Newcomers to this blog may have missed my rants about Barbie or the ridiculous size-ist nature of the media. I'm not shy when it comes to railing against the way we, as women, are manipulated from an early age to strive to become what some nameless, faceless entity wants us to be, whether it be by playing with impossibly-proportioned dolls or being bombarded with size 0 images everywhere.
Today's rant is brought to you by the letters C, O, S, M, and O.
Tricia Romano, a columnist for the Daily Beast as well as the New York Times and other august publications, posted yesterday about the new launch of two "women's sites" from Jane Pratt (who used to helm one of my faves, the now defunct Jane magazine), and Zooey Deschanel. Pratt became famous for Sassy and later Jane, both hailed as departures from the norm for women's publications. When she announced she was launching a new site, there was a lot of anticipation. Now, xoJane.com is out.
And, it is a big let-down.
Pratt has been at this awhile, and I was hoping for an online mag geared towards her age-set: adult women who might want to read aspirational stories about powerful female figures, might want a little politics and culture thrown in with their makeup tips. Instead, xojane.com reads like Cosmo without the pink. Topics on page 1 of the site include:
"Elegant Solutions to Blowing Your Nose"
"My Boyfriend is Not Phased by Sexy Food Texts"
"My Rapist Friended Me on Facebook"
"Is Accessing Someone's Shared Music Library Creepy?"
Really? Are these burning things we need to know about? Will this inspire future generations? Deschanel's HelloGiggles.com seems just as bad, though it wraps up the vacuousness in hipster wrapping paper, a la Deschanel's famous "Crazy Pixie Dream Girl" pastiche. Romano, in her piece on the Daily Beast, suggests that women's sites need to grow up and stop dotting the i's with little hearts. I will go even further, and say that women themselves need to grow up, and stop buying into this trash.
The truth is, we propogate this nonsense by making a magazine like Cosmo the #1 selling women's magazine every month. A sample of Cosmo's headlines today?
"How Far Would You Go for Great-looking Legs?"
"If Your Guy Does This, Divorce Could Be in Your Future!"
"Biggest Engagement Rings Ever!"
"The Sex Trick You've Gotta Try on Him After Work Today!"
Every time we purchase this bubble-headed idiocy, we are telling the industry: "Yes! Pander to our frilly-pink-wearing stupidity! We do not worry about issues! If we want to read about world events, we'll buy a big men's magazine! Give us more features on nail polish!"
Women, are we really more interested in new sex positions to blow his mind? Or, do we care about the next possible female candidates for President? Do we need yet another story about the hot haircolor of the moment? Or, can we handle reading about genital mutilations in the third-world? Women, we are better than these magazines. Stop feeding the monster, and it will stop cranking out this pink, heart-dotted bullshit.
You will certainly never find an issue of Cosmo in my house.