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Dissecting women magazines

I used to buy magazines by the truckload. Cosmo, Fairlady, Glamour, Shape, Elle, Marie, Heat, etc. To say I had an unhealthy obsession would be an understatement. Every month I would anxiously await the latest issues of my favorites. I loved the glossy feel and the smell of freshly printed paper. When I realised my addiction was costing me on average R200 per month I had to decide if it was really worth it. Deep down I knew it wasn’t so I went cold turkey and stopped buying them.

Over the past couple of years I would occasionally buy me one especially when there is an added bonus of a free lipstick or pair of sunglasses. Magazines do not however have the hold over as it once did. So recently I was lured into buying a glossy, I mean hello I could not say no to a new shade of berry lipstick. Girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. It ended up being a thoroughly disappointing and anti-climactic event. As I was paging through the magazine I started wondering if this drivel is meant to entertain and enlighten me.  Is this what consumes women on a daily basis? If so, then it is a sad state of affairs. So I decided to dissect this magazine page by page and blog about it. This is how we are being brainwashed:

Pages 1 – 30: It all starts out subtle enough, ads for perfume, designer bags and watches paired with photoshopped beauties sometimes the new it girl actress is thrown into the mix. This continues for about 30 pages in interspersed with other useless information like how to rock it like Rihanna before the magazine actually starts. Why can’t I rock my own look? What happened to individuality? This is then followed up by awesome do’s and don’ts and every second page we still have perfume, designer bags and watch ads. Again why are we letting these magazines tell us what we should or shouldn’t wear or what we should buy?

Pages 31 – 53: Ten pages of how to do denim as if you don’t know how to pair a denim jeans with a top. Wait! What? Dungarees are in again? Last season you wouldn’t have wanted to be seen dead in a pair of these but now all of a sudden we’re given the green light. Let’s not forget our prints and neon. You heard it here first, paisley prints and canary yellow is back on the palette. A feature on how to dress for different body shapes but it’s strange that the only body shapes covered are petite, long and lean, hourglass and pear shape. Surprise, Surprise all models used are so skinny the shapes all end up looking the same. In an attempt to keep it real you feature one of your staff members asking her for her fashion opinions and what her perfect day and night look is and how to seamlessly transition from the one to the other. Insert 8 page brand promotion, urgh could you be more obvious?

Page 54 – 64: Beauty regiments and make up colours none of which suits my skin tone. Hair products that are completely useless to me and hair styles which are not even possible with my hair type.  Insert: obligatory Dark and Lovely ad. Age defying shit that just does not work. Trust me nothing is going to get rid of the bags under my eyes. Seriously guys, I feel like you’re not even trying.

Pages 64 – 68: More ads.

Pages 69 – 81 : Single page articles on How to be fearless, How to lose weight, How to co-habit, How to get your dream job, One ‘real-life’ story. The opposite page of each article is filled with more advertisements for skin care products. Double page spread of GET YOUR SUBSCRIPTION NOW!!

Pages 82 -83: Double page spread advertisement.

Pages: 84 – 87: In-depth and intimate interview with model/actress/singer on cover including her fashion choices.

Pages: 88 – 91: A-Z of sex. If you’re don’t know how to have sex by now then you’ve got bigger issues. Ladies when it comes to sex you don’t need 101 positions which all end up looking the same anyway. Just remember to have fun, laugh, be curious and don’t be selfish or insensitive.

Pages 92 – 93: Double page spread advertisement.

Pages 94 – 95: Heart-wrenching true story. Finally, something worth reading.

Pages 96 – 98: Yet another awards evening, you never hear about these events until after the fact. Where was my invite?

Pages 99 – 100: Do’s and don’ts according to a celeb i.e. more unsolicited advice.

Pages 101 – 104: Advertisements (car, jeans, alcohol, soap)

Pages 105 – 112: Exclusive designer promotion so that we can all aspire to own shows which cost R16000 and handbags which cost R30000.

Pages 113 – 120: Evening wear photo-shoot for above awards that I did not get an invite for.

Pages 121 – 129: Sigh! More denim.

Pages: 130 – 142: Sigh! More make-up, skin care and hair

Pages 143 – 144: Hard hitting journalism at its best, important health warning article.

Pages 145 – 150: Movies – what to watch, books – what to read, events – where to go, restaurants – where to eat.

Pages 151 – 152: Next month and stockists.

Pages 153 – 154: Horoscopes.

Page 155: Weight-loss advertisement.

Page 156: Can you believe it more do’s and don’ts. Denim do’s and don’ts.

Last page: Silly, useless, tongue-in-cheek advice.

So there you have it, this is what is being fed to us monthly. I am not impressed. I am seriously thinking of starting my own magazine. There was a time when magazines covered important topics and the fashion stuff was just a bonus. Now it seems to be all about brand promotion and not much else.

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travel

5 reasons why every daughter should travel with her mother

1. Well there are the obvious bonding reasons. For me personally though I already have a good relationship with my mother but travelling with her strengthened it.

