I like magazines. Or at least I WANT to like them. Especially when I have to spend alot of time in airports and airplanes where I have a bit of time to read, but I'm not really focused enough to get lost in a book. That's why it's so frustrating for me to stand in front of rows and rows of magazines in the store and realize that there is a dull and predictable sameness to them. I suppose they're not ALL the same - I could pick up Popular Mechanics or Motorcycle Repair - but those that are marketed for women sure look homogenous to me.
Seriously. Here's a list of the headlines you can find on the front of almost every woman's magazine:
"Spice up your love life"
"The diet that will change your life"
"Dr. Phil's relationship tips"
"Tips for managing your household budget"
"Fashion feature - clothes for the real you"
"Simple exercises to fit into your busy day"
"Five meals you can make in under half an hour"
If I were to start a magazine, I would call it "Smart Woman", and this would be my list of criteria for its contents:
- There would only be ORDINARY women featured on its pages. NO airbrushing
- There would be NO fashion tips - or if there were any, they would include SENSIBLE SHOES
- There would be smart articles for women with IQs higher than Paris Hilton
- Dr. Phil would NEVER be quoted. NEVER.
- The word "diet" would be banished from the pages. Anyone who dared to use the word would be forced to do penance by eating the whole magazine, cover to cover.
- The index would be easy to find - on the FIRST page (now there's a novel concept!), not buried in the middle of sixteen pages of advertisements
- There would be book recommendations by ordinary people, not those who'd been courted by big publishing companies
- There would be less assumption that women are self-centred, egocentric airheads and more assumption that they are smart and worldly-wise, caring about things like the environment, the millions of people dying of hunger and HIV/AIDS, and the world outside their walk-in closet
- If there were any celebrities featured, they would be the people who had shown strength in the middle of adversity, lived a moral and ethical life, made a difference for social causes, or proved that a marriage and family can stay together even in Hollywood - REAL inspiration
- It would NEVER mention anything about the assumed battle between stay-at-home moms and working-outside-the-home moms because it would assume that women are REALLY smart enough to respect each other's lifestyle choices
- In every issue, it would include some piece of writing that was of literary value - a poem, essay, or short story. Again, it would assume that women are smart enough to want to read that kind of stuff.
- It would also include artistic images - photographs taken by someone other than the fashion photographer, paintings, etc. There would be visual surprises throughout - things that made you just stop and stare at a page for awhile.
- It would not assume that EVERY woman is interested in scrapbooking and stamping
- Some of the recipes included would be about SLOW cooking, not just about FAST cooking
Anyone want to subscribe to my magazine?