This morning I did what most people are not doing on a Monday morning; I went to have a pedicure with a girlfriend. I know, you are thinking, “Wow, Sarah, decadent!” Oh and it was. We lounged in the empty salon, me with my free bottle of water and Jess with her tea while we gossiped and chatted about our children. (My dog, her bunny.) Once our necks started to cramp a little from turning our heads to look at each other, we both relaxed into our personal pile of magazines. Now, I am not a regular magazine reader. I subscribe to O Magazine and I am always down for a little bit of the New Yorker at the doctor but other than that, I have too many other things to read. (I am in graduate school.) Which means it had been awhile since I had perused a copy of US Weekly, People, or In Touch. And I am telling you my friends, it will be a long time before I ever do again. The cover of every single one of those magazines was about how Jessica Simpson has apparently gotten fat. There are so many reasons why I am upset by these headlines but since I don’t want everyone to be bored by my tirade on the media (trust me I can go on and on), I will focus on just one.
The people who buy these magazines are who? Mostly women. I know that right now I am making an extremely un-scientific generalization. I am sure that there are many men who read US Weekly. However, it has been my observation that it is mostly women who are scouring the racks at supermarket checkouts, and engrossing themselves in People at the doctor’s office, or specifically going in for a manicure in order to catch up on Brangelina and TomKat.
Why is it that we women love to look at pictures of famous people in their bathing suits or like Miss Simpson today, in their not-so-skinny jeans? I am not sure what it is, exactly. Is it that we like to compare ourselves to them? Is it because it makes us feel better to know that even with all that makeup and money and good genes, they are still able to put on a few pounds? Is it because we are so sick of seeing models looking like starving giraffes, it is a breath of fresh air to see them without makeup and in sweats? Is it because we can feel a little better about ourselves if they look a little worse? That may be what we think we are doing, but it’s not working.
Reading these magazines has a negative effect on our self-esteem whether or not the women have cellulite. Now I am speaking scientifically. There have been studies done on this. Apparently, all a woman has to do is look at a magazine for one to three minutes and her self-esteem drops. One minute?! Which means it makes perfect sense that I just finished off a bag of Mint Milanos. I must have been looking at that magazine for a good twenty! Not only do these, I like to call them trashy magazines, make us feel worse about ourselves, they make us want what we don’t have. Who hasn’t looked at a magazine or billboard and thought, wow, I wish I had a new (insert expensive item here).
The worst part about these magazines is that they are being purchased and appreciated and read by the very women whose self-esteem they are lowering. It’s a vicious cycle.
This week I am going to make it a point to stay away from negative media. I am going to carry a book in my handbag for possible doctor-visit temptation. I am going to print off this article and re-read it in the supermarket while I am waiting in line and I am going to refrain from visiting similarly trashy Web sites.
I invite everyone reading this to join me. Think about why it is you want to read these magazines and whether or not you truly believe that they are making you feel good. Even if you think that they are a positive influence in your life it won’t hurt to stay away for just a week or two. Trust me there will still be stars without makeup next week.
Be good to your body, it’s where you live.