I started reading women’s magazines in high school while trying to figure out this makeup thing.
I couldn’t ask my mum – the only makeup she ever wore is nail polish. My friends weren’t into it – if anything, they came to me for advice. Youtube wasn’t around yet.
I had to rely on magazines to teach me how to create a smoky eye or figure out the best moisturiser for my skin type.
At first, it was fun. I was learning all these new things, playing around with makeup, and catching up on gossips about my fave celebs.
But after a while, I noticed that reading magazines was making me unhappy. Instead than a fun ritual, women’s magazines had become a source of irritation. Here’s why:
- Problem #1: Women’s Magazines promote an unattainable image of beauty
- Problem #2: Women’s Magazines promote dangerous weight loss
- Problem #3: Women’s Magazines promote plastic surgery, but not its risks
- Problem #4: Women’s Magazines promote competition between women
- Problem #5: Women’s Magazines give silly relationship advice
- Problem #6: Women’s Magazines Have too many ads
- Problem #7: Women’s Magazines promote mostly expensive items
- The Bottom Line
Problem #1: Women’s Magazines promote an unattainable image of beauty
Ever wondered why you always look like a slob compared to celebrities, no matter how much makeup you wear?
Like, how come they have no cellulite, pores, or dark circles?! Are they just genetically blessed?
Truth bomb: even the most beautiful women in the world don’t look anything like their magazine pictures. Just look at these photos of Faith Hill, for example.
On the right, she’s a normal, healthy size. Her eyes are a little puffy and her smile is enhanced by the lines around her mouth. Even so, she’s absolutely stunning.
Yet, Redbook felt the need to Photoshop her into a Barbie doll. They made her dangerously thin, smoothed out her face so it looks like plastic, and her dark circles are nowhere in site.
That’s right. Even with all the army of people – makeup artists, hair stylist, lightening director etc – who helped Faith look her best for the Photoshoot, the magazine still deemed her too ugly to grace its cover without the help of Photoshop…
The message is clear: you have to be skinny, have absolutely no flaw, and look like a plastic doll to be considered beautiful.
Women’s magazines promote an extremely unhealthy, fake and unattainable image of beauty. No wonder so many women feel ugly and worthless in comparison! Heck, I bet even Faith Hill thinks she’s ugly compared to her plastic doll fake self.
The worst part? Even if you consciously know these pictures are Photoshopped, seeing them day in and day out sends a message to your subconscious mind that it’s possible to look like that.
Before you know it, you’ll try every diet you come across, join the most expensive gym, and spend thousands of dollars on beauty products and procedures that promise to make you look like fake Faith.
Just what the magazines’ advertisers were hoping all along…
Related: Cellulite Is Normal, Get Over It
Problem #2: Women’s Magazines promote dangerous weight loss
It’s not enough women’s magazines tell you you need to look like a plastic doll – something no human can ever achieve. They also want you to ruin your health to do it.
Case in point: as soon as early spring rolls around, these magazines are full of articles on how to achieve the perfect bikini body.
Their advice? Spending money on expensive cellulite creams that don’t work, skipping meals, and swallowing down slimming drinks with dubious health benefits (and plenty of side effects).
Sometimes, they prescribe a diet that seems legit. They recommend you avoid carbs, sugars or fats – all things that are bad for you, right?
Wrong. YOUR BODY NEEDS THEM TO BE HEALTHY! In moderation of course. Did you know that carbs give you energy, for example?
Depriving your body of certain foods can make you feel weak, dizzy, tired all the time and also has dangerous long term effects for your health.
If you wanna lose weight, do it in the healthy way. Eat everything in moderation and exercise. It may take months before you get the results you want, but at least you won’t get ill.
Problem #3: Women’s Magazines promote plastic surgery, but not its risks
Let’s be clear: I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having plastic surgery, if that’s what you really want. Your body, your choice.
But I have two problems with the way women’s magazines promote plastic surgery.
First off, they promote this unattainable idea of beauty that’s impossible to achieve without going under the knife. (I’d argue it’s impossible to achieve it even with surgery – Lisa Rinna, anyone?).
They make you think that plastic surgery is a duty. Something you owe to society. God forbid you let anyone see you with wrinkles!
