Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Not in My House

Allure MagazineYou 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 eye
s 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.

Sponsored by findyourschool.com--Find the perfect school in your area.

58 comments:

Chris said...

I don't understand why a magazine for women would have naked pictures of women we will never look like. Are they just trying to make us feel bad about ourselves? Probably- with the intentions of getting us to buy junk to make us think we can.

We need a Real Women's magazine. One we'd want to buy. Most of the women's magazines on the stands don't appeal to me. They either tell me how to please my man or stop feeling tired (seriously, every issue of First is about curing the tired) and lose 10 lbs.

My daughter can't stand magazines of people 'in their underwear.' She says 'that's not appropriate.' And she's 7!! She has definite opinions.

Carina said...

I have always hated those magazines. I'm an addicted reader, and I don't just mean sitting down and reading a book. I mean I can't not read unless I'm actively moving or watching something else. So standing in line at the grocery store, my eyes scan headlines and titles completely unbidden. I know that I'm going to be disgusted and annoyed, but my brain will explode if I stand there without reading something. All that to say, even though I've never actually opened one of those magazines, I feel justified in detesting their titles and content as representing the absolute worst of our society, and an inspiration to large bonfires.

Lora Lynn @ Vitafamiliae said...

Preach it, Sister.

Jolanthe said...

I'm COMPLETELY with you on this. I cancelled a subscription to Better Homes and Gardens because the ads inside {for lotion} are the same thing. Might not be on the cover, but it was definitely not something that I would want my kids flipping through to find!

Mrs. Ohtobe said...

And then now there are the pictures of the Miss America contestants and all the debate about how scantily clad these women are. Really magazine folks: put some pants on your models already! WTG Michelle!

Summer said...

The sad thing is, skanky magazines wouldn't be on the news stands if they weren't selling like hot cakes. The media is pumping out the trash to a welcoming audience.

Tinctures 'N' Thyme said...

Good for you! This was so very well written and I'm with you in your opinion of the whole thing. Can't wait to highlight this post.

=)

~Maria

This Eclectic Life said...

Brava! Well said, Michelle. I like your quote about your sons: "raising two young boys to be considerate, caring and wholesome men." Imagine how detrimental it would be to have these magazines in your house while you were trying to raise girl to have a healthy sense of their self-worth that doesn't include body image!
If the internet and technology causes damage to printed media, I hope magazines like these are the first to go!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post. My husband was led slowly into a porn addiction by magazines and ads such as this. I praise Jesus that he no longer is enslaved by this, but we've spent plenty of time in tears and counseling over what started as him picking up the mail for his mom and sisters. Thanks for calling attention to this and for your heart to protect your children.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post. My husband was led slowly into a porn addiction by magazines and ads such as this. I praise Jesus that he no longer is enslaved by this, but we've spent plenty of time in tears and counseling over what started as him picking up the mail for his mom and sisters. Thanks for calling attention to this and for your heart to protect your children.

J at www.jellyjules.com said...

The only reason they print this crap is because people buy it. If more people were disgusted by it, they would print whatever those people wanted. Not that that helps any.

I, too, am exhausted by the constant pressure of sex on everyone. I am a fan of sex. It is a natural part of all life on earth, and an extremely powerful force within us. But it should not be cheapened and diminished, and I hate that it is. Our girls should not be pressured into thinking that is all they are worth, our boys should not be pressured into thinking that is all they are worth, or there is something wrong with them if they aren't pressuring girls for sex, and the whole body image thing is beyond infuriating. Teens compare themselves to everything and everyone, and are so hard on themselves. I think these unrealistic views of what people look like and how they live their lives is dangerous.

The only possible reason to keep an issue would be to start a good conversation with your kids about it. But sadly, there are plenty of opportunities to do that, without the crap in your house. Movies, TV, magazines in the store, etc.

Shannon said...

I couldn't agree more!

Lisa J Visbeen Lehmann said...

well said! that is the same reason LUCKY magazine no longer comes to my house....the wide eyed looks from my teenagers and tweens was enough for me to say....NO MORE!

blech :(

Leigh said...

ugh! Way to go - hopefully your time as a Glambassador will actually do some good and they will pay attention to this post and the people that agree with you - the publishers might actually learn that there are people out there that DO NOT WANT TO SEE THIS SMUT IN ANY CAPACITY!

Scribbit said...

Chris--your comment made me chuckle because lately we've let the kids watch American Idol. But even that isn't safe. Most of the time when they have guest performers the performances are all sexual and skanky and then the ads in between are gross too--how many times do I have to have Victoria's Secret blinding my retinas? There isn't anything that's safe to watch anymore.

