Wednesday, September 19, 2012

I Like Magazines.

I love to get mail. Snail mail, packages, junk mail, email… you name it. I flip through catalogues and play the Pick-One-Thing-On-Each-Page-You-Like game. I also love to read, so obviously magazine subscriptions are a must. When I was younger, I subscribed to Highlights and Cricket.
How do you pronounce Gallant?!
I would keep every issue for months. When I was ten, I sent off to be a lifetime member of the Lisa Frank fan club so I could get the quarterly newsletter and the new member kit. (I still can’t believe they stopped sending me the newsletter!)
What can I say? I am a sucker for unicorns. I blame my mom.
In my teens, I had a subscription to YM. I would pull out all the really colorful ads and make envelopes out of them. I loved to check out my dad’s Wizard each issue to see their picks for actors in super hero movies. I also tried to buy Mad magazine and The Rolling Stone as often as possible. In my adult years, I try to steer clear of Cosmo and the like, but during my advocacy days I would buy them for group topics, and that is how I ended up with a RedBook subscription. I subscribed to Domino (an interior design magazine) until they shut it down, sending me the disappointing replacement of Lucky until my subscription ran out.  My quest for new recipes also leads me to subscribe to Family Circle (lapsed… but I buy it from time to time!) and the Rachael Ray Mag. I will pick up other magazines from time to time if I want to read about the celeb on the cover. My son received a National Geographic for Kids subscription for Christmas. This was the best gift idea ever, and I intend to renew it. I also have a few mags on my Want list: The Liguorian, Verily… bottom line: my love of mail and reading (and pop culture… the former director of my graduate program used to talk about a pop culture major at the school he attended. This is simply thrilling to me.) has enabled me to fall in love with magazines as well.

Now that I have revealed my addiction hobby, I have something to get off my chest.

To the magazine editors of America:

I am not reading your magazines to learn how to blow him away in bed. I also do not read them to find out what jeans best fit my body type. (Trust me: I do not match up with any of the types you list. Ever.) I like scouting the pages to see if any of the clothes are from my favorite store. I like the random internet/shopping/app finds. I like to read about people’s lives. I like to keep up on what American women are being sold, and to know what I am up against. I may not represent the kind of woman you are trying to brainwash. I am fully aware of the difference between reality and dream land. I watch movies and read magazines knowing they are not real. I know my heart, and the person I am. I am confident and strong in my faith and my intellectual abilities. I read your magazines because I like to read and I like a little of the fantasy. Lately, that fantasy has become so distorted that I can’t seem to enjoy it, even for a moment. The latest issue of RedBook that arrived in the mail contained the following amid its 196 pages:

Ads for anti-aging products (often more than one page in length including anything from crèmes to Botox): 8

Ads for other beauty products (including makeup, nail polish, body wash, a prescription to make your eyelashes longer hair dye, etc.): 24

Ads for clothing (often more than one page in length): 7

Ads for diets: 2

Ads for depression medications: 2

Ads for hormonal contraceptives: 1

Ads for pet food: 3 (I know this seems out of place but it made me laugh that most of these were clustered toward the end, as though it was a last ditch effort to reach a broader base: “Oh, you are already old, not dieting or wearing the latest fashions? Here are some great options for your pets.”)

The issue itself was chalked full of anti-aging stories (It was the anti-aging issue, after all.), fashion advice, personal advice, a few recipes, and lots of ads for food and OTC medications. I know that you make money off your advertisers, but are there any standards? The ads are on every other page of your magazines. The ads paint the picture that your readers are obsessed with defeating their own mortality, and if they are not, they should be.

Again. Maybe I am just not your target demographic. I am okay with that. I can skip around the ads until my subscription runs out. Fortunately for me, I am hearing a lot of positive buzz about Verily: a magazine that acknowledges a woman’s appearance is not the most important thing about her. While I’m at it, I will skip the early tweenage brainwashing for my daughter, and just subscribe to New Moon Girls for her.

Sincerely, Me

I have learned my lesson. For the most part, I am going to stick to the cooking and design magazines. However, if I come across a cover in the checkout lane with Zooey or Emma, I might not be able to resist the fantasy indulgence…

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