Airbrushed Nation: The Lure and Loathing of Women's by Jennifer Nelson

By Jennifer Nelson

Glamour. Cosmo. SELF. Ladies’ domestic magazine. Vogue. In an that has been in a downward spiral for years, those magazines—and different women—focused magazines like them—have not just retained their readership, they’ve elevated it. each month, 5 million-plus ladies peel again the slick disguise in their favourite journal to thumb via pages choked with tidings and suggestion approximately model, good looks, intercourse, relationships, weight loss plan, overall healthiness, and way of life. yet do women’s magazines provide worthwhile details, or do they in simple terms peddle fluff and fantasy—and in both case, do ladies take their messages to heart?

In Airbrushed Nation, Jennifer Nelson—a longtime insider—exposes the bare fact at the back of the sleek pages of women’s magazines, either solid and undesirable. Nelson delves deep into the area of glossies, explaining the ways that those magazines were confident for ladies, highlighting the ways that their agendas were erroneous, and asking the questions that experience gone unasked: What do girls imagine and think in regards to the retouched photographs, the ever present intercourse suggestion, the consistent offensive on getting older, and the fable type spreads that includes unaffordable clothes and accessories? Do the unrealistic advertisements, pictures, and beliefs that permeate glossies harm women’s vanity . . . and is it intentional?

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Extra resources for Airbrushed Nation: The Lure and Loathing of Women's Magazines

Sample text

Out of this grew the apron-clad ideal of the perky, pretty fifties housewife, who appeared suddenly like a Stepford Wife in product ads, articles, and as iconic characters in television shows. But this idealized version of the American housewife chafed at women early on, primarily because it didn’t reflect real life. The age of the airbrushed ideal was taking root. One housewife, who received a Ladies’ Home Journal makeover in the early fifties, complained that the magazine presented an ideal impossible for women to live up to.

Many men’s magazines (think Maxxim and GQ) are unapologetically sexist, to be sure, which presents its own knotty issues about messaging, but even the least chauvinist among them (Men’s Journal, for example) share a common purpose: they’re a respite for their male readers, a distraction from their stress and real-life shortcomings, great reading material to peruse while on the john: In other words, they entertain and enlighten, not criticize. indd 39 39 9/12/12 4:27 PM Not always the case with women’s magazines.

One housewife, who received a Ladies’ Home Journal makeover in the early fifties, complained that the magazine presented an ideal impossible for women to live up to. She claimed the magazines flaunted the false notion that women should be on pedestals and also be skilled housewives, seamstresses, decorators, cooks, mothers, and lovers, ensuring they could land and keep their man. The woman, Julia Ashenhurst, a housewife, wrote: I cannot but question the wisdom and fairness of presenting me as the wife of a teacher and mother of four young children in clothes not my own with a face and hairdo not my own.

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