Fat, Media, snarky's machine

The Last Dragon

Throughout my personal fat acceptance journey there have been small moments of victory that I actually realized were victories at the time. The time where I tossed a size 10 sequin raincoat – I fit for all of ten minutes back in 2002 – into the donation pile without one second of, “Well, maybe I could work out a bit more and…” or evicted that pair of tiny pants draped sinisterly over my bedroom door. Times where I didn’t hold up an OBVIOUSLY too small sweater and wonder if I could make it work and instead actually listened to the screams of protest coming from the region just south of my neck.

Paring down my closet so it only housed items I could fit at that very moment was revolutionary for me. As I was given – like many women – to having what I termed a Kirstie Alley closet, named after reading about the wide range of sizes housed in her own wardrobe. Purchasing clothing in my actual size isn’t the struggle it was during my college years, nor does it fill me with the kind of hopelessness it once did. I can’t believe I used to torture myself with jeans that had no hope of ever making it north of my ankles and then get mad at my body rather than the damn pants.

And for all that progress there was still one remaining dragon: magazines.

Long after I was healing and accepting my body as is, I was still buying magazines that suggested otherwise. You know the ones. The ones with pictures of a giant, juicy cake underneath fantagical claims such as, “Drop all the weight you want by ___! (whatever holiday was two hour away)”. The ones with a celebrity airbrushed from here to ya ya talking nonsense about healthy eating plans and sensible exercise programs.

For some reason I still bought and collected these magazines even though I knew better and despite their presence making me feel worse. I carried them to the gym and read them during workouts, thus making them drudgery rather than pleasurable. Instead of raging it Big Willie Style I was raging it Big Whiny Style, not seeing the disconnect between my feelings and my actions.

Even after I started blogging here, I was still BUYING those damn magazines. While not actively engaging in hot buttered diet fail, actively purchasing those magazines was highly problematic. I could talk all the fat acceptance I wanted, but I was kidding myself as long as some part of me felt compelled to buy those four dollar tomes of false promises and shame.

One afternoon while engaging in some minor craft fail and The Last Dragon on Netflix instant view I decided to purge my place of those magazines. I grabbed stacks and stacks and began dumping them into my blue recycle bin. Kept at it until I had reclaimed the space under my bathroom sink and three shelves in my linen closet.

I made four trips to the dumpster singing the chorus of Rhythm of the Night and I felt fucking good slaying the last dragon.

198 thoughts on “The Last Dragon”

  1. Dumping fashion magazines was probably one of the most important things I’ve done for myself in terms of self-acceptance. I will occassionally buy Reader’s Digest for fluffy reading on the plane, but that’s the only mag I buy, and while it does have some diet talk, it’s not nearly of the ubiquity that one finds in “women’s magazines.” I (try to) appreciate that some women can read those and screen out the negative body attitudes blaring from them, but for me, they are just a disaster.

    Congratulations, Snarky!

    Now, what to do with all the money that you are saving yourself?

  2. Good for you! But… what are you going to replace them with? I, too, am a lover of magazines, and I’ve found that giving up magazines was sooooo sad. What to read during commercials/on the potty?

    I stock up on magazines at the used bookstore for 50 cents each. Runner’s world, backpacker’s, fancy cooking magazines with no diet recipes in sight… There are lots of good (better, anyway, since the still don’t show a wide range of shapes) magazines out there.

  3. Um. The Last Dragon is one of my favourite movies ever. For srs.

    I can’t stand Vanity, or at least, not the part she plays. But oh, I adored Taimak. And the videos!

    This used to be one of the movies I made my friends watch with me. Sort of a “Do you really want to be my friend” sort of test. I just recently got rid of all my VHS, and this, along with Night of the Comet are the only 2 movies I miss.

  4. Oh, and to “I can never think of… ”

    I like to read Fine Gardening, Fine Cooking, magazines like that. I find those ones are relatively safe, dragon wise.


  5. Someone keeps bringing those damn magazines into the breakroom at work, and they fucking suck. Kelly Osbourne was on the cover of one of them with some craptastic headline along the lines of “NO MOAR FATZ!” with a photo timeline of her yo-yoing weight over the years with a list of all of the fad diets she’s been on, and some very sad comments from her about how horrible she used to look and how she super duper promises to work oh-so-hard every single day to not be horrible and fat agin. I felt so so sad for her. So last night, I collected up all my old Bust, Bitch, Ms. magazines and dumped them on top of all of the rags in the breakroom in the morning, and when I came back from lunch, they were all obviously rifled through and read. I was like *warm fuzzies*.

  6. I keep a highly edited closet as well–if clothes do not fit me at the time, they get donated. Regardless of the reason, whether it be weight loss or gain or body acceptance, I think it’s the best way to be. I am twenty-six, and haven’t bought a fashion magazine in ten years. I was cognizant enough to realize the danger they posed pretty early on.

  7. You glow, girl! Please tell me your post- victory celebration included a bowl of popcorn- with chopsticks, of course.

  8. I gave up fashion magazines when I was in high school. It was my first act of self acceptance, befor I even knew what self acceptance was! It was very freeing.

  9. Awesome.

    I also had to give up magazines after being pretty devoted to them as a teenager, and still clotheslined by them in my early twenties.

    I really do attribute a large part of my food- and body-positive attitude to the absence of those eternal esteem sucks.

    After gaining a certain amount of distance, I can enjoy the occasional Vogue. But I still avoid anything prominently advertising a diet or weight loss plan.

  10. A long time ago, I heard those referred to as, “How to Feel Bad About Yourself” magazines. So true.

  11. Congrats! I don’t think I have any last dragons to slay, unless we’re counting my job. I love, love love my job, but it makes me feel awful that I am not small enough to fit into the (all straight sized) clothing we sell. I work in a boutique. I can make some of the very few XL’s we carry work (and I am a solid 3X on top), but for the most part the stuff I’d want to wear never fits me, even though all of my coworkers fit into the straight sizes.

    I’ve never been happier, workwise, than with what I do now. But it leaves my self-esteem in total shambles sometimes. We just got in an amazing white, button-up Free People tunic that will never, in a million years, fit me because their large equals a size 10. A small size 10.

    I’m torn over whether or not this is worth quitting my job over… but it’s the only thing I’ve ever enjoyed doing. And there are zero (seriously) plus size clothing retail stores where I live, so getting the same kind of a job where sizing is less of an issue isn’t an option. Ugh!

  12. Good for you! But… what are you going to replace them with? I, too, am a lover of magazines, and I’ve found that giving up magazines was sooooo sad. What to read during commercials/on the potty?

    I still read magazines, but mostly it’s interior design/home organization mags and occasionally Lucky, since they don’t have diet stuff and often times don’t use models and instead just post pictures of the items.

    I get the September Vogue. but that’s because it’s great for collaging and I like reading some of the art/movie stuff and the clothes/fashion spreads are far too outre for me to take seriously.

  13. Thanks for this. I love it because it reminds me of my small victories too. Getting rid of magazines was one of them for me too. So was when I stopped watching tv shows that made me feel bad (both Biggest Loser and diet shows alike), getting rid of my scale and letting myself feel more comfortable socializing. It’s kind of important to remember that so much of the revolution is inside ourselves.

  14. I quit Cosmo and Shape years ago when I discovered BBW (the original, published by Carole Shaw) and Radiance. I still have piles of BBW and Radiance – someday I should scan some in ;)

    I did break down and subscribe to O magazine last year though. It generally has enough that I like that avoiding the weight-loss stuff doesn’t make me feel I only got a third of the magazine.

  15. Awesome, Snarky’s. I drugged myself with fashion/”health” mags, plus the “lost the baby weight in two days!” gossip rags for most of my life, to no good results at all. I used to stare at the pictures of “fat” or “curvy” celebrities, and try to train my brain into seeing what the headlines told me. Talk about your Stockholm Syndrome.

    On a related note, Jessica Simpson was just on Oprah, talking about her “fat jeans” photo series from last year, and I really appreciated her candor as to why she did not want to publicly defend her body size, a la Jennifer Love Hewitt, because she did not want other women who were the same size or larger to feel badly about themselves. I appreciate Jessica thinking in that way, but unfortunately, I don’t think that there was much she could have done about it. First I saw the picture, “Oh, it’s funny, beautiful Jessica Simpson again,” then the headline, “Oh, she’s fat now? Damn, I’d better re-evaluate and further alter my own perception of my body image for the worse again.”

  16. You rock on with your bad ass self! You have inspired me…let the purging of crap that makes me feel, well, crappy begin!

  17. I have to say, I’m very much still in the dragon, but it’s the Fantasy of Being Thin dragon for me. I gave up all my trashy mags two years ago when I realized that reading them felt more like punishment than the guilty escape I’d made them out to be in my head. I lived in DC when I read them all the time, and it was a very lonely time, a time I felt disconnected. I think those magazines made me feel like I could relate to people, average folks, etc. Why I wasn’t online more, no idea. Anyway, the mags were a waste of money. But until last year, I read Perez religiously, and I kept wondering, why is it he is all about Beth Ditto but he’s flogging JSimps for being fat? WTF? And finally I thought, this shit is NOT GOOD FOR YOU. Sometimes I still sneak a peek, but … basically, I’m done.

    Right now, I’m going through a bit of a mental tumble … that whole fat acceptance “but only at this weight” thing. This past year saw me moving in together with my gf, being laid off, trying to get a job, taking a job I hate … and I gave up a sport that I really loved for no apparent reason. It makes me so sad just to admit that. Anyway, I keep thinking “if I were just 20 lbs smaller …” I’d get a better job, or like wearing dress clothes more, or be willing to go back to my sport, or whatever. If I’m reading FA blogs or FAT!SO? or Kate & Marianne’s book, I’m OK. But lately I can’t stop letting my piddly consciousness try to live from some theoretical body. I just can’t be OK with my size right now. No matter how much I know that taking care of myself is what I need to do.

    Also, Snarky’s, you rock.

  18. I was surprised that it took me so long to ditch the ladymags, particularly when I had been so diligent in monitoring my media consumption. I really control how I access content, and don’t have tv or listen to commercial radio. Not because I’m holier than thou, but so I can really ensure I’m not getting a lot of chow chow from advertisers trying to sell me ideals and products I don’t need.

    I wish there were more magazines to read because I really love fashion and pop culture and I would like to consume those things in a light, playful way. So that means some of the more critical conscious magazines, while really useful, don’t always scratch my itch.

  19. Maybe I need to do this. I get and look at all the pretty pictures in Vogue every month–years ago I trained myself not to ever ever ever read the text. I like the clothes. I like figuring out how they got the fabric to get and stay in that shape.

    And I also have a whole small closet of clothes that don’t fit me anymore–my red silk wedding dress, the brown flowered silk made out of fabric from my best friend’s mother’s stash, the blouse I wore when I had the best day at the carnival. I kind of have a fantasy about fitting back in them, but I also really like the memories associated with them. I want to be that happy again; being that thin again . . . meh. They’re all different sizes so that fantasy doesn’t really hold. But maybe I should get rid of them. It would be freeing to have that space.

    Love how you make me think Snarky.

  20. “Rhythm of the Night” – there’s a song that hadn’t entered my mind since 7th grade. You crack me up, Snarky’s.

    I quit women’s mags (aside from Bust) about 10 years ago. It’s funny this subject came up this week because my neighbor’s copy of Self was delivered to my house the other day. I checked out the cover and about half of the ~8 headlines were related to weight loss. You’d think it was a magazine aimed at fat women interested in dieting, but no… every woman should apparently be interested in being thinner. One of the non-diet-related headlines was about some kind of controversial new sex trend sweeping the nation… but I don’t know what it is because I didn’t want to take my neighbor’s magazine out of the plastic bag. Still wondering about that one!

    loquaciouslaura – I’m totally with you on Perez. I stopped rewarding his misogyny with website hits a few months ago and feel just a little more sane now.

  21. Ah, this was just what I needed to read. I’m going to be paring down my belongings and “clothes I fit into in high school” and “fashion magazines I used to read obsessively” are two things that should be a no-brainer.

  22. I still read fashion magazines, but only Madison (a local glossy here in AUS). I find that Vogue, Cosmo and the other mags have too much of the “You must please your man, as well as random men who may have to look at you in passing on the street! We’ll show you how!”-type content, or in the case of Vogue, hyper-expensive excess.

    I have to admit, I can’t slay the clothing dragon. I’ve put on weight in the last year due to meds.* My shirts and non-denim pants still fit, but I fill them out more than I used to.

    None of my jeans fit anymore, but I can’t bring myself to throw them out. Because I can remember that, when I bought them, I only had to worry about leg length. Because I can’t help but to think that if I only exercised “properly” – not just the long walks I enjoy, but the 2 hours a day I used to do 5 years ago – I would fit into them again, even though it made me miserable, took the joy out of food, and ate up far too much of my day.

    I think I’ll re-read the FoBT and keep trying to work on it. Why do some dragons have to be so bloody big?

    *I’m sorry, I’m not currently secure enough to mention my weight gain without feeling the need to provide an “explanation.”

  23. I would rather get “Guns & Ammo” (I don’t like guns) and “Mercenary Magazine” (old copies available in my mechanic’s waiting room) delivered to my front door every month than have a subscription to “Cosmo” or “Shape.”

