March 26, 2004

The Agenda

I'm so damn The current mood of augustdreams at

One of the MSNBC links today was to an article on the 'Secret Agenda of Womens' Magazines'. Cute that they think it's a secret. Their sponsors want to sell clothes, cosmetics, diet pills, freakin' Botox injections. The list goes on. What they really want to sell us is a big, steaming pile of you're-not-good/sexy/pretty/thin/tall/short/smart-enough bullshit. This isn't a soapbox I usually stand on. The fact that I love reading the uplifting stories of real life heroes and kindness in every week's issue of Woman's World (this despite the fact that every, and I mean every issue has a new type of diet advertised on the front cover) and look forward to People Magazine's yearly Best and Worst dressed issue means that when I get up on this particular soapbox, I'm on some pretty shaky ground.

I do refuse to buy irredeemable garbage like 'Cosmopolitan' (To say that I hope Helen Gurley Brown rots in hell is to dramatically understate my contempt for her - she once wrote a book aimed at young women in which she stated that it was okay to be "just a body" or even "just a mouth" when that was what your lover wanted. Please excuse me while I fucking scream), but claiming that picking my magazine-poisons carefully puts me on some sort of moral high ground is like saying I'm almost as good as a vegetarian because I won't eat veal, though I love a good steak. I can't really call for editorial heads on a platter when I've sometimes spent my hard-earned money on some of their magazines.

What I will call for is a sea change in the media's ridiculous standards of "beauty". I love women's bodies. Beauty can be found in so many forms, from a delicate, slender build to round, luscious curves and everything in between. I'm attracted to real people, not airbrushed lies on a glossy page. Yet, over and over again, magazines, television shows and Hollywood want us to believe that we should all be wearing a size 2, we should be tall but oh-heavens-not-too-tall, we should have big breasts, flat stomachs and smooth, unlined faces. We should have straight, perfect teeth, bouncy, shining hair and flawless skin. We should have children but our bodies should then immediately revert to their pre-childbirth state. If we don't quite measure up to that, no worries! They can fix us with plastic surgery, liposuction, cellulite cream, at-home facial peels (Holy fuck! What sadist thought that up???) and the endless string of we-guarantee-this-will-make-your-life-better diets. That's their "secret" agenda. It's in every vacant, airbrushed smile, every Hollywood movie star lauded for losing another 20 pounds even as death seems to be grinning out at us from behind hollow, desperate eyes, every commercial for an "alternative" to Botox. (As though injecting poisons into our faces has become so mainstream that to do anything else is to rebel!)


Why can't we see wrinkles on a face and forehead as the lines that mark a thousand smiles? Why can't we see post-pregnancy stretch marks as a badge of honor? To carry and nurture another life inside your body is so much more impressive a feat than fitting into a pair of pre-baby bluejeans. Why can't we just see ourselves and each other as the unique and beautiful miracles that we are? And why am I so firm and certain in these beliefs of mine yet still unhappy when I put on a bikini? Why do I sometimes secretly fear that I'll never find anyone who wants a girl that doesn't fit the "ideal" even as I loathe it? Why the fuck do I care?

Have a good night, you guys. Thanks for reading.

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