The first serious argument I had with one of my roommates was over something so dumb, another roommate (a comedian) put it in her standup routine.
"Did you throw away my magazines?" I asked the culprit as I stood in the doorway of her bedroom. Breathe, I told myself.
"Um," she looked like a child who'd just been caught drawing on a wall. "Well, they were piling up downstairs, and I didn't think it was a big deal. So I recycled them."
I inhaled loudly. Breathe!
"Last month's Cosmo was in there," I said. "I work in magazines. They are very important to me."
"I'm sorry," she murmured.
"Just — never do that again." I left her doorway.
Ten minutes later, she had dug the magazines out of the recycling bin and, without saying anything, set them on the living room table.
I grabbed the stash, hugged the pile in my arms like a baby, ran upstairs, and shoved them on a shelf right next to my bed, where I knew they would be safe.
The comedian cracked up when she heard about what happened. "Okay, Caitlin, now we all know," she said. "Magazines are VERY important to you."
I knew the whole ordeal was ridiculous. It's true, though: I've been obsessed with magazines since I was a teenager. I knew I wanted to be a writer from an early age. But it wasn't until I read Jane magazine that I knew I wanted to write for magazines, specifically.
And of course, there have been many others. My list of subscriptions is dumbfounding.
So I'm certainly not, in any way, against the glossies. Again, I write for them (duh). I also study them, like artifacts, noting ad placements and layouts, and how certain publications evolve after getting a new editor-in-chief, for instance.
I do realize that women's magazines in particular (sometimes dubbed "Lady Mags"), are often accused of covering meaningless, froufrou topics that condescend to their audience (women) and publishing pieces about the same things over and over again, with only minor variations.
Though I agree on SOME level with this train of thought, I can't jump on board with this overarching opinion.
I don't want to get into the specifics of why this is just not true for certain titles, because again, they've all evolved as new writers, editors, and overall mission statements try to meet the wants of a new, tech-savvy audience. (Feel free to come over and sit with me as I flip through the pages and dissect the publications to explain why, though.)
However, there certainly are some topics that have been covered to death, and are now flooding the pages of my precious magazines with their trite throw-away filler.
Here are some of articles I really don't want to see published this year — with my CliffsNotes, so you don't have to read them.
1. AM I A FEMINIST IF I [GET A BRAZILIAN WAX] [LET A GUY CUM ON MY FACE] [DRESS SEXY] [ETC.]?
Do you believe men and women should have equal rights? Then yes, yes you are.
2. EASY WAYS TO BURN CALORIES
Regular exercise is obviously the *easiest* way. I do have some other ideas, though:
- Hover over a disgusting toilet seat in a bar bathroom
- Attempt to make ramen noodles whilst wasted, break open packet of said ramen noodles, then spend 10 minutes cleaning them off your kitchen floor
- Have some hot sexy-sex
3. HOW TO GET A GUY TO LIKE YOU
- Laugh at his jokes (is he really that funny, though?)
- Respect him
- Stop trying so hard
4. HOW TO GET A WOMAN TO LIKE YOU
- Respect her
- Stop trying so hard
5. HOW TO TAKE A SEXY SELFIE
Or drink three glasses of red wine and it’ll come to you, I swear.
6. CELEBRITIES IN BIKINIS!
They're skinny! They're fat! They have abs, cellulite, and many different sizes of boobs!
(Does anyone else feel like a voyeuristic old dude with binoculars when they flip through these images?)
7. DISCOVER THE SECRETS OF HOT FRENCH WOMEN!
- Eat smaller portions
- Smoke cigarettes
- Don’t wear makeup
- Je ne sais quoi, actually
(I still really want to be French.)
8. LOOK AT THIS HACK PHOTOSHOP JOB!
Everyone, get enraged! Then let's get a follow-up apology from the company at fault, and remember Photoshop isn't going away anytime soon.
And also that some graphic designers' eyes are probably falling out from staring at a screen all day and understandably, sometimes they make mistakes.
9. CHECK OUT THESE MODELS WITHOUT MAKEUP!
Oh, they’re still super pretty. Like, scoff, it was their job or something. Surprise!
10. STUFF ABOUT THIGH GAPS
Are they healthy? Are they on Tumblr? If you have a thigh gap, can you still make you booty go clap?
11. HOW TO GET FLAT ABS, FAST!
Unfortunately, babe, there's no *fast* way to get flat abs. You must suffer through all of the cardio and a low-calorie diet.
(See No. 2 for easy ways to burn calories, though!)
12. WHAT DOES [REDACTED CELEBRITY OR MODEL] EAT TO STAY SO THIN?
She eats fresh green vegetables with every meal, a card deck-size piece of chicken with lunch, and fish with quinoa or brown rice for dinner.
13. SO, HE WANTS TO HAVE ANAL . . .
Okay, but do you want to have anal? If not, tell him you're not into it, and don't feel bad.
If you do, go slow. And use lots of lube.
14. HOW CAN I GET [REDACTED CELEBRITY'S] AMAZING HAIR?
Have an entire team of professional stylists up on that head of yours before you leave the house, ever. Be Blake Lively.
15. DO YOU HAVE A PROBLEM — GASP — BINGE DRINKING?
If you're asking yourself this question, then I'm going to go out on a limb here and say yes, you probably do.
Do you care enough about it to do something about it, though? That's the real question.
So did I cover the lot? What did I miss?
Or: Do you believe some of these topics are worth being repeatedly written about in women's magazines? Tell me!
Follow me on Twitter: @caitlinthornton