You know I'm not a person who loves to gripe, right? Tell me you understand that please. Because really, I much prefer to focus on the good in the world than the bad but man, sometimes they make it SO hard, you know?
A year ago I was knighted as one of Glamour magazine's "Glambassadors" for 2009. What is a Glambassador you ask? I think the word is based in the Latin phrase glammas dorkus meaning "major schmuck" because I really got taken in on this. Let me elucidate.
Now I should say that I've worked with the folks at Glamour before and generally found them to be a good group of people (down-to-earth, forward-thinking, helpful to women's issues, etc.) and if you're aren't already aware, Glamour magazine is the largest women's magazine in the country. Or so they told me--I'm kind of taking their word for that.
Anyway, to continue our little story, I became a Glambassador, complete with a virtual tiara (yea, go ahead and smirk) but it didn't really mean much. They had a few fancy events that were too far away for me to attend and they had a lot of advertisers that wanted me to give them free publicity. I did get a Flip video camera and a set of my own official Glambassador business cards (in case I ever want to try to impress them at the embassy or something) but in general it was "no big deal."
But at the beginning, when I first got the gig, I thought that maybe, just maybe, I ought to subscribe to the magazine for which I was now an official envoy (not having read it before). So I plunked down $15 (which also got me a complimentary subscription to Allure) and waited to see what I'd got myself into. Imagine my surprise, when upon viewing my first issue, I realized that I had now joined the throbbing hordes of women across America who (judging from the headlines) want to know "New Secrets about His Naked Body" and "101 Things No One Tells You about Guys: Their Sex Desires, Their Body Hang-ups and the Real Reasons They Cheat."
Come on, roll those eyes with me, ladies. Apparently they think we're all a bunch of desperate housewives. Make that trashy housewives.
It had been a while since I'd received a woman's magazine and my last subscriptions were to Martha Stewart Living and Better Homes and Gardens so to go from needle-felting and peonies to magazines promising to increase my pleasures and satisfy my man felt a little off-putting to me. And then there were the covers. Now I know I'm a bit of a prude but I happen to be working hard at raising two young boys to be considerate, caring and wholesome men which means keeping them away from the media definition of women as objects.
It took me all of two seconds to realize with my first issue (as I caught my boys staring wide-eyed at the bikini on the cover above) what I'd brought into our home and into the trashcan it went. I meant to call and just cancel my subscription outright but you know how things are, life is busy and as soon as I threw away each issue I'd forget about it until the next one showed up. In short I was too lazy to do anything about it and it was easier to just throw the magazine out than wait on hold for a customer service rep.
Well here it is, one year as a Glambassador, and my reign is coming to an end this month and to send me off in style I got the very last issue of my Allure subscription and as if Conde Nast were trying to get in one more hard kick to the solar plexus what do you think was blazing across the cover? The promise of fully naked pictures.
Too smutty to be true? That's what I thought but a quick flip reassured me that my reading skills were still top-notch because they did, in fact have a large multi-page layout (how large I didn't exactly stop to find out) of half a dozen or so famous females without their clothes.
Putting aside the bizarre of inconsistency of a magazine designed to entertain women showing pictures more appropriate for Playboy, ignoring the fact that it was thinly veiled "soft" pornography telling women they're only as valuable as their bodies, glancing past the glaring hypocrisy of showing women how to be beautiful while printing airbrush-enhanced photos of size-2 figures who have probably seen more than their fair share of a plastic surgeon's office--forgetting all of this, I was still furious.
Do they have to throw sex at us constantly? I'm so really and truly tired of it all. It's all over the television from the prime time shows to the commercials in between, it's in every movie to one degree or another, it's in books and magazines and it's never shown with any amount of accuracy. I'm trying so hard to keep the media's version of sex from my kids-- how will they ever understand what real intimacy and love is if this is all they see? It's like the media is run by a bunch of adolescent boys obsessed with sex and media board rooms are more like high school locker rooms.
So, Glamour/Allure, I'm returning your tiara and--once again--throwing your magazine away. I'm sure you won't miss me because there are plenty of others who don't find your publication offensive but as the mother of two sons who will some day be husbands and fathers and as the mother of two daughters who are trying to figure out who they are and what they are worth I don't want you around. Not in my house.
And to prove that I'm really not someone who sits around looking for things to complain about, ignoring what's great in the world, there are plenty of magazines that I do love. Besides the obvious ones that I already mentioned (or Cooking Light--I love Cooking Light) I can't say enough good things about Seeing the Everyday which is not only a beautiful publication (the feel of the paper and the format are luxurious) with beautiful pictures and layouts, it also has inspiring stories and simple thoughts that are like a breath of relaxation from the hectic world.
Besides, my Alaskan buddy Chrissy Dano Johnson is being published there (yea Chrissy!) and she blogs here and here. So I'll be a loyal fan forever.
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