Where Torture Porn Meets Cellulite: Women’s Magazines are Mostly Hateful

Grazia magazine sticking hot stories of genital mutilation next to this season’s it bag, while trying to persuade us that a rubber skirt at £499 is the must have edgy piece for women who never sweat.  Could you have emotional cellulite is the latest mind warp piece of paranoia.  And what is Emotional Cellulite?  Orange Peel Brain?  As The Vagenda points out, Grazia is just Closer with handbags.

A bit more tabloid is Heat, the Mean Girl of the pack.  It was and still is, snark funny.  But it’s gotten so nasty.  They claim to celebrate celebrities with curves (curves being the new word for fat and fat in celeb land means anyone a ‘curvy’ size 10 or over) while printing a picture of the celeb bouncing up and down, enjoying herself without due regard for flat stomach and bouffed up hair.  ‘Good for her showing off her curves to the world‘ says Heat supportively while simultaneously trumpeting their massive size 10 arse and un-blowdried hair to the world.  Isn’t it great that she feels so relaxed about her body?  (snigger snigger).  Grazia are now getting into the act by showing pics of Kate Moss with a stomach that’s not 100% flat.  The text says that it’s ‘great’ she’s so happy in her skin, printed right next to a picture of Moss taken about ten years ago and a ‘tiny size 6’.  A trick picked up by the Daily Mail who make a virtue of the Woman-looks-older-than-she-did-five-years-ago angle.

And then we get to Chat and Take a Break, a torture porn and crossword puzzle mash-up with a few pet photos and stories of how women give birth in their tights.  Women rightly complain about the gross sexism in lads mags but the stuff that passes as coffee break material would make Eli Roth* wince.  A story about how a girl was repeatedly raped by her stepfather is followed by a family who lives with a buffalo.  Then ‘My Shy Guy Was a Monster’ accompanied by photos of the woman’s face following her ‘shy guy’s meat cleaver attack.  Flick the page and there’s a jolly photo of a woman with Hughes syndrome – a burning red rash all over her body. There’s a ‘hairy’ moment with a tiger coughing up a furball and then just in case you’re smiling, the next story is about a woman who can’t understand why the man she loved and trusted poisoned her six children.  It’s like a car crash in your head.

Monthly magazines meanwhile are in free fall with only Easy Living reporting a slight rise in sales.  I wondered if it might be because it’s just a nice cosy magazine which doesn’t make women feel shit about themselves, then  glanced at the cover, saw the headline: Why More of us are Saying No to Having it All Syndrome.

Having it All Syndrome?  Do you know a single woman of your acquaintance who says: I’d be so much happier if I didn’t have Having it All Syndrome?  If this is the kind of shit you print you deserve to founder.  I don’t know of a single printed magazine that has anything to do with the reality of women’s lives.  But they all seem to excel in a million and one ways to make us feel bad.

*Director of Hostel and self-confessed fetishistic aficionado of gore.

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