Now of course I’m not naive enough to believe that women’s magazines are produced for anything other than profit. But this week when ‘O’ magazine told its readers that crop tops were ONLY to be worn if you had a flat stomach it did confirm what I had long to begun to suspect.
Women’s media isn’t their to champion and inspire women, it is there to remind us that we aren’t quite good enough.
It seems odd to have so many shelves of publications, run by women with the sole purpose of putting other women down, it is little wonder why we still struggle with gender equality when we can’t even back our own team.
But ‘O’ isn’t the only guilty party, they simply made the mistake of saying it out loud. Women’s magazines are as a rule generally much smarter at subliminally reminding you that you will never quite be ‘right’. From the one size advertising pushed within its pages to the constant barrage of diet tips, new wardrobe must haves, latest beauty trends and miracle treatments (who cares if a vampire facial literally makes you bleed right – you NEED this so you can be better) we have a whole fashion, beauty and diet industry based on striving to be anyone but who you are right now.
We can call it aspiration if you want and there is nothing wrong with wanting to change.
But I have always believed that any change you want has to come from within and should come from the desire to improve your quality of life in some way not because someone else has told you month after month that you don’t measure up.
There is nothing media love more than jumping on a bandwagon and when the Protein World ads decorated london at the start of swimwear season it seemed just a little hypocritical that so many women’s magazines were up in arms. After all how many bikini ready features fill up your favourite glossy as soon as April begins? Prepping you to get that all important, buffed, toned, peeled, cellulite free derriere before popping on your bikini.
The truth is the media industry is pretty messed up and it feels like a body image war is still ragging. I just wish that big magazines saw CSR (corporate social responsibility) as a real thing and not another tick box exercise. They need to realise that if anyone was in the position to really make women love themselves, well they have a starring role and its about time they started using it.