    The former magazines at least are obviously not in line with my values. “Cosmo” and “Shape” are marketed at me and supposedly are aimed at my demographic. But, instead of making me feel like I have a place in the world (which I am sure is what “Guns & Ammo” does for the gun-owning type), they just make me feel alienated and pissed off. And I am going to pay *how* much for the pleasure?

    I don’t think so.

    Since I gave up fashion mags, I have 1) found some really superior style blogs and 2) expanded my airport reading range. I will get Wired, Outside, The New Yorker, Foodie mags, Boundary Waters Quarterly. You name it. It’s broadened by periodical reading range. *And* I picked up The Historian in an airport, which is one of my favorite fluffy books of the aughts.

  24. PS: Congrats Snarky’s. *applause and confetti*

    The confetti is made up from snipped up articles on 30 Days to a Better Bod By Learning Six Sex Secrets That Will Blow Your Man Away Including Tips for Tupping and the Ultimate Blow Job. And office-to-evening-wear spreads*.

    *Yea verily… I have never thrown on a sparkly top under a work blazer and gone out for drinks. Just. wouldn’t. work. in my universe.

  25. As a result of being dirt poor and doing all my shopping at Goodwill where I adopted an attitude of “my fashion is being NOT in fashion, hello polyester suit and 1950’s dresses!” during my teen years, I have never been into the ladymags and am still clueless about clothes or stereotypical mainstream feminine trends. The one that I still read on occasion is Self, because they often do really interesting stories highlighting under the radar issues affecting women’s lives. But after the Kelly Clarkson debacle with their lame ass excuses, and how airbrushed everyone is in general, I’m just getting dissatisfied with them. Plus, it seems as though they’re trying to compete with Cosmo, and now I can’t read it at work anymore because all the headlines scream all sorts of things about pleasing your man’s whatever parts, trying swinging, etc.

    For reading I like Vanity Fair, because there are always so many stories in it, and they’re usually pretty interesting. What the hell, it’s almost midnight and I have to be up at six… good night and congrats :)

  26. PSPS: Vogue did one thing for me that was positive. It introduced me to Calvin Trillin and his incomparable food writing.

    PSPSPS: Also… I just looked at my comment and… how sick is it that many, many magazines from techie ones to foodie ones can sell copies by creating a desire without telling readers they are fundamentally inadequate. But Women’s fashion mags deal in selling consumerism tied into a discourse of body shame and loathing. I am mad all over again. Fuck you, women’s magazines. I’ll read “Manufcript Illuminator Quarterly” instead, thanks.

    Okay… done with the PS-es. Back to the laboring grindstone.

  27. There is an Australian magazine called frankie which I recently subscribed to. Funny, it is the first magazine I’ve ever regularly read that contains anything resembling fashion.
    It does do fashion, but it also does crafty stuff and lots of indie musicians, film people and artists. The models are uniformly thin and mostly doe-eyed, but there’s no diet or exercise advice. small wins…

  28. No magazines that contain dieting advice, no tv with commercials.

    My wardrobe only contains things that fit, but “my size” ranges from 20 to 30!

  29. Good job! I have many friends addicted to these mags. For myself, I’ve never seen the appeal. But I digest B-movies and Bond movies and various other frivolities like there’s no tomorrow.

    I wish there were more magazines to read because I really love fashion and pop culture and I would like to consume those things in a light, playful way.

    Me too. I’ll be looking forward to any recommendations here…

  30. I don’t know that I will ever be able to give up on fashion magazines — after all, sometimes I get paid to photograph it — but I find I’m happier to stick only to the hard core fashion rags — V, W, Z!nk, and so forth which are charmingly lacking in “advice” or discussions of wearability. And sometimes foreign issues of Vogue, in languages I cannot speak — it helps keep it clear to my hindbrain that this is all just fantasy art, and not a reflection of reality.

  31. I get Backpacker and Runners World. Runners World does have some weight loss stuff in it from time to time but it isn’t too too bad, and they at least recognize the value of carbs.

    I wish I could read the women’s mags for the shiny stuff, but the “feel bad about yourself” messages inevitably outweigh the “oh, shiny shoes” pictures.

  32. It was always the health magazines that were most addictive for me (Self, Shape, etc). I went off Cosmo as a teenager when I realised that every single article could basically be summarised as “Ways In Which You Are Inadequate, And How To Fix Them So Men Won’t Leave You”. The hardcore fashion magazines are wierd in that they’re even more insane about the models being really skinny and super airbrushed, but at least they lack the learn-to-give-better-head-while-living-on-rice-cakes editorials.

    I still think Cosmo is the worse of the lot, because of the tendency to frame not only dieting, but also totally abandoning your self esteem and making an ass of yourself in an attempt to please men, as self-actualisation.

  33. Hi all, I’m de-lurking. I love jumping on the anti-fashionmag train! My own tipping point was O magazine. It offered self-acceptance and empowerfulment with one hand while the other dished out shame and doubt in the form of advertising. It seemed particularly hypocritical to me.

    For online style blogs, may I recommend advancedstyle.blogspot.com. Lots of foxy grandmas and dapper old gents. Just adorable!

  34. Congrats, snarkymachine. :)

    I don’t buy mags usually but my mom has a lot of subscriptions, and for some reason whenever I am home I just HAVE to masochistically look at the diet/lose 10 pounds by summer,etc. section first. Even though I know I’m just going to get annoyed. What I hate the most is that most of these magazines act like they are advocates of self esteem while in every single issue they also remind you to lose weight/wear your hair and makeup a certain way, dress a certain way, etc. So the message becomes “love yourself when you become what we think is pretty.” Just like diet programs. They frame it about YOU when it’s really all about them making money.

  35. @Gen

    This really struck me with an O. magazine I opened a few months ago. It was called “The Self-Acceptance Issue” or something and had all these promises on the cover about FINALLY loving yourself. And it was loaded, I mean LOADED with weight-loss and “shape-flattering” clothes (I vividly remember a $500 swimsuit that would hide/change all your “trouble spots”) and anti-age this-and-that. It was really surreal.

  36. I found myself much happier when I stopped reading Shape and Self. I’d given up the more obvious ones years before, but somehow thought these were “balanced.” HA! I really try to enjoy myself when I look at a mag now: Southern Living (yummy recipes and more), Yoga Journal to inspire my practice, Archaeology Today, just because (and they rarely go off on fat mummies.) The old enticing titles are just bad news. My only danger zone is when I’m at the hair salon- I just focus on my iPhone and usually make it through with no more than a glance at the covers.

  37. It was the scales for me. After years of weighing myself 10-20 times a day I managed to get down to maybe only once or twice a day, but I still always did it every morning. It took at least six months reading here before I could take the battery out of them for more than a day. It took maybe a year, and months of firmly believing in FA before I could seriously contemplate throwing them out. And then one day I…did. I don’t even remember exactly when. I still can’t quite believe I did it!

    When I moved in with my girlfriends they had a scale, but by then the spell was broken so I only weighed myself maybe once a month. Every time I do it it temporarily takes me back to fuckeduptown. Why do I do it?!?! The fewer external rule-imposing influences in my life, the happier I am.

    So yeah, very well done Snarky’s on getting that one last thing out of your life. Huzzah!

    Question re magazines: I am fucking doolally for organizing blogs, can’t really afford to buy the books, have never found any organising magazines (just Beautiful Home, etc) even when I worked in a really well-stocked book/magazine shop. UKers, do you know of any available here?

  38. Great post snarkysmachine. I’m ashamed to admit that I had to have the magazines banned for me. Mr Paintmonkey actually wrestled one out of my hands one night a few years ago and slapped a ban on them until my food starved brain could handle sanity based thought again…Now I don’t even want to read them simply because I find them boring. I’d rather read this site, or look at other stuff. I will buy Vogue still because oddly, I don’t associate it with fashion and bullshit body propaganda – I can enjoy it more for the art and design aspects.
    For me the last dragon I had to slay was throwing away a preposterously small pair of pants which I had worn when really ill. I eventually realised that I was being held hostage by a stupid pair of pants, and I was more important than that. It had never occurred to me to think of myself in those terms, so quite a shift for me.
    On reflection, I don’t think even my dog would be able to get those fuckers on, and he’s small. Why do we do it to ourselves….? Thank god for dawning sanity and voices like you hear on this site.

  39. Incidentally..I didnt attempt trying to make my dog wear pants..it was a figure of speech. My other dog may have let me do it, but this one would tell me to piss off in a heartbeat, god love him.

  40. I need to buy the new Filement, come to think of it.

    I’ve only ever read “women’s magazines” in waiting rooms, thanks to enough poverty to make them generally an unjustifiable purchase, but they are excellent at making me feel worthless and unimportant just before I have to go and argue that I deserve better healthcare than “these things happen, wait and see.”

  41. Quoth snarkysmachine “I wish there were more magazines to read.”

    Allow me a jealous pout right now – the craft magazines you get in the States are AMAZING. I have FibreArts on subscription from over the pond, but I wish I could get Stuffed Magazine, Somerset Studio and Green Craft (http://www.stampington.com/html/main_magazines.html). I’m still shedding tears that Craft:Magazine has folded, ‘cos I could get that here in the UK. And it was AMAZING. Snuf.

  42. I have never really read fashion/celebrity magazines since my teen years, not because I have always been fabulously accepting of my size but because I always thought they were a waste of money.

    The clothes thing is still a dragon I need to slay.

    I don’t have a lot of money and therefore don’t buy many clothes, I tend to wear and wash the few outfits I have because shopping depresses me.

    Having checked my wardrobe I was honestly shocked to find that I only have one pair of trousers and two skirts that fit comfortably and most of my tops are a bit small too since I have gained weight lately.

    So most of the time I am walking around in uncomfortable, ill fitting clothes.

    I think I had better hit the shops and not come home until I find some lovely well fitting clothes that make me feel great (I may be gone sometime).

    Off topic whine, why can’t I find dresses that fit me, even in ‘outsize’ shops being short with a rack off doom and proportionately smaller hips is a drag sometimes.

  43. My experience with women’s magazines is usually limited to the covers as I look through the rack for Gay Times or Attitude, except when I’m very board in a dentist’s waiting room (or waiting for my pizza take away).

    While waiting for a pizza last night, I glanced through Teen Now, and confirmed something I’d suspected from the cover. The women’s magazine Now is a mag for women about women: celebrities. The girls’ magazine Teen Now is a mag for girls about guys. Hot guys. Hot shirtless guys. The boyband JLS, the guys from Twilight, Zac Efron. Oh, and Jedward.

    I suspect that’s healthier. Not the best, but healthier. And I’m not complaining!


  44. Whoa whoa whoa – Timothy – are you in the UK or US? If you’re in the USA, I can only apologise on behalf of my nation if Jedward have made it over there.

  45. That’s awesome!

    Magazines have never been a problem for me. Long before I ventured into the land of self-acceptance I knew reading those magazines was bad for me. Interior design mags make me feel just as bad though and I’m still addicted to those. heh.

    My dragon is swimsuits. Every year I tell myself this will be the year but then I just can’t bring myself to do it. It makes me sad that I have to send my kids with a friend or my sister so they can enjoy the pool but I just can’t do it.

  46. Yay dragon-slaying!

    My boyfriend has a lifetime subscription to National Geographic, so that’s the only magazine I read with any regularity. I was subscribed to a couple of craft magazines, but I got frustrated with the proportion of advertising to actual content. And that the spinning magazines all seem to focus on stuff you can do with the yarn once you make it. I just want to spin. Really. If I wanted to knit, I would be subscribed to a knitting magazine. Counting stitches is just not as soothing to me as getting to pet unspun cashmere for several hours ;-)

  47. For the person who asked what to read, let me make some suggestions:

    The New York Times
    The New Yorker
    New Scientist
    The Atlantic
    Mother Jones
    Your local alternative weekly

    I would kill for more time to read.

  48. NatGeo is great, as is the New Yorker. I read a lot of knitting magazines but that’s pretty specific; if you don’t knit, you’re not going to find them very interesting.

    Being one of the last people to leave the building here on Fridays, I generally do a “ladymag sweep” and trash the most offensive ones. I bring in old new yorkers and national geographics and mensa bulletins to make up for it. Strangely enough, they all vanish pretty fast. Wonder how that happens. :)

    Clothes, I used to hang on to stuff forever. Back in the bad old days, I actually hung a pair of pants on my wall to remind me to never get that OMGFAT again. Like a painting. They were my cautionary pants. Naturally it wasn’t that long before I was taking them down to wear again, and when I blew past THAT size, I folded those damn pants up and put them in the drawer where they tormented me for years. I finally got rid of them about four years ago.

    Now, I do regular wardrobe purges, not for size reasons but just stuff I don’t wear. I love clothes and always buy too many, so going through it twice a year and donating what I don’t use to a womens’ shelter has become habit. Let my clothing indulgences help someone else instead of hurting me every time I open the closet.

    I got rid of the scale just over a year ago. I guess that was my last dragon.

  49. @Trig and Earwig,

    You’ve now introduced me to Jedward, I can’t decide if I’m delighted or not. I’m pretty sure I’m delighted.

    @Snarky M

    Seriously great choice, obviously, now just wait a few months and then go and read one at the supermarket or whatever*. Everything will seem fine, no ill effects, then as you’re walking out of the store or into the bathroom or watching a movie that magazine will jump out and punch you in the vagina. It will seriously come out of nowhere, it won’t even have anything to do with the articles, but toxic thoughts will just start bubbling up. I think it’s because any bit of immunity people get from reading them regularly is gone, so when you start up again you both realize how unbelievably horrible they are and they manage to make you believe you’re horrible for like a day.

