mommy mags and if you are willing to buy just the right baby equipment, potterybarn the child's bedroom and spend 100.00 on a tee shirt, you will love the magazine. Magazine's are no longer relaxing. They add stress and pressure. I have enough of that as a principal, I don't need it on my down time!! I have no magazine suggestions. I am just reading great books!

    Go Ann and Nancy Wilson!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  3. My mother still gets Guideposts. She reads them - passes them on to me - I read them and pass them on to a friend.

    No other subscriptions at either house.

    I am EXTREMELY careful about what I read - and I watch NO commercials on TV at all. Tivo type device - if I watch "live" then I wait 20 minutes to let the show get a head start and then watch commercial free. Tivo type device "blinks" through the commercials - so I am not even watching them in fast forward - they are just gone.

    I can't tell you how strongly I feel about "surprise sensory input". I think it makes a HUGE difference in my life.

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  4. Most magazines are designed to sell you stuff and if you can't afford the $400 version you'll go for the knock-off. Let's face it, the whole idea behind marketing is to make you feel like you 'need' what they're selling in order to feel better about yourself. Few magazines, even the ones that are suppose to be offering you insight into a healthy lifestyle, are going to tell us that we are perfect just how we are, cause if they did we wouldn't need to buy anything from their advertisers. Even magazines that are suppose to help you simplify your life are full of things you 'need' to have in order to do it. It's nuts and yet we keep falling for it.

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  5. I was just discussing this very fact the other day. I'm not renewing my magazine. I'm tired of all the ads and what little substance there is. You know what else bugs me? ...Catalogs for heavier women's clothing with skinny models. Come one now. Skinny gals are not sporting moo-moos or super loose tunics. As far as buying something, I buy what I want and need...even if it isn't Oprah approved. Have you ever noticed that anything Oprah likes....the whole world likes, too. I'm just a good old girl, too. I like what I like and I don't fall for all the hype. ;)

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  6. I don't subscribe to magazines for these very reasons. And people wonder why eating disorders are so prevalent in America.

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  7. Why don't you just cancel them? A lot of magazines will give you a pro-rated refund. Then you wouldn't have to endure it any longer and you could use the extra money for some magazines that are actually helpful! :)
    Bethany

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  8. Sound like you've been reading O Magazine! I've noticed that the clothes they're showcasing for fall are in the $500+ range - not realistic at all.

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  9. Vickie, I'm with you on the no commercials thing. I hate them and always mute them. "Surpise sensory input" - very interesting concept. I think that's why I'm very picky about what movies I go to see, too. I don't like violent images or overtly painful human experiences portrayed on the screen. Makes me physically ill.

    I could unsubscribe to my magazines, that's a good point. Such a simple solution and yet, I didn't think about it. No one said I was real good at thinking outside the box :)

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  10. Ugh, I hate magazines too. I actually used to work in fashion PR and one year I was personally responsible for a number of the "it" swimsuits of the season. I even wrote press releases and editorials on how to choose the right bathing suit for your body and what the new swimwear trends were. I had no idea what I was talking about. And let me tell you, my client was featured in some of the top fashion magazines. So don't believe it when you read that you have to have that $400 dress. Some PR person or editor just made that up.

    As far as good magazines, I love Cooks Illustrated. No pictures, no ads, no weird unpronounceable ingredients. There aren't a ton of WW-friendly recipes and not a whole lot of vegetarian recipes, but for the cooking techniques and tips alone, it's so worth it. I also just started getting Runners World and I've been enjoying that a lot.

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  11. I second Reader's Digest. It always makes me laugh, it usually teaches me at least one interesting fact, and it's a quick read.

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