Expensive and thick publications that contain a long stream of
advertisements interrupted by the occasional vapid and unoriginal article.
Examples include Vogue, Glamour, and Style. Both the articles and
the advertisements tend to show women with perfect bodies, unreal makeup,
and powerful sexual magnetism. Many feminist scholars believe that such
images lead to distorted body images, eating disorders, and low
self-esteem. Now, these pictures aren't bad provided that the viewer sees
them as art--as elegant and beautiful and idealistic and
unrealistic as a sculpture of Adonis or a painting of Aphrodite.
Nonetheless, if you go to the gym, you'll often see women reading these
magazines intently as they chug away on the treadmill in a futile
attempt to reshape their bodies to match those of the models--even though
the models themselves achieved those glorious proportions only with the
help of Photoshop.
I suppose these particular women might like to appreciate art
while bouncing up and down on a stairmaster, but somehow it just doesn't
seem plausible. Moreover, it seems unlikely that women read these magazines for the articles. Most of the
magazines contain the same old screeds on the same old subjects. To wit:
It's by no means clear why so many women continue to purchase these
magazines when they are quite well aware of the distorted version of reality that the average fashion
rag portrays. Are these women immune? Do they mistakenly think
they're immune? Do they fall victim to societal pressure in spite of
their knowledge? Do they really think the articles are insightful?
What's the deal?