    Which is why I’m sticking with Fangoria.

    *Seriously, don’t actually do this. It’s something I’ve made the mistake of doing far too many times. Cosmo is the worst ever for this and can have me about back to starving myself each time I even like touch it, or breath air that’s been around it.

  50. Bleech, I don’t think I’ve purchased a fashion rag for 2o years. My magazine rack is currently stuffed with copies of “Food Network Magazine,” “Food & Wine,” “Cooking Light,” “Better Homes & Gardens,” and “Wine Spectator.” I am fat, and I love me my food and drink, and I don’t care who knows it. :)

  51. I consider the glossy magazines like cigarettes – something I just happened to never try, and now am entirely grateful I didn’t have the opportunity to get hooked on.

  52. I agree throwing out the ladymags is a super way to rid yourself of unrealistic-for-anyone messages of thinness. You know, they start us very young. I began reading Sixteen and Teen magazine when I was like 11 or 12 years old. Graduating from those mags to the adult versions is a very slick process. I think distancing myself from their content also helped me accept that I didn’t have to have glossy, flat-ironed hair to walk out of my house everyday and that people would still like me even if my clothes weren’t the latest trend.

    I lived in a house one summer where the tv was always set on one of those inane cable channels that have what I call “collage” shows running non-stop. “101 Celebrities who wore a red dress!” interspersed with snarky comments from C-list celebrities. Yuck. After watching this drivel for a couple of months, I realized I didn’t actually care what any of the celebrities were doing with their lives. So now I avoid almost all celebrity talk and the negative chatter in my head (about my weight, my looks, my lifestyle, my …everything) has decreased significantly.

  53. Dumping fashion magazine and paring down my closet to contain only clothes that fit me were two of the best things I ever did for myself. I remember the first time I went to LB to buy clothes and I didn’t flinch at the sizes I picked out to try on. It was a huge deal. I approached it so matter-of-factly that I really surprised myself. I was elated. I haven’t felt guilty about what the tag says since! Not that I’m perfectly ~healed. But you know. Baby steps.

  54. Paintmonkey, thanks. Those pants had a lot of baggage attached to them, more than any article of clothing ever should. Pride and accomplishment when they bagged off of me and eventually fell plum off like those “FAT PANTS” ads, very short lived naturally. Then deep, deep sorrow when I put them on again. Then mortification when they started getting tight. The utter shame of putting them in the drawer, far down in the corner of my very bottom drawer, the guilt and more shame every time I came across them. Way too much baggage for a few inoffensive yards of denim. Getting rid of them was one of my huge steps into FA.

  55. I stopped reading fashion magazines when I was a senior in high school because I simply lost interest. Somehow I still manage to be really fashionable without them. I have much more interest in popular science magazines, but I rarely even bother with those anymore because they take up room on my bookshelf.

    I actually keep most of my clothing regardless of size until it goes out of style or when I feel that I am too old to wear that style any more. My appetite fluctuates wildly in both directions, and my weight goes right along with it. It’s not practical for me to buy a new wardrobe every few months. I feel just as bad about shrinking out of certain clothes as getting to big for them. It’s not because I feel bad about my body, but because I really like wearing those clothes. I recently gave my friend some of my clothes that were way too big because they were even a little too big when I first got them. I saw her wearing this really cute green striped shirt and I wished I could still fit into it, but I remind myself that I’m glad she gets to enjoy it. Maybe I should consider buying the clothes I really like in a variety of sizes.

  56. [I]nstead of making me feel like I have a place in the world (which I am sure is what “Guns & Ammo” does for the gun-owning type), they just make me feel alienated and pissed off.

    AnthroK8 – this sums up how the women’s mags make me feel perfectly!

    I stopped buying mags some years ago when I realised that I felt worse after reading them and didn’t even enjoy it any more. I still sometimes read them, usually when I’m on holiday with friends who have brought ladymags with them or am in the hairdressers, but they always, always make me feel a little bit sick and sullied. It feels like binge-eating. Caitlin – you’re totally right about the toxic thoughts bubbling up again as soon as you read them, and I think you’re right about losing your immunity too. Or maybe it was just that I didn’t notice the additional dose of toxicity thanks to the huge morass of toxic low-self-esteem that I was swirling around in back when I used to read them regularly…

    I used to LOOOVE women’s mags and even worked at UK Cosmo for a short time (remind me to tell you all about that sometime – The Devil Wears Prada was like one long flashback for me), but I’ve gradually come to realise that reading them actively hurts me. Even Marie Claire’s often excellent reportage into areas of women’s lives that otherwise go unreported was undermined by the pieces on must-have cosmetics and how to get/please your man they were surrounded by.

    I’m re-reading Katha Pollitt’s Virginity or Death! at the moment, and she puts it so well about shopping being sold as “reward, entertainment and theatre of the self” for women. The magazines seem to focus only on buying things as a form of self-expression (I understand why as they survive solely on advertising, but god I wish there were alternative views of women’s lives out there!). I have no regrets about cutting mags out of my life, but I do sometimes feel cut off from what women are “supposed” to be because I no longer know about fashion trends or the latest beauty products – and, honestly, how ridiculous is that? That I feel less of a “proper” woman because I don’t know about L’Oreal’s latest wrinkle-removing under-eye cream or that jeans should be worn inside your boots this season?

    Dear Women’s Mags,

    We’re over. It’s not me. It’s you.


  57. My favorite magazine is Mental Floss. It’s an entire magazine of little articles telling you useless trivia. So awesome to read on the pot. I was downsizing and let my subscription run out, and now I think I might have to subscribe again.

    Well done getting rid of the magazines! They were never a thing for me, but I do remember the exponential improvement in my self-esteem after I quit watching television. I actually joined the Peace Corps, and so had no television for a while, and when I came back I had lost the habit. Now I watch TV shows on DVD and online, but I seldom have to look at “you suck; buy this” advertisements.

  58. I am right here with you right now… I just wrote about how I looked through my first issue of Women’s Running (which I had been fairly excited about… I mean, I knew it was a smallish publication but I thought it would be kind of cool) and most of it was diet tips and clothing recommendations. And the heck of it is, I can’t seem to stop myself from flipping straight to any given weight loss article even though I hate it. People is kind of a guilty waiting-room pleasure of mine, but if there is a “half their size” feature, I read that instead of catching up on celebrity gossip, which just does not optimize my time. I’m glad you got to the point of jettisoning those that make you feel like crap. Your post also reminds me that I have some closet cleaning to do. I buy new clothes anyway, so might as well wear those and clear out some real estate that is being taken up by stuff that is too small or that I never liked that much. Unfortunately I have a new pair of jeans that it seems will fit that description… I wanted to make absolutely sure they would be comfortable and not tiny, so I erred on the side of buying a larger size, and they stretch and bag like crazy until they look really sloppy. Luckily I purchased them at Costco so they were only $16.99. I wish I hadn’t made the mistake though.

    At home I read Cook’s Illustrated and Entertainment Weekly. EW is pretty good (and pretty informative, though dangerous because now I actually know which movies are coming out and want to see some of them, which leads to the possibility of $8.50 movie tickets that I otherwise would not contemplate purchasing). I like Cook’s Country too (I have some philosophical objections to it since it is a clear and almost 100% identical rip-off of Taste of Home… but they just do it so much better than ToH). I usually order the annual bound volume once it goes on sale. I would probably get by better with just CC than with just CI, in terms of the recipes I actually prepare most often, but CI is enjoyable to just read through (and the web subscription is quite useful) so I keep it around.

    I seriously mourn Mary Engelbreit’s Home Companion. That was my favorite magazine. As cheesy as it may be to some, I love that cluttered, friendly decorating style, and the magazine also did profiles of artists (with various separate features on scrapbookers and fiber artists), design schools, and of course your typical home-design-mag features highlighting homes, collections, and design-related destinations in various cities. I LOVED it. I still have all of my old copies to pull out for inspiration and general happiness. They replaced the remainder of the subscription with Martha Stewart Living, which I can tolerate and will admit does an objectively very good job on many topics, but it’s certainly not the same.

    I still flip through women’s magazines sometimes at the doctor’s office or at my in-laws’ house, but they tend to be “older” titles like Woman’s Day, Parents (I don’t have any kids, ha) or whatever is lying around. I guess you gotta read something. My hair salon (being the wannabe hipster enclave that it is) has your more highbrow publications like Ready-Made and Bust, but they are old copies and I have already read most of what interests me, so I look through Short Hairstyles Today or whatever.

    The biggest thing that jumps out at me as I get older is that ladymags really ARE just vehicles for advertising. I mean, I know I have been told that by everyone in the world since I outgrew Teen and YM, but I think it is one of those things (e.g. when you are older you will wonder why you cared so much what those girls thought of you) that you just have to grow into and experience for yourself. They just seem completely nonsubstantive. I realize there are some exceptions, but in general (and I know this is because magazines are as cash-strapped as anyone else right now) they seem to require contributors to spend as little time as possible developing copy or “reporting.” You just walk away feeling like you have learned nothing useful. Even learning about the “latest trends”–sometimes not so much, I get the impression. It’s more like they make the narrative fit whichever clothing or makeup companies decided to shell out for the mention.

  59. The only fashion/ladies magazine I really ever liked was the original Mode. When it died, all desire to read such mags left. Every once in a while, I will pick a random women’s magazine up in our office lunchroom– then quickly realize how shitty these magazines are. It really is the same 20 or so articles with new pictures every month.

    I prefer to frequent online blogs and the writing of real people.

  60. I’ve never been interested in fashion magazines, but I look at a magazine rack with all the weight loss stuff (and it isn’t just the women’s magazines, either), and somehow this brought it home to me more clearly that I’m living in a culture which is out of its mind.

    For purposes of satire, imagine a culture where people spent as much time adjusting their voices as people spend on trying to be thin.

    I’m still trying to figure out what magazine would look like in a world where people were interested in self-improvement in a humane way.

    It’s probably already been recommended here, but Crystal Renn’s Hungry is her account of going from an anorexic statndard model to realizing that starving herself was not worth it, to being a top plus-sized model. I don’t know if most of you guys would need it, but I was fascinated to read an account of the fashion industry from someone who loves the clothes and the fantasy.

  61. i really appreciated this post. i’m stuck in somewhere around FA; the one anywhere near “ladymag” i subscribe to is Health. The diet plan wording is annoying (ex: eat X, X, X, and you are “allowed!!” two snacks). The focus on small meals is helpful as my partner is a het male without much of an appetite and he gets enough crap from the world about his lack of Proper Manly Food Consumption. Also appreciate the features on exercise moves/stretching… Then I move on to Forbes which tells me how I should structure my investments or what private jet timeshare company is the best ROI.

    I find it half entertaining half enraging to go through a ladymag and rip out all the pages that are two-sided advertisements – it loses a big chunk of volume and I can’t believe I got suckered into paying for a waste of space!

  62. I used to get Shape magazine for years, because it was about HEALTH. Really! It said so! Right? Right? And then I spent way too much time clipping articles about ab exercises I might someday do, when I got my shit together.

    But then I got a subscription to the long-lost Sports Illustrated for Women, RIP. It was a revelation. Here was this magazine about women who were incredibly talented and capable, and they ranged from a sixteen-year-old rock climber to (I will never forget) this wonderful fullback on one of the women’s football teams. She was huge and strong and just incredible at what she loved to do. Something finally clicked for me there–Shape might have been about exercise, but it was about exercising oneself to a narrow range of socially okay. SI for Women was about people who lived in their bodies and pursued excellence at things they loved doing. For Shape, women were objects. For SI for Women, we were actors.

    Making that distinction was life-changing. My body isn’t an object. It’s an animal–and I think of it a little like I think of my beautiful sleek dogs, or a bird, or a deer. It loves to act. It takes joy from movement and sensation and food and sleep and sex and belly laughter. And I am part of this animal, not separate from it, so they are my joys, too, as much as the joy of a funny movie or a great book or a phone conversation with a friend out of state.

    That may be badly expressed, but owning my physical self for the first time was a watershed moment for me, and (as a nice side benefit) it banished Shape and its ilk from my life forever.

  63. Oddly enough I read Renn’s story in Teen Vogue, or maybe it was Baby Cosmo or LiL Elle, but it was one of those training bra type rags. I remember being really bothered they used pictures of Renn during her very thin days without strongly worded commentary about the way in which the image was of someone in the throes of an ED.

    The problem other mags like Bust, is while they aren’t telling me to lose weight, they are still transmitting messaging equally as damaging. The aesthetic (hipster) and race of 99.90% of the fashion editorials (white) is not me or does not reflect how I move in the world. I’m chubby but I’m not Beth Ditto or Maggie Cho or Niecey Nash. I don’t get most of their content except the articles and think the clothing/accessories are meh at best.

    And other magazines of that ilk have become sad parodies of themselves and are entirely too serious and honestly, I am sooooo tired of complaint blogging/articling being a default setting. For me anyway.

    NaGeo gives me the creeps. I have never liked that magazine one bit. I remember picking up issues a child and it always seemed like there were naked brown people captured in snaps not unlike the animals it made me feel ashamed and scared, because I knew it meant something that they didn’t show white people (and never have) that way.

