I am a hypocrite and am willing to admit it. Well, at least for this particular issue. My husband has regularly had to endure my long and tedious pontifications about womens' magazines. Many's the time I've waah-waah-waahed on about them daring to display unrealistic images of starving models; promoting fashions that are completely unaffordable and including confronting articles on how to achieve a sex life that Pamela Anderson would envy - all of which make us feel completely inadequate. However, I still end up buying and reading the damn things.
Why? I have a post graduate qualification, read the obligatory 'literature' over airport novels and like to think that I have a vague awareness of current events. Yet I can also tell you that Paris Hilton's dog is called Tinkerbell; Elle's youngest toddler badly needs a haircut and Jude Law is a cad. A very good looking cad nevertheless. Articles on Lindsey Lohan and Nicole Richie's drastic weight loss have been avidly digested (pun intended), as has the ongoing saga of Brad'n'Angelina'n'Jennifer. My husband tells me that he's rather envious of Brad - that's right, he too likes to flick through the mags but won't ever admit it. The scientist/physicist within him is horrified at the blokey/Benny Hill that lurks within and once a week breaks through his serious exterior and leaps onto the latest magazine left on the coffee table.
Still, the question of 'why?' hasn't been addressed. It's not a quality I'm proud of, but the reason why I like buying and reading these magazines is to see stars and wanna-be celebrities when things don't go right. When they haven't managed to hang on to their hunky A-list bloke; when they've gained weight or been seen throwing a full-on tantrum after a long evening at the latest Hollywood hot spot. After all, it's these people whom the glossier magazines like to shove down our throats as being what we should all aspire to.
It seems like every friggin' article about Elle MacPherson is titled: 'Super Model, Super Mum', gushing about her body, beauty, wealthy, gorgeous partner and the sheer joy of motherhood. Aaaaugh!! I'm sure it is all a bloody joy if you have secretaries, dieticians, chefs, housekeepers, nannies, chauffeurs, stylists, gardeners, personal trainers and publicists around every day to help. Also, not many of us have a lingerie line to call our own, unless you count the damp ones hanging from the clothes horse in the spare room.
However, even with all of the above-mentioned help, Elle didn't escape post-natal depression or have an enduring relationship, did she? Those couple of negatives haven't stopped the magazine editors from featuring a photo of her this week on holiday in the Bahamas wearing a string bikini with captions like 'She's still got it', and 'The Body is now single, fellas!'. And, at first glance, she does look good. On second glance however she looks all of her 42 years - a freckly, leathery, over-tanned strip of beef jerky from whose hips you could slice the ham for your lunchtime sandwich. Her arms have those big ropey veins (as has Madonna) that reveal many years of dieting for too long and too hard. The hair is dry, stringy and a bit too young for her now.
Hah! A nasty reaction from me, but it's one that keeps me buying each new issue. Liz Hurley's another one for making me feel better about myself. Imagine being famous just for wearing some gold safety pins that accidentally snagged some black threads at a movie premiere. And then only because your boyfriend was caught with a lowly $20 streetwalker with her head in his lap. Bless her, but it only got worse for her, didn't it when the father of her baby publicly and humiliatingly denied paternity until proven wrong by a DNA test...... Other classics include Jerry Hall - for years a swimsuit model who always had 'The Model who tamed the Rolling Stone' moniker, only to be culkolded over and over again by Mick 'You can use my lips as a bean bag' Jagger...... Sienna Miller, being described as the Boho/It Girl, famous for well, being topless in a bit part in one movie and still Jude shags the nanny... Sharon Stone, whose only really successful movie was the execrable 'Basic Instinct' in which she flashed us her growler; now single and scarily botoxed.....The list could go on and on, but I'll stop there because it proves my point - they're a pretty shabby lot aren't they, despite their beauty, wealth and entourages?
My dream womens' magazine would have a 'Let's laugh at the Celebrities' section - see above. Then, when we're cheered up and glad to be who we are; namely, in the suburbs with a crippling mortgage, demanding children and an exhausted marital relationship, then we can read about real articles for real women. Such as:
- Don't waste money on tiny crystals, diamentes and glitter. Your toddler can jazz up those boring black work trousers for you. Simply let them hug you from behind, rub their nose on the back of your legs and voila, those snotty little snail trails are now Stylish Silver strands!
- Stuff what they're wearing in Milan - grey tracksuit pants are IN. Go anywhere, do anything and be in no danger of being raped or pillaged by men driven insane by your very aura
- SEX - Forget wasting money on g-strings, frilly bras and manuals on how to keep the man in your life interested. They just don't notice that sort of crap. They are happy if you say yes and are awake. Preferably.
- Next month: How to have sex and sleep at the same time
- Shoes that you can actually walk in.
- How to block out the buzz-saw whine of a tired child's voice when you're out shopping or waiting in the doctor's surgery
- Fashion on a $200 a year budget
- Three easy steps to stop you from over-volunteering to be on more childcare, primary school, sports club, community and fund-raising committees
- Five minute meals with a tin of baked beans, a dial-a-pizza menu and some flat coke
- Mummy Guilt. We all have it and always will. End of story.
- Competition - A weekend's stay (including meals) at a nice BnB in your neck of the woods, with a professional babysitter included
- Chocolate - the new, sixth essential food group. We tell you why.
- Horoscopes - just the one for all twelve astrological signs: You're going to be busy with home and work; very tired all the time and always worried about your kids, house and money situation. You won't feel sexy, thin, smart or successful enough, yet your kids and hubby will still love you. So there.