Friday, March 13, 2015

Are Magazines Poor Shaming readers?

Back in the old days, the only worry a woman had when she picked up a magazine (other than a possible paper cut or having an allergy attack from the perfume samples) was possibly being fat shamed by a flock of super thin, prepubescent models, presented in an overtly sexual poses. These days however, many women are aware of the airbrushing and all the ridiculous tactics many magazines take to make the reader feel as though she were only steps away from being confused with a barnyard animal.

I also think that seeing curvy celebrity women in the limelight doesn’t hurt either. Regardless of your opinions on Kim Kardashian, Beyonce, Nicki Minaj and Sofia Vergara, you got to admit that these ladies flaunt their curves with confidence and style. This isn’t to suggest that we should hold our standards to that of celebrities, but I do believe that these women do carry a certain amount of power and influence in both the fashion and pop culture world.

But is there a new kind of shaming on the horizons?

I recently was flipping through a fashion magazine and stumbled upon a short financial profile on Vancouver woman. At first glance, I thought it was one of those inspiring items that gave readers some helpful hints on how to budget, because it started with the subject’s income.

Turns out, my assumption couldn’t have been more wrong.

The article was, instead, a fun little piece reminded me how status and consumerism is still alive and well. The woman claims to spend $900 a year on skin care ‘maintenance’, $120 a month on mani-pedi and of course, her $75 facial treatments.  When I had a car, I didn’t even want to spend that amount of money on its maintenance, let alone spending that amount on lotions and potions for myself.

I won’t even get into the $1000 a month entertainment budget, the $1500 baby glider for ‘breastfeeding at 4 a.m.’ and $1700 cloak that was also mentioned in the article.

The point is that the article not only got into (what I’m hoping is) her most frivolous expenses, it also made sure to mention the name brands and the price tags involved. Considering that this article clearly wasn’t about budgeting (as I originally thought) the only conclusion that I could derive is that it was kind of a bragging session. 


So does this mean that women who read this article will be left feeling jealous of this Vancouverites crazy spending habits? Will they feel inadequate if they aren’t able to afford to spend $120 on mani-pedis a month?  Does an article like this encourage consumerism, much in the same way that models have been said to encourage negative body images? Is this article a carefully crafted marketing ploy from the specific companies mentioned in her favorite things list? It is one thing for magazines to include ads of overpriced products - after all, that's a given - but isn't it different when it becomes more a personal story and less of an obvious ad? HmmI wonder…

Then again, maybe I am reading way too much into it. What do you think?

Canadian author Mima is known for her complicated and diverse characters, a dark style and for never shying away from controversial topics. To request an interview or if you are interested in doing a book review, please send requests here  

Mima is the author of Fire and the prequel, A Spark before the Fire, as well as The Rock Star of Vampires  Her Name is Mariah and Different Shades of the Same Color. Join Mima on Facebook, TwitterG+ and Goodreads also, check out her Amazon Author Page

For some reading, check out her blogs – personal or writing

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