    I noticed that some craft magazines seem to be all sizzle and no steak. Ready Made seems okay but, likeDwell has a whiff of hipster wafting from the pages and therefore tends to repel me.

  64. you won’t find any of those in my bathroom or on my coffee table. any magazine with the “gain/lose A/B inches/lbs in x/y days/weeks” is just comical. i go with food&wine, wine spectator, rock&ice, and climbing magazine. i think it’s pretty obvious how i like to spend my time. i believe to this day that cosmo is a men’s magazine, in the way it essentially acts as a guide book for women to make their boyfriends/husbands/etc happy and never themselves.

  65. I had a subscription to Cosmo for a year. Mostly it was a bet with myself to see if they could come up with any Hot! New! Sex! Tips! that I hadn’t already tried at least a decade ago.

    Nope, not really. Or, if there were ones, they sounded actively unpleasant.

    The rest of the magazine might as well have been dispatches from another planet.

  66. I have to say, I’m very much still in the dragon, but it’s the Fantasy of Being Thin dragon for me.

    My FoBT is sadly literal. I in-my-sleep dream about being thin ALL THE TIME and it drives me crazy. I wake up feeling terrible about myself because IRL I’m still fat! So even though my awake brain knows it’s nothing to feel bad about, my subconscious is vigorously not on board.

  67. I hate those damn magazines. I gave up purchasing them about 15 years ago, but only recently gave up reading them when I encounter them in public. (Especially at the gym. Nothing counters those workout endorphins like a magazine informing you that you are as attractive as a running sore.)

    I think I may have to give up their middle-aged counterparts, too — the ones with names like “Better Home Than Yours.” I don’t have time to paint the inside of my medicine cabinet, or to alphabetize my spices, and I’m GLAD I don’t. I’d rather watch Netflix.

  68. “NaGeo gives me the creeps. I have never liked that magazine one bit. I remember picking up issues a child and it always seemed like there were naked brown people captured in snaps not unlike the animals it made me feel ashamed and scared, because I knew it meant something that they didn’t show white people (and never have) that way.”
    @snarkysmachine…your comment is going to really stay with me – especially you saying you felt scared. It turns magazines,books and photographs like that completely on their heads when I hear you say that. Thanks for saying it.

  69. Seriously? There’s a magazine called Filament? And it’s not about how to look like one?

    That’s rich. :-)

  70. Now, I don’t think people who enjoy NaGeo are bad folks. I like some of the programs they produce and I watch them on hulu. Like a lot of the magazines listed as alternatives in the comments, they don’t really appeal to my interests – particularly The New Yorker, which I only allow my partner to read selectively to me – or have pages and pages of bags, shoes and sunglasses, which are my weakness.

  71. I noticed that some craft magazines seem to be all sizzle and no steak. Ready Made seems okay but, likeDwell has a whiff of hipster wafting from the pages and therefore tends to repel me.

    I used to really like ReadyMade, and I still enjoy just, you know, *looking* at it, but lately it seems to me that all the projects assume you own a home and have a yard and a toolshed and all kinds of other things that my urban apartment-dwelling ass does not have. I love DIY, but it’s started to feel like a “why don’t you buy a house already” machine, and lord knows I do not need any more of that.

  72. Not reading women’s and fashion magazines was probably one of the first things I did to help me feel good about myself as I am, and I still think it was one of the most important. It’s been, I think, at least 10 years since I’ve looked at one.

    My lovely sister got me a subscription to a fashion magazine for my birthday. She loves them. And, while I appreciate the thought, when it arrives each month, I toss it in the bin before even glancing at it. I find those types of magazines to be a bigger self-worth suck than almost anything else.

    I’m planning on paring down my wardrobe after I give birth. I don’t have clothes in a bunch of sizes that don’t fit, I just have too many clothes for my own comfort. I’d love to have a more simplified, basic wardrobe. But, I would caution against tossing clothing too hastily, if you may be going through a temporary body size shift (adjusting to a new medication, just giving birth, nursing a baby, a prolonged illness) unless you are looking for a reason to spend hundreds of dollars replacing clothing. Probably 6 months after my son was born, I got rid of everything in my wardrobe that didn’t fit, which meant most of my pre-pregnancy clothing. I figured my body size had changed, and why torture myself with clothes that were too small. Turns out that as soon as I was done nursing, I went back to my pre-pg size. Luckily I store things in a haphazard way and managed to find a box in my basement with some old clothes that fit, but I still ended up replacing a whole bunch of clothing that would have fit me just fine, and as somebody who both has a limited income and doesn’t particularly enjoy shopping/fashion, I wasn’t thrilled about that.

    So, while I’m all for throwing away the size 10 jeans that haven’t fit you since that one time in high school you wore them to a party after starving yourself for two weeks, if you’re a compulsive declutterer like I tend to be, I’d stop and think for a moment before tossing stuff that that doesn’t currently fit if you are in a phase of your life where you can reasonably expect your body size to shift around a bit. That is, again, unless you’re looking for an excuse to get new clothes, in which case toss all you want.

  73. Oh sweet lord – don’t get me started on bags…Paintmonkey’s wobbly weak spot. I found a fabulous one a few weeks ago – it’s brown leather and very over-sized and seventies style with lots of clanky sounding bits on.

  74. Seven (!!!) years ago, when I was young and suggestible, a nice telemarketer called my house and wheedled me into signing up for one of those subscribe-to-a-shitload-of-magazines-for-one-low-payment deals.

    The subscriptions were supposed to end in five years. The things are still coming. They follow me everywhere. And they change, I start getting new ones and stop getting old, they somehow signed me up for Southern Living. (I’m from/in Michigan.) I have canceled them shitloads of times but they come just the same (and this company is still trying to get me to pay a monthly bill that was supposed to be over after the first year, that I specifically told them I didn’t want to renew).

    A bunch of them are what I like to refer to as femininity propaganda magazines. Occasionally I will pick one of them up, read some article in it, and rip the thing to shreds in my blog.

    But I cannot bring myself to stop hoarding the ones with the delicious cake pictures on the front, on the basis that I will someday use all the recipes. I never use the recipes. I never read any other section of them, except when they have one of those “how to organize your entire life” articles, which I never actually put into practice. (Apparently if you want to organize your shit you have to have limitless disposable income to spend on storage furniture and little decorative bins.)

    I do get one magazine to which I subscribe on purpose: Interweave Knits. When I get a job I may add a couple more knitting magazines.

  75. BIG CONGRATS, Snarky! I can’t remember the last time I’ve bought one of those trash mags. Just seeing the covers while I wait in the grocery checkout is shame-inducing enough for me. (in as much as they make me feel bad about myself, not that I feel shameful for reading the cover). The only magazines that make it in my house now are Runners World (who could lay off the weight loss stuff a tad but provide sensible info on actually eating lots of carbs and fats), Yoga Journal, and VegNews.

  76. I used to really like ReadyMade, and I still enjoy just, you know, *looking* at it, but lately it seems to me that all the projects assume you own a home and have a yard and a toolshed and all kinds of other things that my urban apartment-dwelling ass does not have. I love DIY, but it’s started to feel like a “why don’t you buy a house already” machine, and lord knows I do not need any more of that.

    Ha! I know, right. Also I noticed some of the DIY projects cost more than it would for me drive down to Ikea (270 mi away) purchase the item it’s been suggested I make and spend the night in a mid-priced hotel featuring “breakfast jump up” (as in jump up and get your own damn breakfast) and a wake up call.

    It makes me feel like I’m not getting the DIY thing right. Granted, I am the queen of craft fails. With my most recent being my glorious yellow table-from-closet-door crashing down in the middle of the night. So I might not be the best person on this topic.

  77. Someone upthread mentioned Women’s Running—I KNOW! It sucketh majorly.

    Yet, I do not have a subscription to Outside, which I otherwise would, because it manages to alienate me so damn much in all its little stick drawings being of men, and all its writers and pronouns being men. Even Backpacker sometimes fails in its guy-orientation.

    But it seems to be a choice between feeling somewhat invisible/choosing to try and identify with male bodies instead and feeling inadaquate. Blech.

    You know, as far as the last dragon–I do have some size 4 stuff still hanging around in my closet. I’m not sure its a terrible idea, though, given weight fluctuations. I mean, I might never wear them again, but they are nice clothes.

  78. The quizes are what always got me to buy those stupid magazines, there is nothing I love more than a multiple choice test. (Also those stupid magazine drives we did in gradeschool.)

    It wasn’t till college that I realized that every time I read one I spent then next several days feeling bad about how I didn’t have a boyfriend and feeling totally unlovable.

    And thankfully I now have tons of internet sites to fulfill my need for multiple choice questions. (thank you OK Cupid!)

  79. Considering that my knitting needle exploded in my hand the other day, I might not be either.

    Where’s the magazine for us? Or a podcast if a print edition is too costly.

  80. Nat Geo: my dad has the Millenial DVD ALL NAT GEO ON DISC collection. I am sorry to say, the magazine’s MO in photography hasn’t changed much over the decades. That is disturbing.

    Yes, I suppose the problem with my method of airport magazine buying is that, while I find the things I pick up on a whim interesting and sometimes even in my general interest area, they aren’t what it would be nice to have. Which is a non-hostile environment in which to see lots of fantastic pictures about shoes. And retro 40’s looking dresses from Target (my weaknesses).

    It’s like trying new and interesting recipes using new ingredients, which in principle is very good. But not that great if one just wanted delicious home -made mac and cheese.

  81. Sweet Machine: did MI6 send you complimentary knitting needles? And did your needle come with oil-slick and smokescreen capabilities?

  82. Hooray for Snarky’s, and bye bye bollocks magazines.

    I noticed that after not bothering to buy fashion magazines for a long time, when I did buy one I started doing that thing of comparing myself to the models and thinking “hmm, if I was a little bit thinner I would look all French and chic like that woman” or “I’m not cut out to ever, ever, be as thin as that woman, so I will never, ever look all French and chic like what she does. I am clumpy English scarecrow forever”. And that’s not what I like to be about.

    I like a good bit of fashion photography (either arty stuff, or a whole page full of photos of just the items) and a good bit of food photography and a good bit of interior design photography (ideally nothing too Islingtony, hipstery or wanky)

    (oh fuck it who gives two shits what I like)

  83. Great post snarky! I had a subscription to Seventeen magazine when I was in the most vulnerable stage of adolescence, which in hindsight was a terrible, terrible idea. I stopped getting them when I went to college and have only occasionally browsed the glossy ladies’ rags when I’m sitting bored at the doctor’s office or what have you. Luckily, the dentist gets Time in. I’ve finally quit watching The Biggest Loser during this current season and I never looked back.

    My last dragon is the closet which is currently stuffed with clothes that fit me *just* a year ago and which I seem to have hope will fit again. =( I usually purge my closet every time I move, so hopefully this summer I’ll have the gumption to dump that stuff.

  84. Snarkys, yay for dragon slaying!
    It was weird, I think I stopped reading most magazines, period, a couple of years ago; it wasn’t even a conscious decision, though, so I can’t take credit for being enlightened or anything, it just happened. I think the internets just replaced them for me, in terms of actual content; there are so many good fashion blogs, for example, that don’t come with a side of diet and blowjob advice, and Craftster kicks the ass of ReadyMade any day, all for free. I do still buy Bust when I think about it, though, and both issues (regular and special) of the Martha Stewart Halloween mags, always.

    And a big word on the need for a craft fail magazine; SM, I have to know, how did your knitting needle explode? I did make my kitchen smell like burnt chemical ass for a couple of weeks not too long ago when my microwavable clay caught fire whilst in the microwave, but that’s just impressive.

  85. You know, I had planned to do some throwing-out on a dragon scale this weekend; now I know exactly what soundtrack I’m going to put on while I do it! (The Last Dragon is my all-time favorite movie of all time.)

  86. SweetMachine… exploded? Do I need to back away from my DPNS now? Do Knitpicks Options have a half-life I should know about?? I’m feeling a little worried.

    Snarkys, thank you for your comments re: NatGeo. My aunt got me a gift sub a couple of years ago, I will have to check out some of the back issues with fresh eyes now.

  87. @badhedgehog – you know what, I think that if “Bye-Bye Bollocks” was the title of a magazine, it would sell like shit out of a goose. I’d sign up for sure.

  88. I will make one minor defense of teen fashion magazines: they teach about birth control. I had mediocre sex ed in high school, and I started having sex long before they taught it junior year anyway. Seventeen and similar magazines probably contributed to making me feel bad about my body, but at least I knew how to have safe sex because of them. Fortunately there are better resources now with the internet, so teens don’t need to wade through all the crap to get the good parts.

  89. And they change, I start getting new ones and stop getting old, they somehow signed me up for Southern Living.

    I got my dad a subscription to Seed Magazine (which I highly recommend, by the way — it’s a nifty science-for-laypeople magazine that’s available online as well), and he received his subscription in due time…along with one for Women’s Weekly. We were very confused.

  90. Snarky, I totally feel ya. I work with a campus body positivity group at my university and we take those kinds of magazines and cut them up, paste our own captions on them and then use them to advertise our discussion group (examples here). So when one of my friends recently offered me a free subscription to SELF magazine, I said yes so we could have more mags to tear apart. When SELF arrives, I usually skim through it a little, but I’ve realized recently that the images in those kind of magazines are really triggering for me and definitely detrimental to my body acceptance journey.

