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 photo-shopped beauties sometimes the new it girl actress is thrown into the mix. This continues for about 30 pages 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 and the body shapes covered are petite, long and lean, hourglass and pear shape. The strange part? 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 and ask 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 creams that just does not work. Trust me nothing is going to get rid of the bags under my eyes, I never leave home without them. 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 shoes which cost R16,000 and handbags which cost R30,000.

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.  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.


Playing it safe is dangerous

When I finished high school I did not have a clear idea of what it is that I wanted to do or study. So instead of doing nothing I decided to join the workforce which was not necessarily a good idea but it beat being bored at home. For the 4 years that followed high school I worked all the while trying to figure out it is that I want out of life.

I remembered that I always enjoyed drawing and fashion design but I eventually decided on studying fashion buying and merchandise management part-time because it seemed like a safer choice with better job security in the long run. Once my studies were completed I started applying for jobs at the large fashion retailers (there are only 3 big retailers here in Cape Town anyway). My choice to work for a large corporation was me playing it safe again because these companies offered benefits such as pension and medical aid. Things were however not all glamorous as the media would have one believe, I mean I wouldn’t say it was all Devil wears Prada, but it wasn’t easy either. Over the past 6 years I have worked for 2 of South Africa’s biggest retailers first in the sourcing and imports department and then in the buying department before making my way back to sourcing and imports.

I started to realise that playing it safe has not worked out for me at all. In my pursuit for job security in a country that so often reminds you of its high unemployment rate I have lost sight of my passions. I was told that I must count my blessings and still be grateful that I have a job. Too many people cling onto their permanent jobs and after giving 40 years to the company take their pension payout and retire. That is not the life I want for myself. In all this I still studied, I completed my garment construction course and started studying towards a business management degree which I did not complete because it was of no interest to me.

Then a year ago I started blogging and for the first time in a really long time I felt excited about something. This was also my first eye opener and I started visualising a future that was not in fashion retail.  I’ve always wanted to write but fears of turning into a starving artist always deterred me. We are always warned that pursuing anything related to the arts is bound to bring you a life of poverty. Society has a wonderful way of dictating our decisions but this time I did not feel scared to do something new or out of the ordinary. My second eye opener came on my overseas trip to Europe, coming into contact with young people from all over the world I realised how conservative I am and how small my world view was. Things needed to change but I wasn’t sure what to do next all I knew was that I wanted to travel and write. This is a big change from what I have studied and worked towards all these years but by playing it safe I have moved too far away from the things that brings me joy.

After months of researching all my options I decided that teaching English in Thailand will be a big step for me towards achieving this goal. I also registered for my Bachelor of Arts in creative writing and I will have completed my first year by end of this year. Deciding to pack up everything you own is not a decision that was made lightly or overnight for that matter. I am starting to prepare myself financially, emotionally and mentally to leave behind my family, friends and country. I am not sure what the future holds but in a few short months I will embark on an adventure I am sure I will not regret. All that I do know is that I am no longer playing it safe.

Humorous, Life

10 Things that make me realise I am getting older

cassette and pencil

1. I know what the co-relation is between a VHS cassette and a spoon as well as a mix tape cassette and a pencil.

2. I refer to tv shows and cartoons that my younger cousins have never heard of and love the confused and surprised faces when I know all about a new movie that was based on an old show.

3. I can no longer do hand stands.

4. For some reason I can’t dance until sunrise and still be fresh and rested after only 2 hours of sleep. What’s even more amazing is that I really don’t care.

5. Gravity is becoming harder to fight, and I was never great at physics anyway.

6. I can say “Oh I used to wear those when I was younger” when a ‘new’ fashion trend emerges.

7. I’m a decade closer to life beginning at 40.

8. These new fangled rap stars do not have a clue what real rap or hip hop is about.

9. Beetles weren’t Bugs and Minis weren’t Coopers.

10. Floppy’s and stiffy’s were computer disks – no innuendo intended.

comedy, Humorous

Which blogger are you? A sort of parody

1. The personal blogger – they tend to drone on and on about the daily going ons in their lives and isn’t a blog just the perfect platform to force feed their readers another story about that horrible colleague with the halitosis? No one cares about that strange rash you have. Over-share much? It’s like sneaking a peek into someones diary, creepy.