Shelly @ Life on the Wild Side said...

Amen, Sister! I'm so glad you wrote this.

Anonymous said...

YOU TELL IT, GIRL!
I'm sick of those magz! They are horrible!
I have 2 teen daughters and a college age son that I've been trying to protect from such garbage!
It's a pathetic world!
I'm shocked on a daily basis by what the media throws out to us.

One thing: NEVER let it seem "normal" to your kids. Make sure they know...that crap is just that, CRAP!!

Mothers, Ink said...

I just subscribed to MORE magazine. It's a great read!

Jenny86753oh9 said...

I had a Glamour from last summer on my nightstand and as I was putting on makeup I heard my 10yo tell my 6yo, "Put that down...it's a woman's magazine and it's inappropriate for you to look at." On one hand I was proud of my 10yo but on the other hand I wasn't so proud of myself of having that kind of temptation so close to their hands/mind.

Amber@ClassicHousewife said...

Thank you SO MUCH for writing a post like this. Not only do I NOT have to buy the trashy mags myself in order to examine and critique them but stuff like this needs to be said.
I'm retweeting and linking the crud outta this one. ;)

Anita said...

I am completely with you on this. I won't even accept free subscriptions to these...and I LOVE free! I also don't read Redbook anymore. Once upon a time it was a great woman's mag, now it is right there with these...maybe not the nudity (yet) but the same type of articles. Aaarrrggg!

And I know you're not a fuss-pot...this is a very warranted and well accepted rant!

Love ya!
(¯`v´¯)
`*.¸.*´
¸.•´¸.•*¨) ¸.•*¨)
(¸.•´ (¸.•´ .•´ ¸¸.•¨¯`♥Anita

Scribbit said...

And I suppose I should sheepishly admit, while I"m on my diatribing high horse here, that if I'd had a bit more strength of character I would have called the magazine and canceled my subscription outright with the first issue. But you know, contrary to the image I may put out here, I actually don't like conflict and I took the coward's way out by just leaving them in the wrapper and throwing them out.

But I'd be due some criticism on that point I'm sure.

trishandherbike said...

Love this post. I attended a Self workout in the park in Chicago at the urging of my friend. It came with a subscription; I never even unwrapped the magazine from its plastic until I went to recycle it. I feel like all the news is just rehashed month to month, magazine to magazine. I do like Real Simple, Wired, ReadyMade and Cooking Light is a good one although I don't get it!

An Ordinary Mom said...

You said it very well - yet even seeing these magazine covers in your post is terrible on the eyes. Maybe you should censor them a bit :) !!

Beth said...

Thanks for this post, I could not agree with you more. I really love BOOKMARKS magazine, it has lots of great book reviews, and I share your affection for COOKING LIGHT.

Inkling said...

Amen. Thanks for posting your thoughts. I remember being a teenager and ordering 17 Magazine because a friend of mine had been chosen as one of their models. After a couple of issues that totally offended my sense of modesty and what I believe my faith teaches, I wrote them and canceled my subscription. They obviously failed to listen, and sent back an offer for a free subscription! They didn't get the message, but fortunately, their magazine stopped coming. Now, I just wish that the yahoo home page would stop sharing garbage front and center while I'm trying to check email.

You are right. You do have to go to great lengths to protect your kiddos. Once those images are imprinted on the brain, it is extremely difficult to forget them. Kudos to you for helping your kids grow up with a good kind of innocence.

Formerly Gracie said...

Since my children were born, I haven't had time to any magazines. It's probably for the best. Great post. I couldn't agreed more!

oh amanda said...

THANK YOU! Now that's a real glambassador! Seriously. It makes me ill to see sex so callously thrown everywhere. And doesn't Glamour have a teen mag, too? Yuck.

Thanks for speaking for REAL women!

Tracey said...

I hope that the two daughters whom I am protecting from these types of images some day meet two young men who had a mother intelligent and concerned enough to protect them from the same ones. Great post!

Sheri said...

One of my friends used to give me all her old magazines, most of which were of the cooking variety. Mixed in with one of the piles was an Allure. My husband happened to come across it before I did, and he brought it to me asking what if they boys had found it first. He was referring to the lingerie clad, half naked woman on the cover. I do feel like a prude a lot of the time, but I still don't want that lying around my home. I still don't want to watch Victoria's Secret commercials with my SONS. Our society is swamped with sexuality, and yet people wonder "what is wrong with kids these days?" Seems obvious to me.

Good for you for writing this!

Chrissy Johnson said...

Yay, thanks for the shoutout!