  91. That was one of my last holdouts, too… although I found myself kind of self-weaning, so to speak. I just stopped buying them, little by little, b/c I stopped feeling interested in what they had to offer (or, really, what they didn’t). Now I’m not even tempted – and less so as more and more stories of the ridiculous airbrushing come out.

  92. Just chiming to say that “women’s magazines” are some of the worst peddlers of misogyny across the board. I have all kinds of attributes that these magazines promote: skinny, white, etc, but they still make me feel like crap if I’m unlucky enough to open one.


    Sorry for the caps, but it just plain true. Articles on “10 ways your skin sucks which you didn’t yet think about” are surrounded by ads for …. skin cream! And on and on. There is a huge industry based on women shelling out lots of cash to “remedy” problems they don’t have (skin care, makeup, plastic surgery, hair, and on and on), and somehow they have convinced women to PAY for their advertising through these magazines. It’s beyond nuts, and it’s an addictive and abusive cycle. Once they convince you have all these defects, you feel horrible and can’t help but hope the solution to your problems is in the next issue. Gah.

    I hate women’s magazines with the intense passion of a thousand exploding suns, so thanks for posting about this, SM.

  93. RNigade: http://www.filamentmagazine.com/ — I’ve never bought a copy but I keep intending to, because it’s a magazine for women, with men photographed for the female gaze, which does not have diet or fashion or celebrity gossip. I have no idea whether I’ll like it, but I *approve* of it like nobody’s business.

  94. Various sizes in my closet – because my weight does go up and down even just naturally. Not a huge range of sizes though, just two and maybe a third size as an outlier.

    I love magazines but I’ve moved away from women’s magazines. Only because after 15 years of reading them, they keep recycling the same stories. It’s a natural evolution rather than a principled stand. I love travel, cookery and current affairs magazines.

  95. I had a subscription to Seventeen magazine when I was in the most vulnerable stage of adolescence, which in hindsight was a terrible, terrible idea.

    My short-lived-but-still-damaging-enough-to-have-given-me-heart-palpitations-and-set-off-a-panic-disorder bout of really disordered eating and exercising, when I was in junior high, I largely credit to teen magazines. I read all of them, and, looking back, I cannot believe my parents let me have them. They were just so full of terribly damaging crap about bodies and relationships and sex and beauty. From what I’ve seen, they’re somewhat better now (not that that’s saying much) but, while I’m not a particularly restrictive parent, I do plan on being the Gatekeeper of All Magazines That Enter Our Home, especially now that we’re going to have a daughter, because they are such a pretty, glossy, light-hearted way to internalize every single message about what it means to be a woman I’d want my children to reject.

    Anyway, back in the day (and we’re talking about 20 years ago now) when I was reading teen magazines religiously, they used to have actual diet plans in them. (I hope they don’t do that now, but I haven’t looked at one in enough depth to know.) And, not in a “here’s some protein-packed breakfasts so you’re ready to learn!” way, but in a strict, 1200-calories a day, totally inadequate and unhealthy for a growing teen way, sprinkled in with all of the advice about how to get and keep a guy and how to hide every “flaw” you might have with makeup and the right clothes.

  96. Has anyone read PLUS Model? It’s only online, but it it could be promising fashion reading. It still doesn’t fill the magazine void though, unless you have a tiny netbook that you can take wherever you would take a magazine.

  97. Yay for ditching the women’s magazines! I used to read Cosmo for the sex tips, and I think the body-shaming “you must be skinny and perfect and fabulously dressed at all times OMG” crap had way more of an effect than I consciously realized. And then they’d toss in articles about being confident and happy and liking yourself as you are. Um…okay?

    And count me as another who wants to hear the story of the exploding knitting needle. I’ve had my cat eat my knitting, but SM, I think you win…

  98. @SarahB: It’s NOT just you! I had already started thinking about the DIY column I could contribute to Shapely Prose magazine.

    One minor win, I decoupaged my old bathroom scale (inexpertly) – gluing little fortunes/affirmations over all the numbers, so now instead of telling you what you weigh, it says “Quiet your mental chatter” or “Don’t postpone joy.”

    (I don’t want to go into links moderation, but right now it’s the first Google hit for “Feminist Bathroom Scale”)

  99. I’m reminded of an article from while MS. magazine came back for a while– it explained that women’s magazines are effectively owned by their advertisers. The advertisers have veto power over the contents.

    And a bit from an interview about Cosmopolitan— they’d considered putting together a best-of compilation of their articles, and found that nothing stood out enough to be worth choosing.

    I’ll put in a nice word for T’ai Chi Magazine. There’s no weight loss advice. There’s no prove-how-tough-you-are athleticism. It’s just about how to get better at T’ai Chi.

  100. @spanglesystems: i totally understand not wanting to rid yourself of clothes that have fond memories. maybe crafting them into something a) wearable or b) home decorative is the way to go instead? I mean… what hot lady doesn’t want/need a sexy red dress? check out wardrobe refashions at http://nikkishell.typepad.com/wardroberefashion/ for some ideas.

  101. Also, I need to know, what is wrong with Women’s Running? It sounds pretty awesome–does it assume that women run only for weight loss?

    On National Geographic: it has always made me uncomfortable because of the sense of voyeurism I get from it. I really dislike that style of photography, like tourists taking pictures of people working in the fields as they zoom past in their busses. And the writing itself tends to judge non-western societies by western standards, which is… problematic.

  102. I am a subscriber to “Filament” because I want to support the magazine. I don’t think treating men like erotic objects is necessarily a path to fixing gender problems, because “equal” doesn’t mean “treat me identically,” but I admire the chutzpah required to start such a magazine. The editors have had a fight on their hands to get going, and also against regulations that tried to keep them from publishing full male nudity in their pages (even though female nudity is everywhere in magazine publishing). There have only been a few issues, and it’s not entirely FA friendly (it’s also not pretending to be) but there is no celebrity gossip crap, and the “health” articles do tend to aim at “health” rather than body shaming.

    I do however keep meaning to write a letter to them suggesting they try to include some older male models, because I get a bit of a “jailbait” vibe off their recent issues and being a professor, a 19 year old is a student in my head and I don’t want to be thinking of him that way. (Yes, I’m actually telling people “Stop making me feel like a dirty old lady!” ;)

    Meanwhile, after not looking for a bit, I went and scrolled through the Adipositivity archive the other night and found some of my lost zen returning. I wish I could come up with a way to run a study about exposure to images. When I first started looking at the site, I was uncomfortable seeing that much fat right out there on display OMG! I had never seen anything like this. It freaked me out. But I kept looking at the pictures. I kept going back periodically. And over time it stopped being shocking, then stopped being at all unusual. I wish I could replicate this in a study and see if repeated exposure to such images produces attitudinal alterations with regards to body shame.

    Too many studies, no time to do the ones I already started!


  103. Try Bitch.

    If you’re not reading Colorlines you ought to start, but it’s hardly fluffy.

    I love The Bark which is about dogs, but so fun. Especially the every-issue double-page spread collage of smiling dogs.

  104. Thanks for this post!

    Since I stopped reading those addictively trashy magazines (even at the hairdresser’s) and stopped watching TV except via boxed sets, my self-esteem regarding my body has climbed.

    It’s still a continuous struggle though, but it’s nice to hear about you managing to vanquish that last demon!

  105. I used to really like ReadyMade, and I still enjoy just, you know, *looking* at it, but lately it seems to me that all the projects assume you own a home and have a yard and a toolshed and all kinds of other things that my urban apartment-dwelling ass does not have. I love DIY, but it’s started to feel like a “why don’t you buy a house already” machine, and lord knows I do not need any more of that.

    I agree with this sentiment. I am a mad-crafter – mostly sewing. That said, I am very selective about the equipment I buy because yes, we rent we do not own, we have two cats (and four chickens and two cats and a leopard gecko) and it’s important to us not to have a life/house full of STUFF and does it really make sense to overhaul our rental with home-cutesifying efforts since the last time we even tried this our landlord made us paint, paint, paint it all away when we moved?

    On a tangential note, the commercialization and trivialization of crafting, sewing, and knitting I see around me is bugging me. I’m currently reading a couple books by one author on sewing, painting on fabric, etc. And it’s all: buy buy buy. Buy this kind of emulsion or these blank tote bags (OK, really? Buying a tote bag then print on it using computer technology? This is art, or craft? – or is this emulating the exact thing you could purchase at Target, oh and P.S. the supplies for this? you can buy them all at Target, whee!). I hate the porny-Martha-esque photos of adorable (usually white) children doing adorable things in some very clean and crafty-chic house that looks NOTHING like my (real, actual) life with kids, and yes I really do sew tons and most of their clothes, but we don’t sit on the sun-washed oak floor of our farmhouse and felt little fairy dolls together. (Note I am not saying I hate Martha Stewart… just this fallout I’m seeing)

    I’m sure many people find these books inspiring and helpful. But for me, I’m getting sick of seeing sewing and crafting in such a cutesy, superficial, and yet exploitative light that includes BUYING supplies hand over fist.

    I hope it isn’t a major derail to talk about DIY/crafting.

  106. i totally understand not wanting to rid yourself of clothes that have fond memories. maybe crafting them into something

    When I was at my mom’s recently, we had a good time looking at one of the quilts my grandmother had made and identifying the outfit the fabric had come from. (My mom used to send my grandmother the fabric scraps after she had finished sewing our clothes.) I identified my 7th grade first day of school suit, for example. Doesn’t everyone need to remember the green and white polyester vest, jacket and elastic waist pants that she wore when everyone else was in windowpane jeans? :)

  107. Hey – if you did do a Shapely Prose magazine, could we have a “Reader’s Imaginary Lemurs” section including photographs?

  108. For those curious about my knitting explosion: it was from a Denise Interchangeable set that I’ve had for, oh, six years or so. I was just knitting along (on a baby blanket, in the round), when I heard this loud crack, felt something pointy in my hand, and yelled OH SHIT ads I looked down to see dozens of little loops (i.e., about-be-lost stitches) floating unsupported in the air. Somehow, the needle snapped right under the join, so the detachable tip is actually fine, but the cord was all fucked up. I *think* I managed to save all my stitches (except for some yarnovers), but I haven’t touched that project since then because it freaked me the fuck out.

  109. @Sweetmachine – the way you have described your knitting explosion, it sounds like John Woo directed it. Nice.

  110. Since I soo need to clear the clutter of clothes that don’t fit out of my closet, I have great admiration for you for having done it!

    As for magazines perhaps these might fill the zine void…
    Gothic Beauty
    Free Inquiry
    American Athiest
    Mother Jones
    Consumer Reports
    Time Out NY (or London)
    National Geographic
    New Moon

    I still miss Radiance Magazine (the best!!) and Mode/Grace… they were the only “plus size” mags that I thought were really great. Of course I subscribed to BBW even though I hated the publisher, and when I was younger I used to read Sassy (I’ve always hated Seventeen).

  111. I’m a BUST reader (and Bitch from time to time), but I got back into Seventeen because I wanted to get back into regular exercise (to build up my body before I learn to surf), and so I purchased a mag for the workout tips.

    I’m just trying to get into a habit of pulling out the exercises, and throwing the rest of it away. Ironically, there’s a Body Peace segment right after the editors are telling you what to eat.

  112. I was never much of a magazine reader because even before the concept of accepting my own body, fat, was ever even a twinkle in my eye I would scoff at those luscious images of cake/baked goods, etc RIGHT next to text about how some woman lost umpteen pounds. The juxtaposition fail made it easy for me to ignore them.

    However the tough part now is ignoring them while working at the library where we have ALL those “hate yourself and look at food” mags. though I’m happy because we at least now have Ms so that is fabulous! :D

  113. When I was at my parents’ house for a long spell last year, my friend C sent me a care package that included Mental Floss, Fortean Times, and some kind of cat lovers magazine that was all articles about how your cat could speak to you from beyond the grave and the like. It was pretty much the best combo of magazines ever.

  114. I’ve been reading for a while and really felt the need to comment.

    My moment happened all of a week ago. Because I had been a beast on two major projects in so many months, the Boss Lady gave me two days off. While cleaning my jungle, Dr. Oz was playing in the background. A couple was on there moaning about their sex life. The husband had ED, obvi due to his weight and the wife’s own gobs of fat left her without the stamina for sex.

    A few months ago, I would have eaten Oz’s BS. While watching it was like Gabriel and all his wisdom descended on me. I was hissing at my TV and the scary graphs he presented of fat and testosterone.

    1. I know plenty of fatties with good sex lives.
    2. The husband’s self-esteem issues are independent of his fat.
    3. The “fantasy of being thin” in both of them was quite sad.
    4. This couple has SERIOUS emotional issues with food and each other that require a therapist and not a diet.
    5. There eating/activity habits are horrible and do need to be changed. If they do make said changes, there lives will probably improve. They move lose weight, they may not.

    That was the first time I said all those things internally and believed it, truly.

  115. Hmph. My cat barely speaks to me now. We have the following exchanges regularly: “Oh my GOD, you complete HUMAN! I am standing at the door, reaching up towards the knob! I want to go outside where there are fat and stupid birds! How can you possibly fail to understand my body language? I mean really. When the dogs do it, you seem to catch on well enough. Maybe you inferior species have some sort of bond.”