Is plastic surgery really a choice when you feel you’re worthless without the perfect nose or bigger boobs?
But let’s say you’re doing plastic surgery from a place of love, not hate. Even then, women’s magazines only sing the praises of plastic surgery. You never hear about its risks.
It’s called plastic surgery for a reason, ladies. Any type of surgery is by definition risky.
You could be allergic to the anesthesia (if that happens and you’re alive to tell, you’re very lucky). Or the doctor may make a mistake (I don’t care how good he is, he’s human and humans make mistakes). Or there could be any other kind of complication.
Same with fillers. If not done right, you can find your face paralyzed in some weird positions or look like a freak. Is the risk of complications really worth a smoother forehead or bigger boobs?
If anything goes wrong, you’ll be the one paying the consequences. Be sure you’re doing the surgery for the right reasons: out of love for your body, not hate.
But what if everything goes right? Even then, you may not be pleased with the results. It’s not uncommon to become addicted to plastic surgery and wanting to do more and more to achieve perfection. But perfection doesn’t exist. A bit of nip and tuck won’t give you that.
I’m not saying don’t do plastic surgery. Again, the choice is yours. But please be aware of the risks, don’t take it lightly. And don’t exaggerate. You don’t wanna look like Barbie!
Problem #4: Women’s Magazines promote competition between women
Forget men. Women are women’s worst enemy.
From the second she’s born, a woman is encouraged to see every other woman as a rival who could steal her husband or her job.
Women’s magazines promote this competition between women, especially in the looks department.
Doesn’t matter what you look like, what size you are, or if you follow the style advice these magazines dish out. They’ll always find a way to bring you down and tell you don’t look good enough. And compare you to someone who looks better (with the help of Photoshop, of course!).
And what about those stupid columns about “who wore it best?”. It’s a dress, for goodness’s sake! Who cares if two women are wearing the same dress or who looks better in it! Who cares who’s prettier, who earns more or who has the most handsome boyfriend?
It’s not a competition!
Problem #5: Women’s Magazines give silly relationship advice
Women’s magazines don’t just talk rubbish about style and diet. They reserve their most silly advice for relationship problems.
Want to catch a guy’s eye? You need to wear the latest Balenciaga dress. Nothing else will do. Want to keep him? Make sure you please him in bed. Be nice with his friends. Dress to impress him.
Can you see the common theme? It’s all about how to please him. But what about what we want?
You don’t need to dress in a certain way to get a guy and you don’t need to find a way to get him to take you on holiday or propose or whatever. Relationships are hard work and take a lot of compromise.
If you have a problem or want something, talk and sort it out. Never trick the other person into doing something or pretending to be someone you’re not! If you do, don’t complain the relationship didn’t last. Jeez, I wonder why?
Problem #6: Women’s Magazines Have too many ads
I get it. Running a magazine is expensive. They need money to pay their bills and a huge chunk of that comes from ads. But when you have more ads than articles, well… what’s the point of buying that magazine at all?
You want to be up-to-date with the latest news and trends, find out tips and tricks to solve problems you have, or read interviews about a celebrity you adore – not to reach page 50 for the index and page 80 for the first article!
Problem #7: Women’s Magazines promote mostly expensive items
Again, I get it. Women’s magazines are all about luxury and exclusivity. Their job is to sell you a dream that’ll never come true.
I don’t have a problem with advertising a £500 pair of Gianvito Rossi shoes, but why do you have to call them a must?
Luxury items aren’t must-haves yet they’re promoted in such a way that they make you feel a loser if you can’t afford them.
They make you think you need to have them to be cool. To be successful in life. To be accepted by your friends. They become status symbols and if you don’t have them, you’re out.
The worst part? Good luck finding an honest review in women’s magazines. They just print the press releases…
The Bottom Line
Ok, that may be a bit too extreme. Not all women’s magazines are bad. And they aren’t the only media to blame.
But you can’t change the way the media thinks. You can only change the way you think. You can educate yourself and your children so you won’t fall for these traps anymore.
As a rule, if something makes you feel bad about yourself, ditch it.
What do you think about women’s magazines? Share your thoughts in the comments below.