I appreciate Glamour for featuring Crystal Renn, a gorgeous "real sized" model (she has a really powerful memoir about about her eating disorder as a skinny model). But the rest of it is just vapid. I used to enjoy Allure, but it too has grown vapid. Marie Claire has a conscience, at least, and features some really good social commentary and editorial pieces about social issues.

Chrissy Johnson said...

Oh, and I have to say one more thing (you know me!). I would rather magazines show lots of naked ladies than be inundated with violence and blood when we tune into Discovery or TLC to watch a nature show or something. They've been cross-promoting super scary, violent stuff and THAT is what I don't want my son to see. I don't care if he sees boobs and butts, I DO care if he sees someone shooting someone!

Motherhood For Dummies said...

100% agree. These days it isn't if you children are going to see porn or something sexual.... but how much they will see. And when you can even go to the grociery store without your children having magazine covers filled with "how to please your man" and other wont be mentioned titles... how can we raise children away from this filth.

And what is worse... is that because I don't want to see that crap, I'm considered a prude, a conservative, close minded... and i hate that. Why should people having standards good ol' fashion morals be close minded and prudish.

Kerry said...

You are awesome! Just stumbled across your blog and kept saying YES YES YES as I read your post on Glamour and saw a Miss USA commercial with gilttery, sexed-up girls across my screen. We need more women to stand up for all of us!
Kerry

M said...

Get THIS! I subscribed to Cookie Magazine when it first came out - which is a sort of hoity- toity version of Parents. The mag went under midway through my subscription and the company sends me Allure instead. The first issue I receive is the one you have pictured here. I'm like, I paid for parenting tips and you send me naked Catherine Zeta-Jones! No thanks!

Blond Girl said...

You know, I love everything you said. However, it would be good if you could take the time and let the magazine know how you feel. The reason I say this is that every magazine that sells with a "naked pictures" headline only reinforces the company that they're doing the right thing and the magazine is selling. A magazine thrown in the trash does nothing to let them know how you feel; it is still a sale.

However, if that same magazine is returned to the company, or if a letter is written, THAT is what gets the attention. On the front page of the magazine are all the names of the editors at the magazine. You can find the general editor, or the sales manager's name then google for the company's email structure. Send an email; forward a copy of this post and all the comments of your readers who agree. It is active feedback rather than passive rejection that will get your point across.

Way to go, girl!

Shauna said...

I am giving you a standing ovation as I applaud furiously! You are so right! I have three daughters and one teenage son, and I find it so difficult to keep the icons of a demented world at bay. It's bad enough that men demean women, but to have women demean themselves is an inexplicable facet of a twisted society. Thank you for being vocal about this. I really enjoy your blog. Yours is the first blog that I began to read. I enjoy your writing style and your forthrightness so much. My hat is off to you.

Beth said...

Thank you for your post. What a great reminder to us as Mom's that it is our responsibility to raise our boys to be considerate, caring and wholesome men. And that we as women have a responsibility to our daughters to have the right body image.

Heart2Heart said...

Michelle,

I guess people still believe that "sex" sells everything. I can't stand how so many advertisers still think this is true when that is all we see anymore. Perhaps someone will take us seriously and stopping marketing magazines that deal with those issues. You've hit this one right on target.

Love and Hugs ~ Kat

Sam and Carmin said...

Thanks for keeping it real, Michelle!

Inkling said...

You know, I don't normally go back and read the comments or comment again on them, but I wanted to add something. A long time ago, Dr. James Dobson interviewed Ted Bundy (the convicted criminal). Ted told him that his lust for hurting women all started with looking at pictures of them scantily clad. His appetite grew, and thus his search for harder core pictures grew, and then it morphed into real live women. For the reader who minds less if her son sees nudity versus violence, I'd have to say that both are equally as hurtful to a young person. Pornography addiction is a huge thing, and I know this firsthand. My own husband provides accountability to a guy we know to help him deal with this issue, and my own brother once fought the same battle. It's every man's battle, and we as women and moms would do well to help our husbands fight that battle and keep our sons from ever having to fight it. Plus, as a woman who considers herself God's daughter, I don't want to sell myself short or any other of my gender. God created us with purpose and great value. The way the world portrays us undercuts that value and cheapens our worth and purpose. This is a much bigger deal than some might realize.

Kayris said...

I like Self, it's full of great recipes and tips for being healthy. I didn't get how a previous poster had a problem with it. I'm really okay with a cover with a woman wearing a bikini on it if she's standing next to a surfboard and looking like she's 5 seconds away from jumping in the water. I'm NOT okay with bikini models who look like they are 5 seconds away from being naked.

