Okay, so... this might be rant-ish and I may be overreacting, but man DST combined with an early morning has made me extremely agitated, haha.
When I think about "women's magazines", I generally get annoyed... I'm talking about the mainstream ones, the beauty mags and all that. I don't need to go into why this is - I'm sure a lot of us agree about these magazines and their ads.
But what I didn't completely expect is the absolute ridiculousness that is magazines promoted toward "health".
I get a free subscription to Prevention magazine. I'm not exactly sure how or why, but I've been getting it for months, which I'm pretty okay with because I enjoy cooking and figured I could find some nice healthy recipes, and I sometimes do. Their workouts are also sometimes nice to ponder.
I got a new issue today and really looked at it. The magazine is supposed to be devoted to women's health, but honestly, there are so many parts of it that just AREN'T. First off, I've never read any Men's Health magazines, and I'm sort of curious now if their focus on body weight is as strong as it is in women-directed mags. Now, of course being a healthy weight is one of the most important factors in being an overall healthy person. So I can deal with the weight loss thing that makes up about 70% of the magazine.
And then, slightly more annoying, there are also several articles related to cleaning, which... yeah. I would love to see that in a men's magazine. Info about how and why you should clean the seal around the refrigerator door, your vacuum cleaner, and the garbage disposal. Okay.
But then there are things that are actually counteractive to women's health and that's where the magazine irritates me. They promote behaviors that are generally bad for health for the sake of improving appearance.
For example, the obsession with wrinkles. Our society is incredibly age-ist, that's nothing new. But I can't believe that a women's health magazine is promoting BOTOX. Botox is not healthy, for your face or your wallet! They specifically recommend women to get Botox "a week before an important event". There are, of course, about a dozen other recommendations for dealing with your wrinkles. How sad. There are expensive laser treatments recommended for broken capillaries and brown spots (which cost over $300 a piece).
Then there's a little blurb about this new FDA-approved prescription treatment... that makes your eyelashes thicker. It's $120 a month. Causes redness and itching and you just spent more money than I spend in 3 weeks' worth of groceries, but YAY YOUR EYELASHES ARE SUPER LONG AND GORGEOUS.
There is also an article about how men are allegedly more attracted to women wearing red clothing than other colors, and that if you wear red lipstick or nail polish will "have the same effect". Then, they tell you that you should volunteer for a charity because "your selfless acts will entrance your spouse". I'm sorry, shouldn't we be volunteering because we care about a cause, and not because we want to "entrance" our spouse? [I'm just picturing a commercial here, with a guy standing drooling because his wife is doing volunteer work, because he's clearly a mindless drone who cares about nothing else and is just oh-so-entranced with what she's doing.] Apparently, being attractive to men by wearing certain colors is a very important part of health.
I am not saying that I don't do "unhealthy" things to make myself feel more attractive [I'm sure the slathering of makeup daily isn't that great for my skin, and I know that straightening is extremely damaging to my hair]. But I just think that a health magazine with all this stuff in it is irritating because instead of focusing on health, they are focusing on appearance, often by recommending things that are detrimental to health.
OH, and I also paid for a year's subscription to Cooking Light, because I love their website and cook recipes from it daily. Interestingly, every single picture in the magazine is of a woman, EXCEPT for an advertisement for Lowe's Hardware and a picture of a man golfing. Every single workout is geared toward women. Lots of ads for pads, tampons, and cleaning products. I realize that women are the primary demographic, but it irritates me that there are hardly any magazines that believe that men have the ability to cook or clean or be domestic in any fashion.
As an aside, Feministing reminded me that it's International Women's Day, and then I remembered that the U is holding an International Women’s Day Celebration on Saturday, March 14th at Coffman Union. It's from 8:00-3:00 but you can come and go as you please. There are tons of interesting things there, lots of workshops you can pick and choose to learn about various issues around the world, and keynote speakers. I went last year because I was tabling for the rape crisis center I work at, and it was super fantastic! I couldn't go to the workshops because I had to stay at my table, but I got to see the keynote speaker and see all the events they had going on. They also serve breakfast if you get there early enough! Last year they had a lot of vendors who sold really, really gorgeous and unique stuff - bags and jewelry, etc. - I got a bag that Burmese refugees in Thailand made out of the trousers they wear fishing. So if you have the time, I highly recommend it! (And over 65 local organizations table at this event, so if you're looking for an intership or volunteer work or ways to get involved with organizations that help women, this is an awesome opportunity to make some contacts.)
Oh, and as one more aside that isn't exactly completely related to anything at all - I'm vice president of a student group on campus that aims to educate students about mental health and mental illness, and reduce the stigma of mental illness. We're currently trying to put on an art exhibit at Boynton and we are frantically advertising looking for student artists to contribute to our gallery. Basically, we are looking for pieces that somehow relate to mental health, or served as an outlet during times of stress, etc. If anyone has any original pieces they want to share, or know someone who does, please pass this info on! If you're interested send an e-mail to email@example.com and I'll write back with more details about how to submit art, the gallery days/hours, etc.
Sorry for being long-winded.