    Or: “Staff! STAFF! This bathroom is disgusting. If I do not have appropriately-scented clay to pee in, I can certainly use this pile of fluffy white towels. In fact, if they were properly shredded–” a pause, and tearing, “–they would be even better than clay.”

    Or: “Hold still while I wash that spot on your arm, because I want it to be clean when I bite it.”

    I am not sure we would have much to talk about from the afterlife. I’m also pretty confident that Lucie and her namesake will get along just fine in the nether reaches of Hades without communication from her former cook/maid-of-all-work.

    I do love that animal, kind of like one loves a vitriolic and difficult old grandmother.

  116. I rid myself of the magazine bug at like… 15? 16? I had been a devoted purchaser of YM and Seventeen and all kinds of Stupid Jr. Hate Yourself mags. I had started to get the feeling that something was… eeehn… not great about them. Then I became really obsessed with Jump, which I thought was SO MUCH BETTER than the others because it actually had a human interest story in each one! …then after buying the mag for a year, I got one that was essentially ALL THE SAME ARTICLES, with different colored headers and different pages full of shiny shit that I could not buy because I was too fat, or too poor, or too Living In The Middle Of The Vast Canadian Wilderness. I was PISSED. I felt DECIEVED. I threw them into my cut-up-for-collage bin, and didn’t look back.

    (Side note: Much of my Fat Girl Clothing Hatred has fine and delicate threads of No Stores To Pick From pain woven through it. Even my skinny peers couldn’t measure up to the oh-so-breathtaking things that the girls who could go to Moncton or even *gasp* TORONTO would flash around. I had myself so convinced that I Could Not Have Good Things, that even after moving to a larger city, it took several years for me to actually GO SHOPPING and buy the sort of stuff that I’d have shat myself over, back in high school. It was like I had this huge mental block preventing me from seeing the things that WERE ACTUALLY THERE. WTF, me.)

    I find myself skimming mags of this sort when I’m at the laundromat or in a waiting room, and spend most of my time attempting to keep my eyes from rolling too obviously. I must have built up some fierce anti-self-hatred antibodies, I dunno. Or maybe Chatelaine is a less stupid magazine overall. In Canada, old-ass copies of Chatelaine are eeeeverywhere. (Nice recipies! Lovely housewares! A “health” section that is isolated all by itself that I can simply skip over!)

    Funny to talk about clothing purges. I was planning on having one of those, tonight. Mostly because yes… I do an awful lot of shopping these days and my wardrobe has expanded to occupy all available space… but partially because I KNOW I’ve got a shirt or two lurking at the margins that will fit GREAT if I like, say, get a terrible wasting disease. Better keep it around just in case! You never know when you’ll get a terrible wasting disease!

    Hahah.. yeah… no. Out they go.

  117. I love magazines but I’ve moved away from women’s magazines. Only because after 15 years of reading them, they keep recycling the same stories. It’s a natural evolution rather than a principled stand. I love travel, cookery and current affairs magazines.

    Ha. I remember once being at the gym reading about the new hotness fall fashions and about half way through the magazine I noticed some discussion of “hot new movies” that were anything but. Seriously, I had read a TWO YEAR old magazine and hadn’t even NOTICED.

    It was Lucky, btw. A magazine, I still like, but is notorious for recycling its issues every year. Seriously, it’s always PURPLE for fall and either Milla J. or Rachel Bilson graces the cover.

    Also, re: Bitch Mag. Ha. I have written for them twice. I love the magazine, but I need my pop culture with a bit more cheek and definitely MOAR pictures. Nothing against Bitch, but I long for something like Bust, that was more inclusive and not quite so hipster vectored/consumer-y.

  118. 2. The husband’s self-esteem issues are independent of his fat.

    This is absolutely true. I wish I could spread this message to the world. I felt bad about my body in high school when I was 5-10 pounds “overweight”. In college I gained 30 more pounds, but I felt so much better about myself for a variety of reasons that had nothing to do with my actual body. My best friend was thin but athletic, and her mom would constantly insult her for not being perfect, and of course my friend was affected by this. In high school I would have done anything to be as thin as she was, and yet she still wasn’t happy about her weight. Then I realized that there are people even bigger than me that would probably love to be as thin as me, and yet I wasn’t happy with my weight. I had an epiphany that it’s not the weight that causes the self-esteem issues. I realized that any attempt at losing weight for the sake of gaining self-esteem is doomed to failure. There will always be someone who is skinnier than you and someone who is fatter than you.

  119. When I was a tween there was a fantastic magazine called JUMP. It was around for maybe three years and in the model of your standard teen magazine, only minus the crap and plus the good stuff. (At least, as far as I remember. I found most teen magazines really stupid and annoying when I was their target age, and I loved JUMP, so make of that what you will.) It had celebrity interviews that were substantive, lots of stuff about fitness for health and strength rather than thinness, encouragement of intelligence, great profiles of girls living their dreams … it was super. And then, with no explanation, it stopped coming to my house. There was sort of a “bridge issue” that had some JUMP-style content and some crap, after which I received my first issue of YM as a JUMP replacement.

    I remember feeling for-serious betrayed. Here was a magazine that actually spoke to me and nerdy little girls like me who didn’t care about fashion or makeup or being thin but did care about expressing ourselves and being healthy; something other than my mom and dad saying it was okay to be smart; something that validated me … and they replaced it with YM, possibly the trashiest of the trash-rags out there?! Yeah. Never really got over that one.

    Snarkys, Entertainment Weekly is great source for celebrity and entertainment news. I used to read it religiously. I also find OK and US incredibly entertaining schadenfreude to read at the gym, but I can be kind of oblivious to body negativity of the lady-mag sort, so I wouldn’t want to endorse them as body-safe. I would hesitantly say that they lean towards body-neutral, but again, someone else could probably say better, and I could be completely wrong. I feel like they vary by issue, depending on which celeb’s life is collapsing/reigniting this week? Anyway, those are my tips. EW I wholeheartedly endorse.

  120. @sara.l: I had really liked JUMP when it was around, too! It did seem a cut above. It also had some fantaaaaaastic sex ed things in it. I remember reading some stuff that set me on the path of early feminism! As far as mags of that sort went, JUMP was pretty keen. I remember when JUMP got absorbed (or whatever) by YM, oh man, now that you’ve reminded me… I had given up reading it by that point, but I was still sad.

    But it still wound up being the same damned thing, with recycled content and new advertisements. :( Perhaps I judge it a little harshly, but the discovery of “it’s all the same damned stuff” rattled me badly.

  121. @CassieC: “The thing to understand is that MAKING WOMEN FEEL BAD IS THE BUSINESS MODEL OF WOMEN’S MAGAZINES.”

    So true!

    This thread just made me remember my all-time favorite headline (I may have stolen it out of a doctor’s office copy of a magazine just so I could continue to bask in its greatness):

    “Face-Washing Mistakes Even Smart Women Make.”

  122. I’ve never been a ladymag addict, but I do get some entertainment out of the covers while waiting in line in the grocery store. My favorite is Woman’s World – the first thing I do when I get in line is look for the four things they always have on the cover:

    Lose Weight!
    Make Fabulous Desserts!
    Save Money!
    Be Happy and Stress Free!

    It’s that last part that gets me. As a woman, you need to nurture everyone else, deprive yourself… AND DON’T FORGET TO SMILE! It’s so awful, I don’t know what to do besides laugh.

    Cleaning out my closet is one of the FA membership activities that I’ve decided to skip. I’ve gotten better about getting rid of shirts that don’t work for me, but I hate pants shopping way too much to get rid of pants that I might want later on. As long as I’m not using the small pants to scold myself and the big pants to threaten myself, I figure it’s all good.

  123. God damn, I just got another issue of GLAMOUR in the mail. They assure me that one of their “Ten Lazy Ways to Lose Weight” will work for me. I bet it’s five different things to stop eating and five “easy little changes” you* can make to your daily routine to get more exercise, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator!

    *Where “you” = “someone temporarily abled”.

  124. Huzzah for dumping that stuff, and great music choice! I don’t read magazines much, but after reading their online content for a while I finally subscribed to YES! (not a “women’s mag” substitute, but the only mag I read regularly).

    I outgrew my pants a few months ago and am still wearing them – I just don’t button them. My girth does seem to vary some depending if I’ve been active or not, and I’ve been way too sedentary for a while. I’m moving to a house with forest trails, so I like to think I’ll be getting out & moving around a lot more; if I stay the same size after doing that (or if my pants wear out soon enough, which one might), I’ll get new pants. Yep, I’m cheap and don’t like clothes-shopping. I do want to learn to make my own someday, though!

  125. @ Starling – I hearted SI for Women also. I love the way you desribe the “human animal” – you are so right.

    @ catgirl – Teen mags had useful articles about birth control?!?? I never noticed that teen mags had bc articles, and I read a LOT of them as a kid. I didn’t learn about bc until orientation week at Barnard. Thank God/god/FSM for those strong, beautiful Barnard women who taught me in depth about EVERY single form of birth control EVER.

    @ DRST – Adipositivity is beautiful, I haven’t been there in a while, thanks for encouraging me to catch up. 2/8 makes me think of my dad. 1/21 – I SWEAR I know that girl and bunny! But more importantly, Substantia’s photographs are what taught me that cellulite is not a bad thing, that it can be fascinating, inviting, and enhancing to a person’s beauty. ATTENTION EVERYBODY – CELLULITE IS NORMAL AND LOVELY.

    Man, I feel like cleaning out my dresser drawers now and getting rid of all my bras with the exposed wires and the T-shirts with olive-oil stains and pants that never fit to begin with.

  126. Krishji: If I got rid of every shirt I had with an olive-oil stain on it I would soon find myself shirtless. I’d personally much rather buy a bottle of Dawn and embrace scrubbing =P

  127. I am comforted to hear I am not the only one with trouble throwing out old clothes that don’t fit. (Though congrats to those of you that have!)

    The trouble is that last summer when I got down my new skinny weight that I was of course going to stay forever (LOL), I bought a TON of cute new summer clothes. And while luckily I did keep some things that still fit that I wear now(I have enough winter stuff and a couple pair of jeans I saved), come summer I’m not going to have any shorts or short sleeved shirts that fit.And I’m so mad at myself for starving myself to a weight I could never maintain naturally and then buying all that stuff, especially since i really can’t afford to buy new clothes again this year.

  128. The only women’s magazine that I currently read is Allure but that might find itself not getting renewed in the future. I really liked Allure because I love cosmetics and they used to focus primarily on “beauty” as opposed to fashion. No matter what size you wear, a new lipstick or eyeshadow always fits.

    However I’ve noticed that the magazine is now more about ridiculously expensive skincare that is guaranteed to erase wrinkles or lift sagging skin or surgical procedures supposed to take 10 years off your face. I believe in taking care of your skin with sunscreen, etc. but most of the crap they peddle is only good for emptying your wallet.

  129. I actually spent all day yesterday getting rid of all my clothes that didn’t fit. Turned out to be about 90% of my clothes, maybe even more. I now have 4 giant garbage bags that have to go to Goodwill and a pile of stuff for eBay, but I’m too exhausted to do anything about it.

    I still have one dress, a handful of tops, three pairs of jeans, and socks and underwear.

  130. I realized recently that I essentially wear the same kind of outfit everyday and the only difference is the amount of layering and the fabric. So I next weekend I’m ditching anything in my closet that doesn’t resemble stretchie pants, fitted tunics, mini-skirts (for layering over stretchie pants), cardigans, worker bee skirts, booka jeans (boot cut jeans, long story) and my dazzling and exhaustive collection of gray tees, tanks and tunics.

    For the last three days I’ve worn:

    two pairs of stretchie pants
    two pairs of socks
    thigh length fitted tank top
    fitted long sleeve layering tee
    sparkly mini skirt
    black wellies
    full length sweater coat

    Granted, it was different versions of the same items, but it was definitely the SAME outfit.

  131. Agreeing with Caitlin and others – magazine relapse is not fun. Every once in a while I pick up a copy of Self and find myself going, you know, I COULD have a totally flat stomach if I just tried harder. Oh, look what foods it’s telling me I should never eat – noted.

    This despite the fact that I never had a flat stomach even when I was anorexic and barely eating at all and running cross country and playing hockey and lacrosse and doing gymnastics and…yeah.

    Still think Cosmo is the worse, though. When we were 16 my friends and I used to make up fake headlines for it like “Does My Self Esteem Make Me Look Fat?” and “News From A Guy – We Really Do Hate It When You Expect Orgasms”.

  132. I live for the clearance rack ones from Kmart and the current rack ones at Target. I found a cache of cable knit and ribbed stretchie pants at Kmart for 5.99!!! Like three days ago! Juniors section and their plus sizes were not sketchy. As in my in betweenie self wore a 1x and not 3x like other places with so called “juniors plus”.

  133. “…so I can really ensure I’m not getting a lot of chow chow from advertisers…”

    Snarky’s Machine, I have to ask, what have you got against pickled-vegetable-relish-type-stuff? Because I love chow chow, and would be totally cool with advertisers trying to give it to me. (“Hey, your product really sucks, but thanks for the condiments!”) Some of my relatives have a tendency to cook collards until they turn into mush, and chow chow is the only thing that makes them palatable then.

    On a more on-topic note, I stopped reading women’s magazines when Mode went out of business. It’s Sojourners, Christian Science Monitor, and Invention & Technology at our house. (I used to think Christian Science Monitor was a religious publication… damn, they do some good journalism.)

