Proof that women’s magazines can make you feel… okay. [personal post]

Photo: Tash Clark

[Note: this is primarily a personal post and doesn’t have a lot to do with the media. This post is for me, it’s my blog after all. Now is your chance to click the back button.]

I regularly read Glamour magazine, and despite the stigma associated with women’s magazines such as these, I do quite enjoy it.

For a politics student whose magazine rack also includes a variety of papers, the New Statesman and Prospect, it may look a little out of place.

As fourteen year-olds we were all horribly shocked when Lauren* first brought it into registration:

“Sex tips? But I’m not having sex…”

“How to move up in your career? What is this stuff, I haven’t done my GCSEs yet.”

“I much prefer Mizz.”

A common misconception as we’ve matured slightly, is that women’s magazines are stereotypical, sexist, degrading piles of shit filled with hundreds of glossy pages of skinny models, unaffordable clothes and far too many tips about how to ‘wow’ your man in bed. Whilst in many ways I can sympathise with this view, on the whole I disagree with much of the stigma surrounding women’s magazines. Personally, I can honestly say that reading Glamour makes me feel empowered, sexy, and confident (albeit longing for some extra dollar to buy that new skirt on page 72).

A few weeks ago, on a train journey back home, I pulled out the latest issue. It wasn’t the ‘Five ways to bag your dream job’, or the ‘Instant pick me ups’ pages that did it. Near the front of every magazine they have a regular feature ‘Hey, it’s OK…’ where they list embarrassing things many women do, and reassure us that it’s fine to still argue with our sibling about who gets to sit in the front, and other silly things like that which are designed to make us giggle. It was that feature that reminded me that Hey, it’s OK… to be okay.

It’s been a rough few months. Break-ups, arguments, new jobs, moving home, internships, and illness both mental and physical. I spent two weeks straight on the sofa. I went through a lot of tissues. I went on numerous medications and dropped two stone. Things got a bit dark.

Reading that feature made me realise, though, that I was still okay. I managed to drag myself out of bed. Stop the tears, eat, go back to work. Getting thrown in at the deep end again makes you get up fast. I put together the print edition of a new newspaper in less than a week, held down a 45-hour a week job, wrote countless blogs for various publications, got back in touch with friends and family, networked confidently in a room of journalists and learnt to drive an Audi. It was a productive summer, to say the least.

It’s incredibly easy to get tangled up in what’s going wrong on life; the every day stresses, the constant to-do lists, people to see, places to be etc. I’m sure I can’t be the only one who forgets to give myself a bit of praise for just being okay, for still fighting. Life is tough. Recognise that sometimes you’ve won a battle just by getting through another day, another lecture, another meeting. Reward these little successes, because we must. We must, in order to keep on fighting.

You are doing just fine. All the stress and the strain aside, you are okay. And that is brilliant.

Hey, it’s OK… to be okay.

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Filed under Health, Media, Philosophy

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