Strange how famous women take their clothes off for a photographer to prove how strong and confident they are. I don't think I've ever seen such a spread with famous men in it.

Chrissy Johnson said...

@Inkling: Totally respect your p.o.v and point. Completely. I don't think that every man who views a scantily clad woman, or a tasteful, artful representation of the nude body is going to develop a problem. However, a lot of magazines don't show tasteful, artful representations of the human body, and THOSE are the images I don't mind my son seeing. Think Man Ray's photographs, or Rodin sculptures. I think that a healthy perception of the beautiful bodies that God gave us can strengthen society, and release unhealthy stigmas attached.

Melissa Stover said...

oh my word! me too! i can't even stand to look at them when i'm checking out at walmart.

page2 said...

Thank you, Michelle. You speak for me too.

exotic1 said...

Not In My House Either~! It's not so much the Magazine's that get to me because as you said you subscribe or buy one at the store. It's television today that burns me so bad. You know how many movies that would be OK for my 13yr old to watch with us if they hadn't thrown in a 30 second sex scene! And it did nothing to add or improve to the movie. Why do they think they have to add this to every single movie that isn't put out by Disney??? I also hate to differ with their ratings too. PG-13 I don't think so! Now before we can even watch a movie PG-13 or not we have to view the movie first to see if it's fit for our 13yr old which ruins it because now we have to watch it twice to spend movie time with him. He is at the age where he doesn't really want to watch all Disney movies but now a days it's the only thing fit to watch~! Grrrrr

Elizabeth said...

You're so right. I recently subscribed again to a couple magazines I read years ago, and I couldn't believe how they had changed.

JanMary said...

Well done for taking a stand.

I subscribe to Country Living - only naked Aga's in it! An probably some chic welly boots :)

Karen Olson said...

"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."

Exactly.

And as the mother of a 13 year old girl, I am constantly fighting this exposure so my daughter can feel confident in herself as a girl and a woman without feeling constantly sexualized.

We decided a few years ago that even Disney's got all this crap in it, so we bought a bunch of boxed DVD sets: I Love Lucy, the Odd Couple, and The Mary Tyler Moore Show. She watches them instead and loves them. And while they're old, they do stand up to the test of time and are still really really funny.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you; magazines need to stop putting pictures of scantily- clad women on the cover or anywhere else. It is an insult to women.

The pictures in your post bother me greatly.

Flea said...

I am so with you on this. We get woodworking and DIY mags. Sew Beautiful used to be one my favorites. And we stopped watching TV a few years ago. I also have to boys to raise, as well as a husband. Gah!

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you. I've been trying to figure out how to order a swimsuit I love from Victoria's Secret without receiving their catalog every month in the mail. Even if I throw it straight in the recycling bin I still don't like it even being in the house.

Starving Student Survivor said...

That's why I don't like reading magazines like that, or going to the movie theater, or watching TV, or going to the mall. I have to say living in a bubble is wonderful!

happyenchilada said...

I received a Glamour subscription as an bonus I received on HSN..I've only read it around 3 months now but I think they're gearing away from the "Cosmo" style. In the issues I've read they are starting to feature regular sized women in some of their spreads and they didn't even say here look at this plus sized model (size 12 being plus sized..which in itself is so ridiculous..but that's another story). So perhaps they ARE listening to us "real" women and what we want to see more.
Anyway the magazine that burns me up is Seventeen!! I was going to get my preteen daughter a subscription as she's really into wanting to be a fashion designer and I wanted a magazine that wasn't too grown up well well well was I wrong. I wouldn't even let a 17 year old read the extremely degrading and poorly written smut that they pass off as journalism. I consider my self a pretty liberal minded person but I truly felt offended by what they were writing for teenagers. They should change the name to "28 and Slutty" in my opinion.
good post by the way..I came over from Metropolitan Mama who has a link to it on her site.

Kathleen said...

Loved this post. I got Glamour in the mail after Domino was canceled (oddly, I don't see why Glamour was a comparable replacement). Like you, I kept meaning to cancel it because I really hate magazines like that which are so shallow and make women feel like crap, generally. I finally did cancel it a few months ago, but it still keeps showing up! It goes right into the recycling.

guineaus said...

That is very disappointing as I like Glamour and it is one of the only mainstream women's magazines that I do like.

I adore Bust magazine. It is a great feminist women's magazine.

Stephanie said...

*Applauding*

Who are they marketing their magazine to anyway? Certainly not educated, forward-thinking, and family-oriented women & mothers!

stephanie@metropolitanmama.net

Heidi said...

I completely agree!