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 ad alleging our hair color isn’t good enough (ok, you got me on this one- I do reach for the color 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.        

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