Newsstand Death Rattle

If the glossy pages of Glamour Magazine could speak for women, they would utter over and over again, in between relentless ads, that women only care about clothes, make-up, sex, and celebrities. The question, however, remains that if the pages did speak, would women revolt or nod in agreement?

The selection of women’s magazines at the newsstand is a wall of pastels, air brushed celebrities, and redundant exclamation marks; the mild (perhaps desperate) death rattle of female empowerment is audible to only those who are not dedicated readers of “Get the Body You Were Born to Have,” and “8 Things Guys Crave in Bed.” If Simone de Beauvoir went to hell, she is surely in an endless newsstand aisle of American women’s magazines.

For the moment the not-so-endless aisle at this newsstand displays, among others, Glamour Magazine, which begins its descent into the stereotype with 21 pages of alienating advertisements in its September issue. The highlights in the table of contents seem to be the same as last month’s except that they have been worded differently. At this point, one contemplates if it is through talent or mere luck, that recycled news about sex, clothes, beauty buys, and better bodies can still be interesting. In other words, how is it possible that women’s magazines give their readers the different version of the exact same thing over and over without running out of material or losing readers?

Angry fingers flip through page after page of cluttered celebrity photographs, gargantuan unorganized photos of jewelry and make up, childish speech bubbles, and terrible jokes. Is this magazine for a woman or for story time before kindergarten naps?

With a small twinge of embarrassment I pay for the magazine at the counter, after all, the magazine we choose to read tells others about who we are. Glamour has underestimated what makes women feel empowered while buying a magazine; simple but sophisticated design and articles that deal with intelligent issues is the true material of success. Glamour has failed in this endeavor of empowering women by supplying them with information that sustain stereotypes about women rather than acknowledging and promoting their sophisticated tastes and intellectual abilities. Beneath the bright colors and big pictures, the death rattle of female liberation lingers awaiting resuscitation.

-Feride Yalav





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