None of us like being lied to. Or treated like we're stupid.
Hillary Rosner talks about what kind of truth ladies' rags aren't willing to talk about in Their So-Called Journalism, or What I Saw at the Womens' Mags. It's probably stuff you'd like to know about.
Here's one stomach-churning snippet:
One destination on my Borneo trip was an orangutan sanctuary run by an incredible Danish woman, who was passionate and unflappable and very photogenic. Maybe, I thought, I could interest a women’s magazine in a short profile of this woman, as a way to inform readers about the palm oil problem—which, despite sporadic publicity over the years, very few people seem to know about or understand. So I contacted a friend of a friend, a smart and lovely editor at a high-profile women’s magazine that from time to time runs articles about strong women doing worthwhile work. Her reply was quick, honest, and upsetting: The magazine couldn’t tackle the palm oil issue head on, because half its advertisers were beauty companies guilty of destroying the very same forests my Danish woman was trying to save.
The "pretty then strong" woman profile is a sad fact. My old coworker submitted her story about how she quit smoking to a ladies' fitness magazine. How did we know she was going to get picked? Because she had a heartbreaking story involving performing CPR on her dad? No, because she was a blue-eyed wholesome apple pie American blonde. And she was picked. It seemed her photo shoot was more important than her story, which was heavily edited without integrity.
Okay, they can't buck their advertisers. We know that. But we never know who all of their advertisers are at one time and exactly what issues they have to omit because of them. A great reason to not trust anything they write.
I know most of us don't turn to women's mags for hard news but if they're going to try, they should make a better effort. To not treat their readers like dunces. To not only feature "pretty and strong" women.
What's the answer? To hold them accountable? How? To not buy them and be glad my money isn't going to support them? To frequent blogs without sponsors instead? To not use a non-news source as news? It's frightening to think this might be the only news a teenage (or adult) might see.
Oh, and here's info on palm oil. It's just strong - not pretty - which is pretty attractive.