As a woman who really loves to read, ever since I could remember as a child, magazines were always a peculiar treat. My relationship with magazines was one of sporadic interest- they were just like books but easy, colourful and quirky.
I’ve been reading Readers Digest since I was about six years old, even when I struggled to understand it. I also started to read National Geographic alongside Kids Zone by the time I was ten. The moment I hit puberty though? All the girls started talking about their glossy-paper best friend- the one place to find information on beauty, sex (without the parents finding out) and relationships- teenage magazines. Names like Dolly or Girlfriend. Which makes sense, as these are truly tailored for teenage girls, they usually have features and sections relevant to teens with teenage ‘role models’ on the front covers.
Then by the time I was seventeen to eighteen, it was time to move on to the ‘big girl mags’, magazines like Cosmo, Chloe and Marie Claire. They were juicier, more grown up and for ‘real women’. They had mature women on the front cover and suddenly the sex section (or ask Dr. Whatever-Her-Name-Is) has become about hookups, girl game and the kamasutra.
I love to learn and the articles just seemed to draw me in, like they were the answers to everything, especially when it came to relationships. From ’24 Sexy Moves To Power Up Your Love Life’ all the way to ‘100-Something Oh So Hot Sex Tips’. Which is definitely what the writers are trying to do and they’re doing it well, they attract curiosity.
Though you know what? They’re rubbish and you probably wouldn’t get more than one or two useful, common sense tips.
These advice columns are usually run by obviously liberal editors and writers (or psychologists that clearly have a bias for that side) who all preach feminist kumbaya. You can be your own woman. Be a dominant woman. You can put career above everything else. You can be promiscuous and that’s empowering. You can wear whatever you like and no one should judge you. How to get what you want from a relationship and don’t worry about him.
These are messages late teenagers and young women should not be hearing. Actions have consequences, appearance and etiquette matters.
You definitely can be your own woman, but you don’t need to be dominant. Your career can be anything, not just the careers of the celebs on the front page or whatever ‘glass-ceiling-breaker’ they feature. You can learn to dress for yourself and be self-aware, not just following a trend or culture. You can learn to be empowered in many other ways that you probably wouldn’t initially consider. You can have a healthy relationship but there are dynamics, biology and sincere affections to consider.
I’m no expert on all women’s issues and I wouldn’t really bother painting myself that way. What I said above are my views, shaped by learning and knowledge. I observe around me, I’ve lived some years and I constantly seek quality information.
You want to know how to find good, solid advice?
Read studies and statistics and interpret the numbers yourself. Listen to proven role models in your life, sometimes the elderly generation can really be wonderful with that. Focus on yourself and who you are, not what the media advertises, not what the trend is and not what all your friends are copycatting. I did this through meditating (plain, with no teachers or messages that can promote biased ideas), reading books from various backgrounds, talking to family and looking through my old memorabilia. You can even go and make connections at social groups that are new to you, groups whose principles are to have open ideas and discussion.
Focus on the true you.
Then suddenly, a lot of things will become much clearer.