    P.S. For those with olive-oil-stain issues, try Carbona Stain Devils. #5, for fat & cooking oil, has occasionally managed to remove stains that went through the dryer.

  134. I think my favourite working at Cosmo moment was when the editor burst out of her office (overlooking Carnaby St, natch) shouting ‘Features ideas! I’m thinking Why Ballsy Girls Love Bed!’ Then she’d send me out to buy coffee with 50p so I had to subsidise her overpaid arse. Ah, great memories.

  135. Women’s/fashion magazines have never really appealed to me. I think I instinctively just never liked the fact that they were trying to tell me I couldn’t wear X clothing and had to wear makeup and couldn’t do Y if I wanted guys to like me, so I felt too thoroughly rejected by them.

    I have enough hobbies/media that I consume that I don’t feel like I have time for magazines. I do read Wired magazine (that my boyfriend subscribes to), though; those are pretty good. For a long time I thought that Wired was mostly about what’s the latest cool tech-related thing you should buy, but that’s actually a pretty small percentage of the magazine. A lot of it is good general-interest stuff that intersects with technology, although a lot of the opiniony pieces are a bit too smug and look-how-clever-I-am-I-can-think-outside-the-box in the same way that William Saletan (of Slate) and John Tierney (of the New York Times’ Science section) and Randy Cassingham (of This Is True) are. (These people mostly DO have interesting things to say at times, but it’s barely enough to make up for the times when they’re irritating. Well, except for Tierney; he’s just as annoying as the others, but with less interesting stuff.)

    I was getting Organic Gardening for a while, and the National Wildlife Federation’s magazine, and I was reading them, but I didn’t renew them and I have enough other media waiting to be consumed that I don’t feel like I really miss them.

  136. Various sizes in my closet – because my weight does go up and down even just naturally. Not a huge range of sizes though, just two and maybe a third size as an outlier.

    Yes, me too. Well, in the basement–the closet is for the clothes that currently fit, and there’s a bin each of “too big for now” and “too small for now” in the basement because sometimes I am bigger and sometimes I am smaller and I have no idea why but it just happens.

    Back before my body acceptance days, I used to get rid of the “too big for now” clothes and I mourn some of those but I presume someone else is enjoying, or has enjoyed them so that’s good.

  137. When I was a teenager, my grandmother bought me.a subscription to Teen magazine. The feature story one month was “I WAS FAT” accompanied by a young girl with broad shoulders and hips, and big athletic thighs and arms. I remember telling my Mom, who had made some comment I don’t remember now, “but she still looks big!”. And my Mom said in a moment of foreshadowing, “not everyone gets to work out for six hours a day, Jenna.”. (At the time, I played competitive volleyball.)

    Looking back, I realize that I was judging that poor girl based on the models in the same magazine who made her still look big and made me feel fat in comparison even though I looked rather similar to the girl in the article.

    I asked my grandmother shortly after that to let the subscription go because even though I couldn’t articulate why at the time, I was beginning my fight for self-acceptance and also my journey into feminism.

    I think you did a very positive thing and I hope it works out for you as it did for me.

  138. I love magazines. Always have. I’ve never been a big fan of the ridiculous haute couture spreads in Vogue and Bazaar (and sometimes Elle), but I’ve always found something indescribably exciting about thumbing through a ‘fashion’ magazine like Glamour or Allure that has more to do with the tangible experience of turning shiny magazine pages and seeing pretty, shiny pics of pretty, shiny people (fat, thin, in-between). I could never read a magazine online. There’s just something to be said about the experience of physically touching magazine paper, turning the page and seeing another fabulous picture or layout.

    In the ’90s when Mode, Grace and Figure were being published, I bought nearly every issue and have most of them still. Every issue of those magazines was 100 times more exciting than an issue of Glamour or Allure, since I stood the chance of seeing more women in magazine photo spreads who look like me. The more I read and looked through those magazines, the less I wanted to purchase Glamour and Allure. And the less I read of those magazines, the more my self-acceptance began to grow. When Figure finally stopped publishing, something inside me died. How was I going to get my magazine fix now that they were no longer being published?

    In subsequent years, I’ve periodically bought a copy of Glamour, Allure, sometimes In Style or Lucky, just to feed my unending magazine love. But every time, I’ve felt more disappointed by every issue. Sure, there are shiny, pretty photo spreads…but no one who looks like me. It’s now become a prerequisite for me when looking through a magazine. I haven’t bought a Glamour or Allure in nearly a year, and I feel better for not giving in.

    I sorely miss my magazines and wish on a nearly constant basis for a fat fashion magazine to find a publisher again. But I rely on my old issues of Mode, Grace and Figure to get me through it. As well as my old standby, BUST magazine, to which I’ve subscribed for nearly 10 years. BUST isn’t a fashion magazine (which is fine by me; that’s not why I love it), but it does provide me, to a certain extent, with that ‘new magazine feel’ every 2 months and gives me the opportunity to flip through shiny magazine pages and have a fabulous photo spread appeal to my sense of whimsy.

  139. I remember another magazine I used to read – Women’s Health. I bought it thinking that it was all about health and fitness, and not about numbers on a scale. Boy, was I wrong! It was in some ways worse than Cosmo or Cleo, because it was so focused on the myriad workouts you *should* be doing, and even more specific about the kj/protein/carbohydrate equations.

    It took me a while to figure out that it was as bad for me as the other magazines – even though I usually felt like shit after reading it – because it was only about health, right?

  140. I hear you on the fashion mags – and the so-called exercise/healthy living mags as well. I too loved the original Mode and Grace and even BBW. These days as close as I get is More (you know, for us over 40 types) and it is still pretty bad. So it is Mother Earth News, Mother Jones, Funny Times, Wired for me. The thing I REALLLLLLLLLY hate about women’s mags is that each year they review the top 10 lipstick colours/hemlines/diet plans/etc/etc while over int he men’s mags I get reviews of cellphones and cars and cutting edge technology. I gave up on women’s mags and started buying only the men’s. Yes, they have a few of the diety things these days (and several why your woman isn’t measuring up and how you can cheat on her) but mostly they stick to really non-gender things like how to get the best cellphone coverage or why you should/should not wait to buy the latest toy/gadget (yes, I am a geeky girl).

  141. I loved Women’s Sports Illustrated and I was so mad when it folded. I wanted them to do a swimsuit issue, with women in functional swimsuits.

    And Starling, was Lucie a Siamese? Those orders sound familiar.

    I stopped reading women’s magazines after reading The Feminine Mystique. I’ve been known to press copies of it into friends hands, including politically and religiously conservative friends. At some point, I stopped reading house and cooking magazines, because they are the same as the women’s magazines; they make you dissatisfied with something in your life until you want to fix it by spending money on it. I try to buy books not magazines, and read my temporary content from the internet. I subscribe to Cooks Illustrated and Consumer Reports online.

    My Last Dragon is my closet. We moved into a new house right now and I am going through boxes of clothes that got boxed up over the last two years. While boxing up random parts of my wardrobe, I wasn’t working out, started eating a lot of junk, and stopped lifting weights and attending bellydance classes. Oh, and I started BCP. So I gained a large amount of weight, that might come off now that I have a sane life, a fabulous kitchen to cook healthy food in, I found my weights and am starting an aerobics class next week.

    So I’m sorting my clothes. I found all the things I wore right after the Last Diet, when I was about 60-70 pounds lighter than I am now, which are all about a size 10. Then there’s a larger stack of 12’s and 14’s, which are things I wore at a really comfortable weight and are really nice clothes and a couple of dresses I loved. I have conservative/preppy taste, and they aren’t really out of style. This stack makes me the most upset, because I can’t find clothing like this in my size, like lined wool slacks and silk shirts. And forget business suits. Then there are the smaller stacks of haphazard purchases made while gaining weight, very little these stacks is especially good quality or well chosen.

    So I’m going to put the clothes that fit me in my closet and my dresser. I’m going to box up the others by size, and put them some where I don’t have to look at them. I’m going to work out and eat better, and buy clothes sparingly until my body settles somewhere. Then I will start to rebuild my wardrobe with the high quality clothing I want to wear, and losing the stuff in stack one and maybe stack two won’t feel like such a loss.

  142. Aimee, no, she’s a domestic shorthair. It’s kind of like living with Anna-Wintour-as-channeled-by-Meryl-Streep. But then, Lucie is short for Lucifer. I knew what I was getting into.

    I would adore a swimsuit issue about actual swimsuits! That are great, for purposes of swimming! Instead of swimsuits which are a scanty excuse for photos of nearly-nekkid women, or swimsuits which are used to “camouflage” one’s “problem areas.” I myself own a very va-va-voom one piece in red, a size 24 from Target, which I absolutely adore and which does not ride up or ride down when I body-surf. Also, it makes me feel I am basically a kind of semi-goth Sophia Loren, and it never makes me think of any part of my body as a “problem spot.” It makes me want to go out après beach in a bright blue dress and bright blue patent leather high heels. A swimsuit that does not make me run for a towel: now that is a miracle suit.

    Those are the kind of swimsuits I want to see in a glossy mag someday.

  143. @Name: see my rant here (if you dare :)–Women’s Running is fluffy and just basically sucks IMO. If you click the link in there to my older post, there is a good article about HAES, more or less (you can still read it on their web site) which originally gave me false hope that it would be better than it is. I don’t read Runner’s World or anything and am not a technical expert by any stretch, but I am fairly confident that just about any other running publication would have more substantive content than this one.

    Credit where credit is due, the free copy I picked up in October did have a really interesting article on Kathrine Switzer.

  144. @ krisji- I had to delurk to say, strong beautiful Barnard women for the WIN! That school has made me such a joyfully bitchy feminist, I don’t even know what I’d have done without it…

    As for dragon slaying, I got rid of about half of my pants after winter break this year, and a tough battle with “oh well I’ll get back to dancing and all this weight will just peel right off.” Nope. Not coming off, no matter how many hours I spend in lessons. And more importantly, I realized that I deserve pants that fit now and not in some hypothetical future. So I went out and bought some, which seems so obvious, but I had to give myself a semester-long talking to before I finally did it. And now all of my pants fit, and I look beautiful and feel happy.

  145. @ M Dubz – OMG totes hearted, strong beautiful Barnard woman! Here’s to that little college on a hilltop and all the feminine realities we made for ourselves! Oh Dean Denberg and PresBo, I miss thee so. The best part was going to Health Services with the manniquin covered in magazine clippings that encouraged poor body image and unhealthy ideas about eating wrapped up in chains. That would never fly anywhere else. If we want to talk about tributes to the poisons of ladymags, nothing quite tops the Barnard Well Woman manniquin.

  146. @Perigrin8 – I think I love you.

    @Sweet Machine – Ahhhh – it’s probably past bedtime where you are so we’ll all have to wait until tomorrow to find out how the knitting needle exploded. I didn’t know that could even happen.

    @Snarky’s Machine – great post. Odd timing for me, as you posted the very same evening that I was tidying my main closet and decided to finally look inside a box of clothes I have been keeping for over 2 decades (wow – time flies). They were all pants and skirts from the one time in my adult life that I was skinny.

    I was never sure why I was skinny, but I think it had something to do with my smoking a pack and a half a day and sleeping only every other day (full-time school plus full-time night shift job equals horrible sleep habits). I don’t remember eating less and I certainly remember that I ate much less healthfully (typical student diet).

    I think I kept the clothes because they were my favorites from that era. And, in looking at them I could see why because I would buy them all again today, but in bigger sizes. But I was also just stunned at how tiny they were and stunned that when I was that skinny I had received so much positive feedback, when now I think I must have been too thin for my frame and not very healthy (see above – re smoking and not sleeping). And I remember how, even though it was nice to finally have all that approval for being thin, I was really, really, really unhappy. I mean so unhappy that if I made any mistake, even something as small as missing a class, or as unavoidable as sleeping during a time I had meant to stay awake, I would be miserable for days at my failure. And I remember how much of a relief it was when I finally realized I was entitled to sleep when I wanted to sleep, and how the relief of that is so much like the relief I am starting to feel in this community, at realizing that I’m entitled to eat when I want to eat, regardless of my size.

    As for magazines, I get O, although I probably won’t renew. I like many of the fashion spreads, and the advice columns are entertaining, but the encouragement of materialism is just depressing and the more I read anything by Oprah herself the more I think she’s just lost. I got Dirt Rag for a while, which had cool reviews of bike stuff, but horrible writing, and I get the Atlantic and have for a while, but it seems as if it is getting kind of soft and insubstantial.

  147. My dragon was Shape magazine, I subscribed until I realized how much it was contributing to self-hatred, and it’s my guilty back-sliding pleasure while I’m in the grocery store line (less often these days). Especially the “success stories” there — where I scoff at the “years maintained this weight” when they are less than 5. Have they ever reported the 5-year “success rate” of their published “success stories?”
    So, here I am at a lower-than-average weight for me, and I refuse to purge my closet of the clothes that are too big. Here are some reasons why:
    – I have no idea if my weight/size will stay where it is. Past experience would lead me to believe that it may not.
    – I love these clothes and have held onto them for a long time.
    – I don’t believe that having the clothes in the closet will make me regain the weight or prevent me from regaining the weight. I don’t think these particular clothes have that power.

