I have a love/hate relationship with magazines. On the pro side, they’re a mindless way to pass the time, and the very best can indeed captivate as great literature. They’re a (fairly) cheap way of indulging oneself. They’re often chock full of helpful information, practical advice and useful tips. And as someone who writes a food blog (that OTHER Daily Dish), they’re a treasure trove of recipes.
But part of the reason I hate magazines is because there are just so many of them. Every niche market seems to have one or more magazines devoted to its audience, from cats and other pets, to gamer mags, muscle building, hot rods, motorcycles, gardening, photography, puzzle books, fashions, technology, travel, art, decorating, home repair — YOU NAME IT and there’s a magazine for it. I am not angry because we have so much choice! On the contrary, I think it’s great for any person with an interest or hobby to be able to find another outlet for it. But
Magazines are becoming very little other than a vehicle for marketing. Open any magazine and spend ten minutes flipping through & counting pages of real content versus ads.
Free content is a great thing and that is why I LOVE the internet. But magazines, March 25, 2011, are less about content than sales. And by narrowing down interests further and further and further these highly identifiable niche markets fall into advertisers laps. Nowadays magazines are as much about identifying “buyers” as they are about providing quality content. And often, MORE.
As long time subscribers to This Old House magazine, my husband and I used to enjoy lengthy articles on DIY projects of substance. How regular Joes and Janes could undertake work themselves, rolling up sleeves, swinging sledge hammers and getting it DONE. Nowadays TOH seems more about decorating or how to impress people with renovations completed by paid professionals. It’s become a facilitator – not in the way it used to be, by educating and empowering its readers to DO – but as a go-between for sellers and the public, a means of suggesting selection and purchase, rather than instruction. No big deal, right? But when you look to a magazine such as This Old House for assistance – not in buying something, but in DOING SOMETHING – it’s sad.
As a woman, it’s worse. Fashion magazines can be fun and interesting, but all of them to some extent are geared to make women feel terrible about themselves. Why? B/c otherwise they lose their point. Other than sex tips, fashion trends or style advice, truly they serve no purpose except to facilitate consumption of (you name it). Clothes, shoes, cosmetics, accessories. And readers by default become too fat, too pale, too dark, too ugly. Your clothes suck, you’re unfashionable, you have bad hair/skin/nails. You have wrinkles. Your boobs are too big or too small. Your ass is either of the above – or worse yet, sagging. Things you didn’t even know existed five minutes before become MUST-HAVE ESSENTIALS! Not b/c they’re truly valuable or even effective, but b/c you NEED! to be better in whatever way you’ve been brainwashed to believe you’re lacking. Ladies, do yourselves a favor. Put down the magazine. Step away. Throw a match and run.
Even worse than fashion magazines are the bottom feeders. AKA: TABLOIDS. To the people who run these magazines, write (?) for these magazines, and worst yet _ TAKE PHOTOS for these magazines, I say GET A F*CKING LIFE. I don’t care what celebrities are up to. Apart from their careers, they’re people just like you & I. They get up, take dumps, bathe, try to earn a living. They feed themselves and their kids if they have them. They drink, or not. They shop, maybe more than some – but who gives a crap? These people may have gone into show business, but it doesn’t mean their private lives are open for show. This is what tabloids do. Rather than marketing handbags or concrete, they market the private lives of celebrities. People who, despite public careers, should have a RIGHT TO PRIVACY. Can you imagine what it must be like, not being able to leave your home without fear? Having people follow you, take pictures of you, intrude on your physical space? I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy.