This week has been falling out of track since a while. Add to it I won't be able to complete all the tasks of the week since the bookstore I wanted to check out (must be a used book bookstore) is located in a place that's currently a bit dangerous (they are spring cleaning the area and it seems that it gets quite dangerous with the liters and the junk divers guarding the piles of discarded goods). I'm theoretically a recipe, an indexed article and a museum short ... aside from the bookstore. I was also a magazine short, and since I couldn't find the weekly issue of the economical/political magazine we normally buy, I decided to get it on with some fashion magazine. So I grabbed a Cosmopolitan. I stopped buying Cosmopolitan in Costa Rica because it was so bad, and slowly stopped with all fashion magazines because I realized they are all full of crap and/or are nothing more than shopping catalogues you actually pay for.
I started buying them again in Hungary out of boredom, but also because Marie Claire in here is kinda like in Costa Rica before it went crappy. So I had this time around a Cosmopolitan lying around. Being Saturday, and me being tired, I grabbed this one decided to read it from cover to cover and check my "magazine of the week" box. I passed on the pictures of suggested clothes and accesories - I guess I'm no longer touched by the proposals of glossy pages and I rather buy what I want, what pleases me instead of what's trendy. So I concentrated on the articles, and one after the other I realized the same thing: they were all shallow. Page after page they were all covered with the most useless, fake, shallow advises and phony "behind the curtains", like an alleged conversation between men in a sauna talking about the type of woman they like (and supposedly they want women with curves, rather than the anorexic, "fragile" girls that make the cover and every page in between of the same magazine), and tips from the experts about "how to go shopping". There were plenty of short tips about how to improve sex, which seem to be a must for the magazine.
Up to this point I kinda found funny the weak content of the magazine, which while trying to be smart, trendy, healthy and economically conscious, can't detach from being a source of misinformation, reinforcing the distortioning image the readers get about how should they be. Allegedly guys say that though some like you bone thin, a large part of them what you curvy, but if you look in the magazine for an iconic definition of "curvy" you won't find anything other than skinny. Even the clothes shown without a body, are so thin, so skinny, that they wouldn't look good on anyone curvy, specially anyone curvy under 5'6". Impossible tans that can only be attained if you are born black (and I don't mean President Obama-black, I mean Seal-black), and clothes so expensive there's no way you can maneuver a healthy personal economy on an average or average-to-high income and get the pieces you are suggested with the regularity they suggest it.
It brought my attention, however, how the magazine started - timidly - to approach issues that are rather serious, that are real, and that are now being recognized as a problem, while some years before they were a desirable conduct. One of such articles talked about the women who are desperate about getting married, and go as far as start planning their wedding, buying things for it, and they don't even have a boyfriend or any groom anywhere. I was surprised to read that those who expect marriage or someone else to solve their lives are in for a bitter surprise. Wow, a magazine full of fashion and shallow things, sex tips and clothes dare to tell women not to obsess with marriage because getting married doesn't equal becoming happy?
The rest of the article suddenly sucked. It was filled with quotings of a specialist that basically said nothing, and full of the most stupid advise I've ever heard of. "Be careful", "don't tell them directly, but try to lead them to the truth of what they are doing", and "be understanding". Similar things were told when dealing with the problem of friends getting married and having kids while you remain blessfully single and unattached. The target audience of this type of magazines are teens and young adults, people who are not so experienced and probably don't have the needed savvy to separate bogus from the truth. Well, after all you can't really sell many magazines telling people that when your friends have a problem you either face them or lead them to professional help. There's no fun in that. The advises and stories sounded much like those a friend of a friend would give you, someone with no real knowledge at all about the problem, but who's got the need to say something and an overdevelopped, mediocre mind that's good for short term excuses. Truth to be told, a coffee with your friends can bring you to better solutions and it will cost you less, not to mention that it won't make you feel too fat, too white or too inadecuate to be considered attractive or even functional.
I was wondering, are these the answers our younger get? Is this the source of their knowledge? Sadly, yes. This and whatever they find in the internet, unfiltered, mingling bogus with kinda true. The quality of writing is dropping quite fast, and this is what they are taking, this is what they see as normal, and these half baked answers, poorly thought through articles are what they learn to identify as a full analysis... then maybe they are taking the stupid articles with it as well. They believe that boys go for the type of Calista Flockhart, and that lingerie models are the archtype of "curvy".
Can we do something about this? Only talk with those close to us, but as I see it, this world packed with lies, layered heavily on the destruction and distortion of the self image serves only one purpose: to make life harder than it actually is. Then again, we inherited this world the same way. Maybe someday we'll be able to break down the industries and the third interests that profit from making people feel bad and inadecuate, maybe someday we could throw down fashion magazines and force them to print on their covers real people, models with sized 14 and higher, with pimples, freckles, cellullitis, and tell the next generation that all that is ok, that you don't need to be phyiscally perfect because nobody is, that all you need is to have the courage to find the answers within yourself, that your friends - if you have chosen them well - can become your best counselors, that friends in need do need your help, but that doesn't mean that you must carry their problems and your problems why they forget about looking for a solution, and rather expect it from you.
As usually, the change beings in ourselves, and only this way, by the example, we can show others that magazines are wrong, and being you is right.