Sweats, Stress, and Sexism—Things Women’s Magazines Should Talk About More Often 

Women’s magazines, such as Cosmopolitan and People, have been around for decades. They are stacked on shelves in convenience stores everywhere, in the perfect position to grab attention. Waiting in line at the supermarket, the glistening skin of supermodels and actresses can be blinding; their sexy smirks, rock hard abs, and striking eyes seem to mock oversized sweatshirts and tangled hair. Intriguing headlines, in bold and hot pink text, lure unknowing bystanders to grab a copy and flip through while waiting in line. An article headline labeled, “25 Ways to Get the Guy” tells all about how to flirt and laugh at his terrible jokes, how to make him happy on the first date. Vital information for any contemporary and independent woman, obviously. Women and girls alike are so lucky to have such accessible, enlightening, and character-building material to read! Obviously, I'm being sarcastic.

All quips aside, it is indisputable that magazines like Cosmopolitan and People are entertaining to read. They are intended to grab our attention, and they do an excellent job of it. However, have we ever stopped to consider that the messages such publications are sending to the female community are harmful?

Young girls and women alike read women’s magazines, and time and time again, the same topics are brought up. It is stressed that physical appearance should prioritize mental power and psychological well-being. Women’s magazines highlight body image as of utmost importance and spread gossip about celebrities. They talk about sex, dates, clothes, models, makeup, and fashion. Yet where are the hard conversations? The relatable stories? The stimulating discussions and honest truths? Women’s magazines don’t only avoid talking about what is difficult and real, but they also plant seeds in our minds that produce unrealistic standards. I mean, let’s be honest, we all know supermodels don’t really eat pizza and cheeseburgers whenever they want… as much as they claim to do so.

Discussing where women’s magazines go wrong is easy, but it also brings to light a difficult question: If they aren’t talking about gossip, clothes, and celebrities, then what should women’s magazines be talking about instead?

As incredible as it is to be a woman, it is not easy, no matter how much progress has been made throughout the world. Double standards, social pressure, and unjust inequalities are everywhere you look. Equality exists but has not come to full fruition– as we see with the wage gap based upon gender.

Every single day women face pressures from society, and judgment is everywhere. Often, we face difficult issues that are not addressed. Furthermore, not talking openly about such problems only makes them harder to deal with. As tough as women can be, problems such as body dysmorphia, double standards, and rumors can be difficult to handle—especially when they aren’t brought up. So, as women, what are we to do about this? 

The first step is to start communicating. The more we acknowledge that women face these troubles, the more we can discuss how to help overcome them. Furthermore, talking about hard things makes us feel less alone in our struggles.

Women are incredible. They are powerful, fierce, resilient, and brave. No matter their shape, size, or skin color they can do anything and be anyone they wish to be. In a woman’s world, things are not always perfect, and that’s okay. Sometimes we feel like we can never slip up or make mistakes because it seems like we cannot afford to. However, the greatest women are the ones who have conquered the worst hardships.

Women’s magazines like Cosmopolitan and People are fun to read, but they neglect to discuss the real issues that real women face. We have the power to change the world and help one another while doing it. Let’s start today.

 

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