Monday, May 21, 2007

Could it be? A "different" women's magazine that walks the walk?

For some reason, even though I don't live in New York, I adore Gawker. So I was totally stoked to see the unveiling of Jezebel, Gawker media's new women's blog. On the one hand, I've been disappointed with Bust and Jane and other women's magazines branding themselves as the rebellious ones. On the other, the Jezebel Manifesto looks pretty promising, and they are holding a contest (with a $10K prize?) for the leaking of a great untouched women's mag photo. So far so good.

I would love to see this turn out to be what it seeks to, because being cynical doesn't mean I hate fluff or popular culture. My feminist sensibilities make enjoying a lot of pop culture harder, but I'm not about to hole up in a feminist bookstore, either. I used to read Cosmo or health/fitness magazines at the gym, and finally had to stop when it sunk in that yes, I kick myself for not looking like a cover girl, even if I know why I should not. But what entertainment does that leave me for 30 minutes on the elliptical? The TVs are tuned to four different types of MTV, which tends to affect me in the same way.

It's alienating to acknowledge that you can't handle participating in such a huge part of our culture.

I know I want to have fun and feel good about myself, and when there aren't a lot of simple or cool ways to do that, it's hard to ignore the promises of the women's magazines. Part of me begs myself to just do it - to just buy the makeup and pluck my eyebrows like the article says, and enjoy it like they say I will. But I don't enjoy it. I don't look much different minus 20 eyebrow hairs. I don't feel sexy in tight pants - I feel constricted or contorted or jiggly.

I'm pretty sure I've learned my lesson by now, but what good is that lesson when it leaves me in a cultural black hole so often? I can hope against hope that Jezebel really intends to help fill that void, I can try to remember what makes me feel good and why it's important for me to, and I can forgive myself for failing to.

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