I feel we’ve been chilling rather nicely in the freezer at Half Girl Half Teacup (or HGHT for those that can speak fluent acronym- I lost my membership to that club after a small LOL incident back in 2012, “So sorry to hear Mike’s died, lol xx” apparently it doesn’t mean lots of love. Moving Taylor Swiftly on.) my recent posts have been rather gentle compared to my previously topical discussions and so I thought I was time to get feministing again. And I don’t mean to brag but I’m, like, really good at being a feminist.
So here we have it, my favourite magazine: Cosmopolitan. I’ve bought a copy from what feels like every newsagents in Brighton- last year I even got a German print with the hope of translating it (which is incredibly difficult as ‘clitoris’ isn’t in the Collins Easy Learning dictionary)- but then I noticed something.
Kimberley from Girls Aloud (that’s just how you’re known when you’re in a band) looks lovely and photoshopped alongside the headline ‘Men, sex & you.’ Note how men are noted first, despite it being a magazine aimed at women- also note how ‘men’ is the only capitalised part. That seems a little bit unfair right? Women being the last item on the list for their own magazine? But no, you know what; I’ve just finished my media GCSE I’m probably reading into this way too much.
Another cover, this time with Rihanna modelling some very heavy looking earrings, sits next door to the largest heading on the page also about prioritising a man’s needs. In fact, on this cover there are three references to men- their desires, needs and how to please them.
A few more examples, ironically with gorgeous women dominating the image but not the headlines, as we read about what men think and how we, as vaginas, can live up to their expectations. I’m not saying I blame men for this, at the end of the day women had as much input into these magazines as they did and they made the decision to make the purchase, but am I the only one that thinks it’s a little wrong that women are trained to make decisions about their bodies/lives/sexualities on behalf of what men want. And why are men the default species to impress anyway- when do we start acknowledging the lesbians?
But I’m jumping the gun again. Honestly, how biased of me: once I’ve analysed the front of a few male oriented magazines I’ll realise that the mirror image of each story is being presented, ‘What women crave in July’, ‘What makes her fall in love’, ‘Thousands of women reveal what-’
Ah. Well. What a surprise that was. FHM is covered in advertisements for masculinity: are you brave enough for this, are you manly enough for that, here’s an article about pubs. The only mention of women is the bum (I’d say ass but I come from Oxford so it doesn’t have the same effect) you’re gawping at when you scroll down this page. Another copy of FHM shows a similar story, if not worse.
‘Get her pregnant cause you want to.’ Now that was rather a rejected lyric from Blurred Lines or written by a journalist that has some (many) anger (general) issues. What kind of magazine promotes unequal relationships in such a way that pregnancy is used as a power trophy opposed to something done to repopulate the planet? You know something’s going wrong when both men and women are taught to focus on men.
I really don’t know if solar panels can beat the energy crisis, but if I was Mother Nature I’d be raining fragments of my uterus over those editors right now. Or maybe I’d hold off. Because men kind of have the right idea. Don’t get me wrong promoting rape-y headlines is too far, but prioritising your own gender is something I wish women did more of; why can’t magazines about women be about women, instead of making us share the article space with some male dictation and Chanel adverts (although keep the scratch and sniff perfume samples, I like those). There’s nothing wrong with dressing, acting or being a certain way to impress a partner sometimes, but the problem comes when we teach each individual female to dress, act or be a certain way for the benefit of the whole penis kingdom. Instead of surveying 2000 men about their pube preferences, let’s let women make decisions about their lives based on what they want to do, let’s write articles to empower them to make their own choices and support them on the road to kicking bum.
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