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"Gossip" magazines - as bad as Lad's Mags/Page 3?

(45 Posts)
AnnieLobeseder Fri 04-Oct-13 20:11:39

So the recent campaigns against Page 3 and Lad's Mags are fantastic and definitely long overdue. But I want to know why no-one seems to want to make a fuss about women's "gossip" magazines.

I've just popped to my corner shop and there, staring out at me from the magazine racks are "Forced to abort my baby after my dad raped me" and similar hideousness. And "Chantelle's binge eating shame" showing some apparent celebrity with a tiny bulge of a belly lamenting how "enormously fat" she is.

I mean, WTAF?!?! My 8yo reads just fine. I'm just waiting to be asked what rape is, and then asked why a daddy would ever do that. And to be asked if that lady is really fat, Mummy?

Not to mention how triggering it must be for survivors of rape and sexual assault when there's a story about it in luminous orange text on the cover of at least one magazine each week. Or for people with eating disorders to be told that normal-sized women are appallingly obese.

I think I'd rather have the scantily-clad women, to be honest. Yes, we all know these rags aren't worth the paper they're printed on, but neither are Lad's Mags. And the messages are still out there, at child-height, for them to read.

grimbletart Fri 04-Oct-13 21:54:43

Annie: I think these celeb mags are the spawn of the devil. I was in the hairdressers the other day and picked up a handful of mags - Now, Closer etc. They are vomit making. Pretty much every page was either about being too fat or too skinny, about getting figures back after babies, about who is shagging whom.

I agree, in their own way, they are as sick as the lads' mags.

No wonder so many young girls are obsessed with their figures, their diets and thinking that appealing to men is the most important thing in life rather than getting a life of their own.

They are total tripe. Even the old fashioned weeklies such as Woman and Woman's Own, which used to exist in a 50s time warp of knitting, cooking and domesticity - tedious rather than actively damaging - are as bad now.

I hadn't seen these mags really having no interest in them, but I sat there turning page after page in a sort of horrible fascination that anything could be such complete shit and so damaging. sad

sinistersal Fri 04-Oct-13 21:58:32

They are awful

But the main difference I can see is that the lads mags trade in images, while the gossip mags need to be read. It's not quite as in your face as children may not take the time to read them, be able to read them, or understand what the words they read mean.

YoniTime Fri 04-Oct-13 22:00:38

Yeah I hate them too. And yes kids can you know, read sad
Who is the audience for these "look at this female celebs body!! omg so fat/skinny!!" anyway?

kim147 Fri 04-Oct-13 22:04:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

UnicornsPooGlitter Fri 04-Oct-13 22:07:58

I find them truly awful, yet hugely addictive if I read them, so I don't! The photographs aren't the kind of thing I want DS to see either.

YoniTime Fri 04-Oct-13 22:14:09

What is it that you like about them Unicorns? I'm curious why people find them interesting since I don't.

kim147 Fri 04-Oct-13 22:19:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

angryangryyoungwoman Fri 04-Oct-13 22:27:26

I think this is a brilliant thread. I have hated these magazines for years. I agree that the sensationalism of their stories which are usually based around serious issues is damaging to and can be exploitative of the people 'telling their stories.' it is also damaging for children/teenagers etc to see this normalisation of diets, obsession with weight and I think they are all a pile of shit tbh.

BasilBabyEater Fri 04-Oct-13 22:37:55

They are the most peculiar magazines, you see them just before you get to the checkout don't you?

What I find really odd, is the ones which have soap characters on the front with headlines from the soap's storyline - so not about the actors, but about the actual characters as if they are real.

It's just bizarre and unhealthy and ever so slightly sinister. Like a plot to make people stupid.

Yougotbale Fri 04-Oct-13 22:43:41

I don't think you can say which one is worse. They are on different tangents of the same problem. One sexualise and objectifies and one pushes beauty and hounds celebs for weight, cellulite, fashion, make up, etc.

There is one common theme and that's brain rotting. I couldn't careless if bieber has a new £500 grand car or vorderman has a dimply arse. I don't care if a glamour model airbrushed within an inch of her life is trying to make me bet online. It's all so fucking sad

rosabud Fri 04-Oct-13 23:01:33

A close relative of mine had her "diet success" story featured in one of these magazines. Her "story," which is actually one of life-long dysfunctional attitudes to food that has resulted in a huge strain on her health, her relationships with other people and her own self-esteem, was trivialised as a "Yay, I lost X stone" scenario. As somebody who has been affected by this person's sad, negative history with food and dieting, I found the article disatasteful and depressing. However, my close realtive, not one for political analysis or feminist theory, was thrilled and I had no choice but to smile and say how wonderful it was. sad

I can't put into words how much I hate those magazines.

Darkesteyes Fri 04-Oct-13 23:58:54

While i agree with some of what you say (i prefer mags like Psychologies but their sales have dropped by 45% in the last year according to ABC circulation figures) it is not women who have abused me in the street in the past because of my size (i used to be a size 28 then dropped to a 14 , am now a 20) it is MEN who have shouted out all sorts of nasty mysogynistic sizeist comments in the street and i really dont think they have been reading Glamour.
I was on a rare night out a while ago with a friend and a bloke commented on the size of her chest. She is slim and small His comment “Blimey you are hardly Nuts material are you?