2. You get to see a side of your mother that you would not ordinarily see. You will get to know her better as a person and not merely a boo-boo fixer. She will be more relaxed as there are no distractions or major motherly duties for her to attend to.

3. That being said you still get a bit of home on the road. You are still her little girl and she needs to know that you’re okay, not hungry, not tired or thirsty.

4. On the flip side you get to level the playing field. We all have our strengths, mine is an excellent sense of direction and I am a super organised control freak. It’s great to be able to let her take the back seat and for you to look after her for a change.

5. You will have perfect opportunities to collect dirt on her which can be used for blackmailing purposes later when you’re back home. Those awful photos? They might ‘accidentally’ find themselves uploaded and tagged on Facebook. Just kidding, cos that would be too mean, right? Or would it?

 

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travel

There is no wrong way to travel, yes I am talking to you travel snobs

I read a lot of travel blogs and travel websites and I noticed an alarming trend. Long-term travelers telling others how to travel. There is no right or wrong way as long as you’re being respectful to the locals and their culture. Below are some typical things you will come across when reading these annoying articles:

Step off the beaten track: This might be your idea of a perfect vacation but what works for one person does not work for the other. Some even go as for as to discourage you from visiting the Eiffel Tower when in Paris and the Taj Mahal when in India. I’m not saying there is no merit in stepping off the beaten track but if you’ve only got 2 weeks in a country and you’re not sure if you would be returning then checking out the major sights would be pretty high on my list. I might not have to time or money to come back anytime soon. Who travels all the way to Rome and then does not bother to go see the Colosseum?

Don’t book holiday package deals: I personally don’t believe in booking holiday packages or cruises but only because I happen to love the planning and organizing, to me that forms part of the whole travel experience. That does not mean I can look down on others who don’t want to go through the hassle of finding deals and booking everything themselves. The whole point of vacations away is to relax and sight-see and truthfully some people just have busy lives and do not have the time and energy to do all this grunt work. Yes, maybe you end up paying a little bit more and maybe you do get taken to a few tourist traps but if you’re still having fun what does it matter?

Real travelers stay in cheap hostels with only one backpack: Again we don’t all want to share a 10 bed dorm with dirty, smelly strangers (okay not all of them are dirty and smelly) who stumble in at 3am and noisily have sex in the bunk above yours. Hostels are great for meeting people I won’t dispute that but not all of us have this constant need to be surrounded by loads of new people. If you’re not a party person it’s perfectly fine to find a boutique hostel and get your own room or heck even book yourself into a 5 star hotel cos you know what, it’s your holiday and you can do whatever you like. Hostels also tend to have what I call one-uppers. They will always try to outdo you and have a better story to tell. Saw the leaning tower of Pisa in Italy? Well they sneaked in at the dead of night and bungee jumped off it, try not to get into travel story swapping situation with this type of traveler. It’s exhausting and seriously, getting diarrhea is not something to be proud of. It’s not rite of passage.

I merely scratched the surface but I am not in the mood to go into a full-out rant. Just remember that others don’t know what’s best for you, only you do. So spend your well-earned break how you see fit.

 

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travel

Teaching at an International School in Thailand

The contrast between teaching at a Thai government school and an International school in Thailand is stark.  It’s like day and night, black and white, yes it’s that different from each other. After tiring of teaching English in rural Thailand I was craving for the bright city lights and decided to head to Bangkok. After weeks of job hunting I managed to get a job teaching English at the Everclever summer camp at Wells International School along Sukhumvit Road.

I ended up teaching two 1 hour lessons daily and then accompanying my class to Gym, Art, Performing arts and Readers Theater. I had 10 students in my class, only three of which were local Thais, the rest were from Japan, Russia and Taiwan. The great thing about teaching at an international school is that the entire curriculum is in English so my students could already speak English well. I was able to teach Grammar something not entirely possible at a Thai school, where I would usually only teach 8 new words per lesson.  Apart from being able to teach Grammar I also taught them many games which took up half of all the lessons. I dredged up a few long forgotten games that I used to play as a child.

I was also fortunate to be able to participate in all the additional activities on offer to the students. At no cost to myself I was lucky to attend movie nights, visit temples, go on canal cruises, a weekend away in Kanchanaburi where we went to the Tiger Temple and Erawan waterfalls.  We also went to Kidzania, Dusit Zoo, Science center, Bangkok parks, Siam Niramet cultural show and I enjoyed every minute of it. This and the fact that the other teachers were American and all over the world meant that I was not the only English-speaking teacher made my time at the school memorable. When I was asked to stay on for longer because they extended summer camp I jumped at the opportunity and was sad when it finally all came to an end.

With my return flight date confirmed I knew I was going to miss this school and my students very much. I was happy when they asked me when I would return to Bangkok as they would love to offer me a full-time teaching position. Will I go back? Definitely. When? Right now I don’t know but I like that I have options and this time I will be more prepared and do things differently.

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