I love magazines. In particular, I love women’s magazines – I buy Glamour and Cosmopolitan religiously, every month. But magazines, and women’s magazines in particular, often get a bad reputation for being shallow, full of rubbish and for pushing unrealistic beauty standards on women. I’m here to tell you that this isn’t always true.
I might be a journalism graduate who made two magazines in her final year, so you might be thinking that I’m biased – but I have loved and bought magazines long before I decided that it was what I wanted to do.
I will admit that in some cases, magazines are guilty of promoting impossible beauty standards, as some do use stick-thin models in photos and feature photoshopped celebrities on the cover. But, we’re beginning to combat this already – celebrities such as Keira Knightly, Lorde and Kate Winslet have spoken out about retouched photographs they’ve seen of themselves. In some cases they release the originals, in others they make it clear that they love their bodies the way they are – without the editing.
Magazines like Glamour and Cosmopolitan, do include fashion and beauty pages, but as well as that, they are aimed at real women. Those with problems and issues that are relevant to the current day. They’re realistic, fair and they tackle important issues, which gives them a value that other magazines lack.
Instead of promoting the message that women need to improve their image, many of their articles are encourage women to feel confident in their own bodies. They can be very inspirational, in addition to being entertaining and informative.
For example, Glamour’s February 2017 issue includes an article titled ‘My Mission To Love My Body’ by Daisy Buchanan. In it, she took several steps to becoming happy and confident with her body again, and she begins to recognise it for what it is – healthy and strong. It holds the message you shouldn’t compare yourself to others, that should love your body no matter what flaws you believe you have.
Cosmopolitan’s January 2017 issue featured Ashley Graham as their cover star – a model who’s previously featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated and featured in DNCE’s music video for Toothbrush. She’s also a model who is considered ‘plus-sized’. She’s helping to change beauty standards, to encourage the industry to include curvier women too, which makes her so much more than just a cover girl. She’s fierce and strong and is creating change and spreading love and confidence as she does it. That’s what these magazines are really all about. Encouraging women to be powerful and confident in who they are.
Don’t worry, I’m not forgetting about the adverts. The ones advertising make-up, shampoo and perfume. Aren’t they just a constant reminder that women need to work on their image? No, instead, it’s just about money. Here’s where my journalism degree comes out… magazines need advertisements. Brands and products pay for their adverts to be placed in top selling magazines, as they’ll be seen my millions of women who might decide to buy the product. Might. And yes, they’re often for foundations or mascaras, because that’s what lots of women buy. Women might also like hiking, travelling or football, but then you’d expect these type of adverts to be in magazines about hiking, travelling or football, right? It makes sense. It’s not a huge secret ploy to get women to subconsciously start doubting their looks and start trying to ‘improve’ their image.
Has anyone noticed the advertisements for Oxfam or WWF? I have. Times are changing, times have changed. Women’s magazines are about so much more than beauty and fashion now. It’s 2017 and they are now powerful and inspirational. They talk to real people about real issues and they talk to celebrities about real issues too. They talk to models and actresses about causes they believe in and real issues that they’ve faced. They talk to career women who have advice that will help women to be successful – in business. They talk about women being strong, being confident, being happy. They talk about politics, movements and laws which affect women. They approach the real stuff.
And if that’s not enough, there’s also a huge novelty in holding a glossy magazine in your hands and not reading the articles on a screen. Using the words of Glamour editor Jo Elvin, “in a digital world, a print mag is a truly comforting antidote to the noise of online.” There’s no background negativity or hate – each issue is there to uplift you, entertain you and inspire you.
If you’re cynical of women’s magazines, I encourage you to try one out. For real. See if you CAN’T find an article which is tackling a real issue in today’s world, or an article which makes you feel happy, confident or uplifted. Let me know what you find, what you think and if you agree!