THIS is why i would prefer the lads mags to go first and then we can start tackling the celebrity rags

MsJupiterJones Sat 05-Oct-13 09:21:57

Hate celebrity/gossip magazines but love real-life ones. I agree that some of the headlines can be triggering but would much rather read a story about someone's life experience than a celeb diet or circle of shame etc. I think the worst is Grazia as it has pretentions to be serious and about fashion when actually it's just as vacuous and small-minded as Heat etc.

The real life magazines feature women from all walks of life, often giving a perspective that wouldn't be heard otherwise. They often feature LGBT people without that being the story or sensationalised. Fat, thin, old, young, black, white, all there and no airbrushing.

Of course they are not perfect either (and the random models on the front cover are not so diverse!) but I love reading magazines and can't stomach any of the celeb type ones so these are my go-to switch-off option.

scallopsrgreat Sat 05-Oct-13 10:02:39

I agree completely with Darkesteyes. It's men's attitudes that need to change first.

Darkesteyes Sat 05-Oct-13 14:44:00

YY grimble about Woman and Womans Own.
They are now as vacuous as Closer.

In fact Woman is simply Closer aimed at an older demographic. its not just celebrity fluff either.
Woman and Closer have been printing stories that are much more harmful.
They have both been targeting single mothers on benefits. And writing in such a way as if it is entirely the womans fault for getting pregnant I wandered on to Womans FB page a couple of times after such stories were printed. And the "should have kept her legs closed" type comments was the perfect example of extreme mysogyny. I tried to point out that what is often printed is classist mysogynist propaganda but i was really pissing in the wind.
Woman and Closer are as bad as the Daily Mail.

whatdoesittake48 Sat 05-Oct-13 17:07:15

Is it really men's attitudes which need to be changed? I think women need to worked on too. Someone is buying these mags - in fact millions of women read them every day. Women are being provided with what they are asking for: pictures of women on diets, pictures of celebs looking normal/abnormal/ugly/beautiful/whatever...

the problem is that for whatever reason women are asking for this shite and paying for it. We need to get to the bottom of why that is. Have the magazines themselves created the market or does it exist because of other societal pressures/ conventions?

Clearly if the magazines changed their formats they would sell less. So - women need to is the question. Women want this stuff and like it.

it probably starts in childhood, school, relationships. marketing everything. Change the women and you will change the mags - I don't think it will be effective the other way around. it is so much more than just magazine which influence what women think they like.

scallopsrgreat Sat 05-Oct-13 18:00:22

This is all rooted in misogyny. Misogyny comes from the patriarchy I.e. male supremacy. How are women supposed to change if all their environment is framed according to men? If they are seen as the 'sex' class? Even if by some miracle they do change (and then there's the question of what they change into) that still doesn't stop male supremacy.

Change the environment ie. eradicate misogyny and this will make all this competitiveness and focus on looks etc pointless. But misogyny has to be tackled and that means tackling men's behaviour.

UnicornsPooGlitter Sat 05-Oct-13 21:06:17

Yoni, I really used to find these magazines addictive - it felt like I knew who everyone was, and what they were (apparently) doing. Of course, I just knew who an essentially random group of people were, and probably had no idea of what they were really doing. Now I have no idea who lots of celebrities are, and it's even better.

I think I started to question my Heat habit when a colleague took the piss out of one of their stories (I think Madonnas had fallen off her bike or something). I can still feel the shame.

UnicornsPooGlitter Sat 05-Oct-13 21:19:03

Just to add, discovering MN, and therefore feminism, probably helped too. Heat et al really are a pile of vacuous rubbish. I'd much rather read something interesting / thought provoking on MN.

I don't know what magazine I'd enjoy though - I seem to fall somewhere between Heat (no thanks) and Good Housekeeping (also no thanks). So I feel somewhat un-catered for.

YoniTime Sat 05-Oct-13 21:48:16

Thanks for explaining Unicorns - I can sort of see the appeal if you see it as "news about people I know." Which all celebrity gossip is about I guess except we don't really know those people and what is going on in their lives it just feels that way.

Darkesteyes Sat 05-Oct-13 21:52:58


Sales of womens weekly gossip titles have been going down year on year.

So you see people ARE stopping buying them.

BasilBabyEater Sat 05-Oct-13 21:54:43

I used to have a subscription to Glamour magazine, for some reason. grin

They always refer to slebs by t heir first name only, in this really familiar way as if they're our chums. And they have this chatty, confiding style which draws you in and makes you feel like you're sitting in a girly supper exchanging confidences.

It is extremely clever marketing and if I were a conspiracy theorist I would posit that it's all designed to make women stupid and to draw our attention away from the things which actually matter. However I'm not, so I submit that it's designed to make money by making women feel like they're being talked to directly by the global corporations which produce this rubbish. It's escapism, faux-support and gossip all in one. Women's magazines are remarkable products, before the internet they had the most intimate relationship with their readers and the most loyal and connected readership. I don't know if that's still the case in the world of Twitter and FB where brands can communicate directly with their consumers now.

BasilBabyEater Sat 05-Oct-13 21:55:26

Darkest is that because people are getting their "fix" from the internet now?

Like men with porn?

kim147 Sat 05-Oct-13 21:57:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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