It’s the holidays and I’m being hit with a ton of requests asking me to buy subscriptions to fashion and so-called fitness magazines – for myself, as gifts for my family and friends etc. I’m absolutely not going to do that, and here is why.
I was standing in line at the grocery store irritated about all of the magazine covers that showed diets, just like the month before that and the month before that. It hit me suddenly just how ridiculous it is to believe that these diets work if there is a new one (or three) on the cover of almost every women’s magazine every month. I started to wonder just how many weight loss messages I would have received if (heavens forfend) I actually subscribed to one of these magazines for a year.
I chose Self magazine and a quick trip to Googleland got me all of the covers for 2010. (I was going to post the covers here but they just irritated me way too much so I’m not.) Here’s what I could have accomplished in 2010 according to the cover of Self Magazine [trigger warning – you can skip the list to skip the triggering language.]
- Peeled off major pounds with the food lovers diet
- Become slimmer every day with the no gym workout
- firmed up for free with 6 at-home tips
- Learned to eat like Carrie Underwood
- Achieved a sexy stomach
- Learned to eat like Hayden Panetteire
- Lost weight in 3 easy ways
- Been happy and healthy at any size (this is on the same cover as “lose weight 3 easy ways and “firm up for free”)
- Slimmed down for spring
- Achieved a flat stomach with their proven plan (Hmmm, this word – proven- I do not think it means what you think it means)
- Eaten the superfood that slenderizes while I snack
- Learned 20 best foods for weight loss
- Achieved flat abs, lean legs and amazing arms between April 1st and May 1st
- Learned the 50 best foods for beating sneaky pounds (apparently too sneaky for the 20 best foods for weight loss)
- Learned 15 delicious food that fight fat (apparently different that the best foods for weight loss or the 50 best foods for beating sneaky pounds)
- Achieved flat abs and lost 9 pounds by revving my body’s natural fat burning ability. (9 pounds. not 8, not 10, 9.)
- Learned what to eat to get a flat belly
- Dropped 400 calories without noticing
- Learned the fastest shape up ever – burning 10 calories in 10 minutes
- Learned 242 ways to be slim, gorgeous and healthy
- Achieved flat abs in 4 minutes
- Learned the super market cheat sheet to just shop, eat and lose weight
- learned the sexy body secret to a flatter tummy
- Learned the single best workout (which makes me wonder why they keep publishing more workouts)
- Lose 8 pounds in thirty days (8 pounds. not 7, not 9, 8.)
- Burn 200 calories without working out
- Learned the #1 way to burn fat (which makes me wonder why they keep publishing more ways to burn fat)
- Become a happy healthy eater
- Achieved leaner legs and a tighter tush in 6 like-magic moves
- Learned 231 tips for a sexier, fitter me
- Learned the simplest slim down (makes me wonder why they keep publishing other ways to slim down
- Learned to Eat up, Lose Weight like 6 other women
- Lose weight without trying with my weight loss grocery list (apparently different from the 25, 50, 15 food and the super market cheat sheet)
- Stay slim all winter
This is ridiculous. They’ve been publishing these same types of stories once per month since January 1979. Based on the numbers from 2010 my year they would have published about 1152 ways to be skinny, and they are just one of many magazines doing this. They are selling millions of magazines by playing to the omgdeathfatiscomingforusanditwillgiveuscankles terror, and since Self claims a circulation of 5,5 million readers, according to its corporate media kit, the marketing appears to be working (never mind that the diets are not.)
My little project led me to three main conclusions:
- If this stuff actually worked then they would be out of the business of selling magazines. Would you buy a magazine if it told you every month that it had a new and exciting way to teach you to be 6 inches taller, knowing that it had been giving that same advice without success for 32 years? How many times can the find “The Single Best Workout” and if they have, why bother publishing more workouts, just keep posting that one, as it is the single best.
- I think that it is highly unethical to tell people to try intentional weight loss without being clear that it fails 95% of the time. I think that telling people that intentional weight loss is “easy” should probably be punishable by death.
- I think it’s time to demand a little more from our reading material than superlatives, hyperbole and bullshit, with a heaping helping of advertising meant to convince us to hand over our self-esteem so that someone can cheapen it and sell it back to us at a profit (with a nod to CJ Legare who is the first person I heard put it like that.)
Activism Opportunity: Refuse to subscribe to these magazines, don’t give them as gifts, cancel the subscriptions that you have until these magazines provide us with something other than tired, recycled diet advice, ads that make us feel like crap, and a never ending Photo Shop of Horrors.
Reminder: the awesome Golda Poretsky is doing a 30 day “HAES for the Holidays” e-course. I’ve done workshops with Golda and she is really a fabulous teacher, you can find out about it here (Full disclosure – Golda offers an affiliate program so if you register for the class you support yourself, Golda, and me!)
Like my blog? Here’s more of my stuff!
The Book: Fat: The Owner’s Manual The E-Book is Name Your Own Price! Click here for details
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Dance Classes: Buy the Dance Class DVDs or download individual classes – Every Body Dance Now! Click here for details
If my selling things on the blog makes you uncomfortable, you might want to check out this post. Thanks for reading! ~Ragen