I subscribe to W magazine, for reasons I can’t really put my finger on anymore. But I’ve decided to let my subscription lapse this time — probably permanently, and it started to click for me why magazines like this are losing their edge. Between the pictures of Manhattan socialites getting married and the expected load of ads for clothes no one I know can afford, fashion magazines do get tiring. But usually I can look past these little obstacles for the sake of some intelligent content. But this issue was the last straw. In fact, one article in particular was that straw. The article is entitled, “The Lazy Girl’s Guide To A Slimmer Body.” And, pardon my crassness, but it made me want to throw up.
For the sake of profitability, a fashion magazine should be aiming to relate to its audience. Sure, we want to feel like identifying with the ladies on these pretty pages is something just out of our reach — that’s why we ogle the mags in the first place. Fashion is elusive by definition. It’s always changing. We want to chase it, I guess. But that’s sort of an age-old conundrum we’ve made peace with as women. So when I saw this article I thought, “Oh good, another workout plan that promises to be quick and easy.” Which, as silly as it sounds, really does exist. I take 3-mile walks nearly every night with my boyfriend and I take 20 minutes to crank out 150 crunches and as many leg lifts every night to keep my belly flat. Whatever. As women we make efforts to look good, whatever that means for each one of us. But I started reading this article, and was pretty surprised at what I found.
First of all, the piece is written by the executive editor of Bon Appetit magazine. So she starts by relating to the reader about how her job requires her to eat a lot, and how she can never seem to lose that little bit of belly fat. We’ve all been somewhere like that. Booze and butter love to take up residence right there in the womb area, and it sucks. I was on board. But then she starts in on her “lazy girl” solution: Outrageously expensive body sculpting spa treatments that start at $185 per treatment and go quickly into the thousands. And lovelies, I do not object to these treatments. I want to go on record as saying that if I had the money and my body betrayed me, I’d be first in line for this stuff. It’s non-invasive (no knives), and it encourages detoxification of your body. Those are great, and if you can get results with a “lazy girl’s” amount of effort (i.e. replace effort with wads of cash), more power to you. She earned her position as a head honcho at a huge magazine, she deserves whatever she can afford.
But that’s not the point. The point is that no one subscribing to this magazine — I mean, I know I’m making a gross generalization, but there’s a reason we’re called the 99% — can relate to what this woman is talking about. Coolsculpting? A month’s worth of treatments coming in at $2,500? That’s what many (lucky) American women make in a month. So while no one forced their hand and made them open this magazine, much less subscribe to it, it does stand to reason that the idea is to sell magazines, not entirely alienate the readers.
So, sure, people are entitled to living however they want. But while magazines are lamenting loss in sales and can’t figure out why celebs on the cover aren’t doing the trick they used to to get people to grab the mags at the checkout counter, perhaps it’s because women pick up fashion magazines to aspire to better, more lavishly beautiful things. They don’t pick them up to read about how the upper crust have problems, too — but that their problems have quick (albeit expensive) solutions. For all the dreaming women do looking at the editorials in these publications, the last thing they’re looking for is to turn the page and have someone tell them their dreams are hilariously unattainable. Like I said before, I want in no way to be mistaken for someone who has disdain for the successful and wealthy. I just don’t think this is the way to sell magazines.
Lovelies, do you still read any fashion magazines? Why or why not?