Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Wrinkles, Creams and The Evil Known as 'Fashion Magazines'

I love a good fashion magazine. I really do. I love the pages showing the expensive items next to the so-called affordable items (which are also out of my range), I love the crazy outfits the stylists assemble, and I adore the idiotic relationship advice. It's always so amusing in its innaccuracy.

Here is my problem, however. While the pages of these magazines advise us to love ourselves, eat well and exercise, the advertising tells us to hate ourselves, buy lots of expensive creams, and use some sort of 'paddle' to avoid celulite.


I'm not quite thirty yet. I've got a good year and a half to go and I've already started thinking about wrinkles. Fucking hell. I always thought I'd be able to avoid this sort of self-defeating thinking patterns, but I know I'm not alone. While I may be able to think logically, I have trouble acting logically. The fact that I've spotted anti-wrinkle creams in the bathrooms of at least two of my fabulously-skinned girlfriends confirms to me that we are all doing the same thing. We are beliveing that we need them, because the advert said so.

Why do we do this? We all are educated, intelligent women with lives on the go. We know wrinkle creams don't actually work. In fact, we don't really even have wrinkles. The magic of the beauty industry is that they make us believe we do, even when we don't. They make us believe that we can buy something to reverse or prevent this natural phenomenon. They make us believe we need the cream, and that our lives will be better for having used it. Are we complete idiots?

I sat for a few minutes this morning staring through hazy morning eyes at an ad for a wrinkle cream. The model's skin is so smooth. There aren't even any pores. As I stare at it my eyes begin to open, more and more. That's not even human, that model. Even the model doesn't really look like this. I'm a graphic designer by trade for fuck's sake. I know full well that this is not only generously airbrushed, but it's likely completely edited to the point that the model herself isn't really appearing in the ad. It's just a glossed over version of a model. Who is, likely, 14 years old. Yet somehow, I am convinced.

The age of models used in magazines does a number on us too. I don't really notice it when the model is young. You know who does? My boyfriend. He'll be sitting in the bathroom, reading a copy of something beside the toilet, and yell to me, "What the fuck have they got this 12 year old modelling business attire for?" The sad thing is, everytime this has happened, and it does more often than he'd like to admit, he's always right. I pick up the magazine, have a look and think, hmmm...he's right, she's completely 12, or maybe 14. And this is the image I am intended to 'aspire' to?

Because after all, aren't women's magazines about 'aspiring' to something? They say if they put affordable clothes in women's magazines, we don't buy the magazine again. Why? It's not because we can afford $1200 Chanel socks, it's because we aspire to be able to afford them. Just like we aspire to be smooth-skinned like wrinkle cream models and thin-thighed like the 12 year olds modelling business suits.

It is so distorted, this reality we are aspiring to, that even with all the money in the world we'd never have it. They can make wrinkle creams from diamonds, but they still won't be worth the money, they just don't work.

When I look at Madonna lately I'm incredibly disappointed. She went and got all botoxed up to the point that her face doesn't move. Wrinkle free, sure, but devoid of human characteristics that made her face interesting. It's particularily disturbing on Madonna - a woman that so many looked up to as a symbol of feminine strength. But even the strongest woman has trouble avoiding the pitfalls of vanity.

Vanity is a trap, and I hope to spend much of my life fighting against what the big companies are trying to convince me is wrong with me. There is nothing wrong with a few wrinkles~! In fact, I might even let my hair go grey. Take that beauty industry! Men are deemed more attractive with age, with more wrinkles. With good reason - they look more handsome. This isn't a falsehood, ask any woman and she'll say that its true. Why can't it be this way for women? (This, dear reader, is rhetorical. I know why. Sigh)

All I can say to my dear dear friends, and to myself, is this: Be Strong. Look at each and every ad for a product and pick it apart. Spot the airbrushing. Laugh at the idiotic claims and promises. I think it will make you feel a lot better inside, than buying the wrinkle cream will.

Sigh. I miss Sassy Magazine.

1 comment:

SVCON said...

I *may* have bought both an anti-aging face wash from Olay and the "pro-age" body lotion from Dove(the Dove body lotion is the most ludicrous of the two as it's definately targeted towards women over 50. It goes well with the senior-specific chewable vitamins I bought by accident). I have no real reasoning for these purchases, except for the fact that I am a horrible product addict.

It's funny, as a young girl, I used to absolutely adore my wonderful beautiful late-teened babysitter. What I coveted most about her was the way her forhead wrikled in small horizonal lines when she raised her eyebrows. Something about this seemed so sexy and wise and adult. So when I started to develop those lines, I was kind of excited.

Have you read Shamless magazine? It's pretty good, although not as awkward, funny and real as Sassy was. I still miss Sassy more than anything (what a disappoinment Jane was).