Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Is It Just Me?

I’m looking at women’s magazines today after a conversation I had about them with my husband last night. There might be a bit of my usual parenting content, but it’s mostly just muted outrage.

Let’s start with Mother & Baby, since I always intended for this to be *mostly* a parenting blog. Giles Coren used to write a column for M&B called “dadvice”, which usually consisted of him moaning about something that only a parent with a lot of money could moan about. Like how awful it is taking children on long-haul flights. But one day he took it too far and his column was basically a page-long rant about how his wife needed to get her act together and lose the baby weight. You know, when you disrespect the post-partum body of your wife - and mother of your children - in a column for a magazine aimed at pregnant and post-partum women... Yeah, you can pretty much just get fucked, to be honest. The wife in question was pretty gracious about it on her Twitter account and M&B said it was all about encouraging debate or whatever, but I think all it did was make a whole lot of women wonder if their partners secretly felt the same. So I briefly fell out with M&B over that one, but I'm over it now. Coren has taken his #dadvice elsewhere (probably Twitter) and M&B is undoubtedly better off without it.

I used to read a sleazy little publication called MORE (does it still exist? Does anyone know?), up until about four years ago when it advised me to crash my boyfriend's office Christmas party in order to show him how much I loved him. I'm not even kidding. I mean... What the fuck?! Male readers, if women are crazy then that's probably due in large part to the shit they keep in their magazine rack and how seriously they take the “advice” therein. 
One other trend in women's magazines is the mandatory "Sex move that will change your life" article. Every. Single. Month there is an article like this. First of all, whenever I read these articles I usually find myself wondering who can be bothered with this?! Secondly, doesn't anyone have any imagination anymore? What are you going to do? Start the whole process off and then, at some crucial point or another, yelp "STOP! STOP! I need to consult the magazine article because I can't remember what comes next!"? Are you really going to do that? No. You don't need a magazine to tell you how to have sex. Just go forth and multiply. Or take the appropriate precautions. Whatever. But please don't rely on some complicated hand-tongue-big toe combination (I'm making this up) from an over-hyped double page spread to make it memorable.

This month on the cover of the only women’s magazine I still sort of read we have: 388 Style Upgrades (that you probably can’t afford); 89 Genius Health Hacks (what?); 17 Ways to Score Tons of Free Stuff (I’m afraid to ask); She changed her Tinder to ‘women only’. OF COURSE it got interesting (she slept with a woman. Shocker. NOBODY saw that coming); THE SEX GAME CHANGER you haven’t tried (which turns out to be lube. Who hasn’t tried using fucking lube?!) and then the usual celebrity stuff. I also tend to find that there are a lot of articles about getting ahead at work, generally with the assumption that “work” takes place in an office environment and goes by the name of “a career”. We’ve already covered the fact that I don’t actually have a career (despite several people over the last three and a half years trying to tell me “but motherhood IS a career!” It really isn’t. Trust me), so whenever I read these magazines, between the career stuff and the sex stuff that assumes I don’t actually know what I’m doing at all and the talk of Tinder (which I don’t fucking understand; what is it for?!), I usually end up feeling only one thing: I don’t belong here. These are not my people.

Which brings us back to parenting magazines, but you know what? They’re not really my people either, because they assume certain things about my life too. Like that I can afford to go on expensive holidays every year (nope) and that my children don’t sleep very well (sometimes). I’m starting to feel like I’m either incredibly awkward and should just pipe down or that maybe I need to stop trying to find a magazine written by and for “my people” (and I’m not even really sure who they are myself, to be honest) and stick to books, blogs and the occasional internet article.

Alternatively, I could go get myself a career, some lube and a Tinder account.

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