Articles that begin with “Most women … (are actually lizards!)” or “Men secretly love… (lizard women with bionic feet?!)” are always going to be three things: in Cosmopolitan magazine, absolutely abysmal and, used to line my cat’s litter box.
"...eat a creamy doughnut off your husband’s wang to keep the fire alive.."
Those articles will shriek about how women are Tampon Goddesses and men are penises in suits and they are eternally locked in sexy trench-warfare. The bumbling military theme will probably continue…firing blanks, making love not war and no doubt some wildly inappropriate hat-tip to mustard gas and farts.
The “author” will finally drag that flayed horse corpse over the finish line and my eyes will become a little darker as I contemplate which household chemical I can ingest to purge my brain of what I just read.
I always stop though, just before I smash* my post work-out** banana-protein-bleach smoothie *** and reassure myself that I live in a world where most people don’t take note of Cosmo and her braying ilk.
But it makes me shudder. In the words of any teenage girl anywhere, I just can’t even…. so why do “women’s” magazines make me sick in such a unique way?
Let's not even discuss the ripe, sexist subtext ("50 sexy ways to oppress yourself this summer!") because that's a can of PHALLUSES for another occasion. I think it’s because women’s magazines aren’t written for adult women, they’re written for teenage girls. Let’s face it, adults with jobs and responsibilities and money, who have sex with and interact with other fully-formed humans, do not exhibit the three typical behaviours of a Cosmo “woman”.
They do not:
- Become hysterical, rabid and aroused at the mention of handbags, shoes or hats.
- Shorten words (‘prep’, ‘probs’, ‘glam’) or add irritating prefixes and suffixes (‘lust-have’, ‘lol-worthy’, ‘nom-able’), to make conversation not only inane but also incomprehensible.
- Study the finer techniques of man pleasing like it’s a university major
And that’s because when you grow into womanhood, you start to figure out that whatever you’re into, be it make-up, anime, bike-riding, etc, you’ve got to be unapologetic about it. You must sit contently on the knowledge that your interests are unique to you as a person, not as a woman. And that women aren’t a homogenous brood of hens, clucking in unison about make-up and SATC and scrotums. You also figure out that man-pleasing is basic, eyebrows are important and that sexism is real, but so is feminism.
When I read Cosmo before I had discovered all that out, it was super confusing. Doesn't it seem all kinds of unethical to publish erroneous advice for teenagers who are looking for sexy love? Telling them to ‘lick his eyelids, and then blow on your saliva’ is kind of akin to Diabetes Australia publishing an article saying "My girlfriend Sue says IHO sugar is probably fine...eat a creamy doughnut off your husband’s wang to keep the fire alive or he might leave you for a woman who can regulate insulin!”.
Women’s magazines should be against indoctrinating young girls with the idea that happiness comes from finding and pleasing a man, or consenting that the common language connecting women is inane chatter and ridiculous quizzes.
What I would really love to see is a young women’s magazine about sex/life/growing up that has nothing to do with pleasing men because that would be worth a read at any age.
*drink from a curly straw **didn’t work out couldn’t find socks ***milo on ice-cream and a G&T