Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The right to bare arms

While recently enjoying a vanilla latte (and not a quarter strength caramel latte, like the woman in front of me. Whether it was the caramel or the coffee that was at quarter strength, remains a Gloria Jeans mystery akin to their enviro-friendly non-recyclable cups), I decided to flick through Grazia magazine. Poor old Grazia hasn't had much of a welcome since launching a year ago (this week's issue is their birthday issue and actually reasonable value, with less carbs then a muffin, at $2.50) and I must say I find it hard to warm to. Flitting between waiting-room trashy celeb gossip and $700 shoes makes me queasy. But then I stumbled on an article on Michelle Obama - god forbid, she has been nicknamed Mobama. Michelle O takes up too much space apparently. Grazia isn't exactly Marie Claire when it comes to reportage, but this particular article just took the cake - the only interesting thing to report on the First Lady was the fact she has toned arms. Yes, despite being an accomplished woman and the wife of the most influential man on the planet, the whole double page spread was devoted to how you too can get toned but not muscly arms, just like Mobama. OH. MY. GOD. It's easy to see why glossy mags are in decline, with women growing increasingly disenchanted with thinly disguised advertorial, repetitive content and ridiculously unnattainable wardrobes/figures/lifestyles. This post from Liz Jones on the UK's Daily Mail site says it all:

"And don't get me started on the fashion pages. Remember that notorious feature in Vogue a couple of months ago when it told you all about new ways - the 'Grab', the 'Twist' - to carry your handbag? I mean, come on! We have had The Female Eunuch, The Beauty Myth, the Equal Pay Act, and this is the sort of twaddle that is still being fed to us?
Isn't it time they all tried a little bit harder to be on our side, to help us through the mire of recession rather than trying to brainwash us into buying ever more stuff we didn't know we needed in the first place?
We don't want to read about contstant doom and gloom. Reading about frocks and shoes and lippies is a way of escape, of girly pleasure, that most of us enjoy. But suggesting unwearable $1000 shoes are the must-have of the month, or that another "beach ready bikini body" special is something that we want or need is wearing thin. Women are tired of being told we're not good enough. I don't know anybody who can afford mountains of expensive handbags or wants to wear those must-have gold sequinned harem pants. Even the rehashed same-same covers, a result of limited and dwindling budgets, aren't inspiring women to even pick the magazines up off the shelves. Check out this month's varied and inspiring offerings (pics from Girl With A Satchel):

The last few months have been a constant Cameron/Kate/Scarlett overload (this month, it's all Cameron). IT'S BORING! I would rather see an anonymous model with an interesting face/outfit/pose and a catchy coverline than another celeb. I would like to put it out there that most of us have more important things going on in our lives then getting toned pinkie fingers. I'd bet you a Balenciaga bag Michelle Obama does. While I do stop to admire her outfits, I admire her person much more. Who seriously gives a fig how she gets away with sleeveless tops - when the American Contsitution was drafted, I would dare say this was not the Right to Bear Arms they were talking about.


  1. Brilliant post Kat. For crying out loud, magazine editors, give us some credit for having at least a few brains!