2. The fashion blogger – Doting boyfriends who trail after their girlfriends taking pictures of their clothes. Everyday!?! Have you nothing better to do? I do so envy your fabulous life though – free clothes, international fashion shows, you even have give-aways and competitions (how neat) and thanks so much for those helpful make-up tutorials I don’t know how I would have applied my mascara otherwise.

3. The travel blogger – wait no this is the blogger I envy. Exotic far-flung places and free accommodation? What a great combination. Please let me stay at your establishment for free. I promise I’ll write you a stellar review for all 10 of my readers. Apparently it is possible, we can all live this life. Seriously, we can’t all be travel writers. It is not really possible for every Joe Blogg to sustain a lifestyle based purely on travel and writing. You make it sound so easy but the truly succesful travel bloggers has secondary means of income.

4. The amateur photographer blogger – oh see this lovely picture I took of a spoon in Rome. Look at how the angle of the light is reflecting off the spoon. Marvelous isn’t it? Who would have thought something so simple could be so beautiful? Now look at this blade of grass. See how I captured its essence. Anyone with an iPhone, SLR or even just a regular point and shoot can now go pro. Annie Leibovitz? I could teach her a thing or two.

5. The mommy blogger – the morning school runs, the nanny/maid issues, the paranoia, the non-existent sex life, your kids bowel movements. No topis is taboo. Motherhood is so hard but I make this s@#t look easy. Just stop trying to be superwoman, kids are more resilient than we give them credit for.

6. The serious writer blogger – no funny posts here. I’m trying to get published dammit.  I’m such a tortured artist. Nobody understands me. I’m going on a hunger strike. Buy my e-book in the meantime though – only $2.00, paypal accepted.

7. The foodie blogger – your grandmother whispered the secret family recipe to you on her deathbed? Well kudos for posting on your blog. I’m sure she’ll be so proud of you. Also stop enticing me with photos of perfectly prepared dishes. I know that if I try it will look nothing like yours. I do not have a direct link to Nigella like you. In fact I live on toast and cereal, this is all a bit much for me. Too much work and I ‘d rather just go to my favourite restaurant and order whatever I feel like eating. Much easier.

8. The self-help guru blogger – if your life is in shambles look no further. I’ll show you how to change your life and be the happy person you deserve to be in 12 easy steps. No this is not AA but follow this link if you do have a drinking problem.

9. The cat blogger – stories of your cat, pictures of your cat, guest post by your cat using its furry little paws. Catwoman was sexy. You? Not so much.

10. The financial adviser blogger – yes you too can have financial peace of mind.  Not only will I show you how to become debt free and save for that rainy day but I’ll show how I made millions by investing, playing with the stock market and even insider trading. No it’s not all illegal and in fact it’s all the rage these days.


10 Things I wanted to be when I was growing up

We’ve all said it. Some of us still say it. When I grow up i want to be a …

These are just 10 of the things I wanted to do/be when I was a kid.

1) Doctor

2) Fashion designer

3) Taxi driver

4) Translator

5) Rapper

6) Jewelry designer

7) Bookstore/coffee shop/clothing store owner

8) Movie critic

9) Trend forecaster

10) Writer

fashion, movies, TV series

Carrie Bradshaw – Fashion Icon

Sarah Jessica Parker is on the cover of the August issue of Vogue this month and this just reminded me what a huge fan I am of the tv show Sex and the City. Carrie Bradshaw is probably one of the most envied tv characters that I can think of and lots of girls would sell their mothers for her shoe collection alone. I think she has shown women worldwide that it is important to be fearless and unique and not just when it comes to fashion. Although we really should manage our money better than she did because I don’t know how she could afford that apartment and her shopping addiction by writing one column a week (before the book deals and the job at Vogue).

Here are some of my favorite looks from the series and movie:


Cut-out outfits and playing dress up

So as little girls most of us loved dressing up our dolls, changing their outfits and looks. Or sometimes in magazines you’d get a cut out doll with paper outfits that you could mix n match. Well deep down most us wish we could still do stuff like but in a cooler grown up way of course.

And I found just the thing. It’s free to join. You can create a myriad of collages with differents sets of fashion items. You can ask the other members for fashion advise. And if you see anything you like clicking on the item will take you to the link/site where you can purchase said item.

Polyvore has grown into one of the largest online fashion communities – so check it out, register and get creative.