    I do sometimes think that if there’s a woman out there who shares my shape (big bust, big tummy, big thighs, broad shoulders, smallish hips and butt) but is a size 22/24 petite (between 5’2″ and 4’11”), I would happily give her these clothes. There are many lovely items for work and dressing up. None were particularly expensive, but they tend to be fairly well-made and decently cared-for.

  148. As I think about it, magazines never really were a dragon for me. (My waiting room magazine of choice is still Southern Living; I love gardening, and tips about what will and won’t grow well where I live are always appreciated. I’m also sometimes deeply tempted to surreptitiously tear out recipes.) My current dragon is my closet, still. Granted, my weight has in the past tended to change without notice, but ever since I gave up dieting (and lost a bit of weight in the process… biology is confusing), I’ve been pretty stable at my current approximate size. I’ve been going through my closet bit by tiny bit, getting rid of maybe half a dozen things each time. Getting rid of anything that was a single-digit size was a no-brainer, but the rest… I have some beautiful wool and silk suits that belonged to my grandmother, that are only a little too small for me (and miles too big for my sister and my cousin’s wife). Realistically, I’m not ever going to get into a size 12 again, and a women’s shelter could make really good use of them, but I still miss her so much that I can’t bear to get rid of them. Maybe next year.

    Congratulations, Snarky’s Machine, on your dragon-slaying.

  149. I was so happy when I put my red jeans in the good will pile. They didn’t fit me, hadn’t fit me in years, before that had only fit me while leaving awful marks on my belly for years, and I had bought them when I was fifteen. Then I told my mother, “I am getting rid of these jeans because they don’t fit me.” I felt freed.

  150. My most recent dragon (certainly not the last) was getting past the false belief that I would lose weight by walking an hour a day. Eventually I realized that the pleasure of rising before dawn and moving my body through time and space as the sun comes up is, well, its own reward.

  151. You know, I don’t want to beat up on anyone, especially since all you guys are clearly trying to slay some dragons. But there are at least a few comments here about eating “well” or “healthfully” or “junk food,” etc., and maybe that’s because we haven’t had the conversation in a while about how there’s no such thing as “good” or “bad” food. (Or “real” or “fake” or universally “healthy” or “unhealthy” or food that’s junk or food that has more value. Or “empty” calories vs. nutritious ones.) It’s all just food. Your body may benefit from a particular combination of foods, but that’s not universal or easily generalized, and it’s not a moral failing to eat foods that society (and magazines) are telling you are bad/junk/empty/low-class. Nutrition is important, but we eat primarily to generate energy (the calories part) and not every morsel has to serve multiple purposes. And pleasure from food is also important and okay.

    I just wanted that to be out there in this thread. In case you forgot, the blogmistresses here have granted you all license to eat whatever you want, whenever you want. :)

  152. I realized recently that I essentially wear the same kind of outfit everyday and the only difference is the amount of layering and the fabric

    Yep. I finally purged my closet, not of fat clothes (I’ve been mostly fat since I was young, so if I had “skinny” clothes they would be poodle skirts), but of all those things I kept buying to I’d wear when my personality magically became that of someone willing to spend more than 30 seconds thought on getting dressed every day. It’s not that I don’twant to look nice. I do. I’m just not likely to work very hard to make it happen. At least not at 5 AM. For the last, oh, decade or so, I’ve been a faithful follower of the Steve Jobs School of Fashion. Find what works and stick to it.

    I think all of this is really an expanded form of self-acceptance. It’s about admitting (and accepting and even liking!) who we are and not being talked into buying stuff that would only work if we were someone else.

  153. Since I’m not that into fashion, my closet isn’t my dragon, and my size is slowly less of a dragon to me than it was a year ago. Right now my ‘muffin top’ is my dragon. I’m fighting with feeling mostly ok about my size but hating hating hating my spare tire. I spent the week with a friend who’s struggling with her own dragons about her size, and lots of pictures were taken, so that made it worse.
    As for magazines, I like ‘Cook’s Illustrated” – no ads, no fat hate or body snarking, and lots of foodie geek trivia. However, I can’t resist free magazines so I sometimes get leftover Vanity Fair, More, O, Martha Stewart, and miscellaneous vaguely new agey healthy livings ones. I read them in the bathtub and stop if I get annoyed.

  154. Finding good magazines is hard. I never got into the women’s magazines or the gossip mags, thank goodness. Grandma used to get Ladies Home Journal, and I’d look at it occasionally because it was there, but the magazines that I’d watch for in the mail were her Reader’s Digest, and Dad’s Mother Earth News and Discover. And Games magazine. Love me some brain-breaking pencil puzzles!

    Currently we’re getting Newsweek, the Economist, Atlantic, Smithsonian, and US News and World Report. That last one’s going to go — the news weeklies can be as bad for you as the lady mags, full of spurious “health” advice and shoulds and musts.

    If I had money I’d subscribe to Fine Woodworking again. Furniture porn! And Fine Homebuilding and maybe Threads. Haven’t seen as many issues of those, but it did seem to have substantive articles about sewing.

  155. Just wanted to share in the Cook’s Illustrated love. The science geek in me loves the way they report their methodology (“we tried these 19 different ways of making a chocolate cake, and here’s the one that worked the best”), plus they’re big fans of butter.

  156. Ah! How appropriate… I was just mulling over whether or not I want to clean out the my thinner clothes in plastic containers that are taking up too much space in my already packed office/bedroom.

    I’m also continually mystified by colleagues who claim to feminists but still read Cosmo et al. That just seems like a no brainer. Some say its a guilty pleasure. It makes me want to blast L7.

    My personal pet peeve from those mags are the…’find the move that will blow his mind….’ type articles. A huge chunk of women admit they fake orgasms and a decent number have never even had an orgasm. How about articles that say ‘ help your dood find the spot that blows YOUR fucking mind.’

  157. Whooo!!! Go Snarky!! And here’s hoping they are recycled into something awesome, like art paper or copies of Bitch Magazine.

  158. @fatsmartchick

    Wow, L7! Glad to see them mentioned. I just discovered them a few years back, great stuff.

  159. I am a subscriber to “Filament” because I want to support the magazine. I don’t think treating men like erotic objects is necessarily a path to fixing gender problems, because “equal” doesn’t mean “treat me identically,” but I admire the chutzpah required to start such a magazine.

    True, but it’s nice for some of us gals to enjoy it :) It’s so insulting to see all of these magazines with male sex symbols and they only show their FACES. Because no women ever want to look at, and enjoy, men’s bodies?! Yeah. Right.


    Can we have this on t-shirts, bumper stickers, etc.?

  160. Congratulations, snarkysmachine! And congratulations to all the ladies (and gentlemen) who’ve written in with stories of purging “you’re ugly, buy shit” mags out of their lives.

    I was hardcore into fashion mags from ten years old until twenty. I’m twenty-two, so this is recent. The last pop culture mag I read religiously, besides Bitch, was Nylon. I was a subscriber. I even made a collage of Nylon pictures in my freshman dorm. (I also had a collage of Black Panther Party pics, and a couple poems by Sylvia Plath taped up. My wall looked pretty weird.) Nylon is a huge fail in many regards (mainly race, class, and fat acceptance). Keep in mind, I was a moody hipster/feminist in the embryonic stage/passionately envious of everyone around me at the time because they were wealthy/upper middle class/still in the closet/recovering from an eating disorder. Nylon worked for me at the time. I appreciate that stage in my life because it was part of my personal development. But I wouldn’t read it or recommend it now.

    I am crossing my fingers for an explosion of woman and queer positive pop culture mags to pop up before I possibly have a daughter (or a son or a genderqueer child, because those messages affect everyone). I want hir to have as little heternormative indoctrination as possible, so alternatives to those shame rags would be awesome.

  161. It’s not nearly as toxic as all the dieting advice, but why is it that women’s magazines are also bursting with advice on de-cluttering?

    Either it’s just another way to tell women “whatever you are doing, you’re doing it wrong and need to let us tell you how to improve,” or it’s yet another gaslighting practice along the lines of “look at this beautiful cake/don’t you dare eat it.”

    The clutter version of the latter would be “look at all the shiny objects you should buy this month. You greedy girl, you have too many shiny objects. Here is how to get them under control.”

  162. Great post.

    I felt so much better after getting rid of my stacks of old fashion magazines, too.

    Can I make a minor nitpick?

    Disconnect – verb.
    Disconnection – noun.

    I have seen people using “disconnect” as a noun all over the place the last couple of years, and it’s been bugging me. What is that all about? Is “-tion” a hopelessly unfashionable ending? To be au courant, is it necessary to forget the difference between a verb and a noun?

    As the Calvin and Hobbes strip says, “Verbing weirds language”.

    Sorry for the derail, but….this grammar geek can’t let innocent words be butchered…

  163. I’m through with them, though my subscriptions haven’t run out yet. I’ve got a strange conundrum though.

    A couple years ago, I made a collage consisting of little cut out pics of Katherine Hepburn, Audrey Hepburn, Isabella Blow, Linda Evangelista, Sophia Coppola, Marianne Faithful, Diana Ross, Catherine Deneuve, Coco Chanel, Isabella Shiaperelli, and Greta Garbo. I did this because the style and sass of these women inspire me. I love a classic, boy-ish look, with casual and sleek mixed together, and all of these women make me happy. Except in the ways they don’t. Shiaperelli has famously said the woman needs to change herself to fit the clothes. Karl Lagerfeld heads up Chanel, and Chanel herself could be vicious. And every single woman in my collage is thin.

    It’s a really gorgeous collage, and I thought that it got my sassy back every morning as I got out of the shower. Now I’m thinking that it, like my favorite picture of Grace Jones smoking on the Nightclubbing picture undermined my attempts to quit smoking, is undermining my ability to really love my body as it is.

    I wonder what people think.

  164. @Rebecca – I think on the one hand, that collage could be inspiring you in terms of fashion or style – is it? Are you more inspired fashion-wise or feeling more fabulous? Or it could be a subconscious IV drip of the “beauty is thin” mantra.

  165. @Rebecca
    I think what you’re saying is so interesting. I’ve been considering doing a style board and I know I don’t want to trip up along the lines you’re talking about. And I think I would. Not so much on the “thin” but on the “OMFG-gorgeous” thing. I’ve never related to gorgeous women nor the images of them looking even more gorgeous through photography, photoshop, lighting. I’m not gorgeous (nor thin). Like I’d probably put screenshots Cynthia Nixon in her Carnivale get-ups (she is beautiful but she also looks very “real” to me) and (don’t laugh) Dr. Horrible’s get-ups which were blandly masculine but I liked them.

    I also laughed at the Grace Jones / smoking thing. I could totally see this happening to me!

    If it’s undermining you I suggest making a new collage!

  166. @Rebecca, I share some of your icons of fabulosity, particularly Ross and Jones, who embody the kind of unflinching badassatry I strive for. Not looking like them or raging their style, but more seeing them as fairy godmoms who can give guidance via their artistic contributions and run ins with authority figures.

  167. I do miss Figure magazine sometimes, even if it was a giant running advertisement for 3 specific plus-size clothing companies. It didn’t make me feel bad about my body like traditional women’s magazines did, but I didn’t like the underlying message–“Buy our clothes! Buy our clothes!”

    I’ll occasionally read Martha Stewart Living for the food and decor photography, but I don’t subscribe. Actually, I don’t have any magazine subscriptions right now, come to think of it.

    Mostly I read blogs and Web zines. With the help of RSS, it’s what I loved about paper magazines to begin with–some thoughtful pieces, some fluff, generally a quick read–but I have finer control over the types of content I subscribe to. I bookmark my favorite articles so I can sift through them later, like a digital inspiration board. It works for me, but I’ll admit, unless you have a laptop, it’s tougher to read in the bathroom. :)

  168. @ Rebecca and Snarky’s – this idea of making a collage of “fairy godmoms of badassery” is really inspiring me. I think I might have to make one myself. I’m not trying to quit smoking (and NEVER WILL!) so Grace Jones is going front and centre.


    Can we have this on t-shirts, bumper stickers, etc.?

    As your token gay moment for today: I have this on my heart. :)

    (See also: stretchmarks. I have never seen a woman naked who didn’t have them. I’m sure there are plenty who don’t, but for srs, they are completely. normal. And anyone who actually likes you enough to be seeing you naked shouldn’t give a good goddamn about them. Because of the AWESOME.)


  170. I clap at your decision to get off the girlie mag train.

    I was on it from a teenager until a few years ago. And when I was dieting, Slimming and Health was my obsession. All of these were just the default magazine for when I wanted some light reading, or if I was taking a plane trip, I would buy them as a “treat”. But the damage they do is really subtle. I like myself better since stepping back from them. For a few years, I funneled the interest into music magazines.

    Now the only magazine I’m into is Frankie, as pfctdayelise mentioned, which is fairly homogenous in terms of cover girls, and the models therein, but I like the crafty aspect and the articles. And there are no, “79 million ways to Give your man an O” articles, or anything of that ilk, so I don’t feel oppressed after reading it.

  171. Very late returning to the party, but: just finished purging my closet. Taking a bunch of stuff to Dress for Success and the rest to a thrift shop. This just in: women’s clothing sizes make no fucking sense. I had stuff that fit fine that was theoretically several sizes smaller than stuff that was way too tight, which meant I had to try on everything to see whether it fit or not. Took several days, but it’s done.

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