Wednesday, 27 May 2009

In my day.....and now

This afternoon I took Dr P to see his GP - just routine. We had to wait about half an hour, and I decided to read some of the magazines. In this surgery they are fairly recent, and there is quite a good range. I chose to read New Idea and Woman's Day instead of Time or National Geographic. 

I can't believe how crappy the magazines are, or that people, presumably women, devour this stuff, which is full of news of celebrities, rich people, the British and Danish royal families, their babies, their figures, their weight, their plastic surgery, the alleged state of their marriages or attempts to get pregnant. Kate M is apparently 'forced' to defer marriage and children so that Wills can do even more training in some branch of the armed forces. By the time Wills is ready for marriage, Kate will be in her late 30s, with diminished fertility, and she faces the appalling prospect of not being able to have the children she so desperately wants. HM the Q apparently is against a marriage at this stage in case this focuses more attention on Wills and Kate, to the detriment of the aging Heir and his even more aging consort. (That's what it said.) In my view Kate ought to get pregnant (I presume - wouldn't everyone - that the relationship has been consummated) - and produce a little royal bastard - oops, sorry, we don't use that term any more, and for all I know what used to be termed legitimacy is no longer a qualification or prerequisite for inheriting the British throne. (Must check the Royal Marriages Act and associated laws.) Then at least Kate would have the child she so desperately wants, even if she wound up without Wills. You can't have everything, now, can you?

The Danish Royal family is perfectly happy - or perhaps it is not. Julia Roberts has a perfect figure, despite having produced three children. I think she has twins, so that is really only two pregnancies, but there she was, kids and all, cavorting at the beach in a bikini, not a piece of flab in sight, with the tattoos on her back photographed and enlarged so we can all read her kids' names. Some children of film stars apparently wear very expensive clothes. Others don't. Fancy that.  Some poor young thing (female, of course) suffers serious issues of self esteem because some of her teeth are a bit crooked and not perfectly white. Both of these appalling conditions have kindly been rectified at the expense of some benefactor. The story of Janet Middleton (there are a lot of Middletons about) continues to this very day, with Janet waiting anxiously at the hospital while her ex- (her EX!) husband is having surgery for a benign tumour. Janet has been around since I was a very young married thing, and she must be approaching 70. Fancy her still going, eh! There are pages of psychic predictions and astrology. Fashions in eyebrows are shown along with a photo demo of some young glamour puss with tweezers at the ready, with never a hint of the impending ouch! Et cetera, et cetera.

Is all of this junk really what occupies the minds (?) of many women? There is so much emphasis on trivia and on conforming to media and business notions of how a woman ought to look and how sexy or hot she can look - as though NOTHING else matters.

I used to buy such magazines when I was a young mother, but they were never as bad as this. They adored royalty and film stars, but not to the present insane extent. And - this was in the days before cookery books became readily available - they had excellent recipe supplements and I still use a lot of these recipes. They had sensible articles on child care, and knitting and crochet patterns, as well as - gulp - thought provoking articles from time to time about the conditions of women. How times have changed.

Was it for all of this that we campaigned and fought, over the years, for the vote, equal rights, equal pay, financial independence, contraception and education? And to be regarded as people rather than sexual objects?

I am off to bed now, to sob wildly into my pillow, and to have nightmares about the future if this obsession about female shape and sexuality continues. Some mornings when I get out of bed my eyebrows look a bit raggedy. I must get out the tweezers tomorrow, and smile while I tweeze. I just looked at my stars and they predict that it will hurt. After that I will have some photos taken and get someone to do a bit (actually a considerable amount) of airbrushing, so that I can pretend to be gorgeous. Enough of letting myself go. 


molly said...

I think the women who fought for fair conditions for woman must be despairing now. The girls who are just now becoming women never had to fight, or be humiliated because they were considered less able, just because of their gender, than any moron with an appendage. They take many of the hard won "rights" for granted and focus on nonsense and trivia, which is reflected in popular womens' magazines.

molly said...

....women.....obviously! And not to sound too much like a couple of old grumps, we should acknowledge that this doesn't reflect all newly minted young women, many of whom are focusing on important issues.....

Anonymous said...

Your last paragraph about your eyebrows made me laugh out loud!

Depressing, isn't it? When I found out that my younger sister buys Cosmopolitan I wanted to cry. I do agree that feminism is not at the forefront of most of the minds of my generation because we didn't grow up fighting for it. A lot of us don't realise that the fight is still going on. For many women feminism is a dirty word and not something they would call themselves. On one hand I do think that it's not for me to judge how other women spend their money and the kind of content that they choose to consume (and consumer spending power is still a form of power, even if the act of shopping has been relentlessly feminised and stereotyped), but on the other I do want to judge anyone who goes through life mindlessly reading gossip and other crap, without stopping to really think about what's going on, and without asking questions to find the truth. Sorry this isn't more coherent, I've got to rush off to a lecture.

Anonymous said...

Whatt I find interesting, is that the upcoming generation don't 'haev' to age physically. What competition these women face in their years to come!

Pam said...

Yes yes yes yes yes. It really annoys me that in future years, historians may read such twaddle and think that these subjects were the ones that really interested women in our time. Let's hope that your blog is archived somewhere to prove the reverse!

And "less" and "fewer" - yup, with you there too, though I think it's probably a lost battle.

meggie said...

With you on this! I too, am appalled at the mindless trivia in these magazines. They so enrage me, I refuse to read them in surgery waiting rooms. (sanctimoniously, she says, "I take along my own choice of fiction or fact in book form")
I honestly fail to see why anyone would pay for this...tripe??
How do these publications survive in a 'thinking world'?