I like magazines. Or at least I WANT to like them. Especially when I have to spend alot of time in airports and airplanes where I have a bit of time to read, but I’m not really focused enough to get lost in a book. That’s why it’s so frustrating for me to stand in front of rows and rows of magazines in the store and realize that there is a dull and predictable sameness to them. I suppose they’re not ALL the same – I could pick up Popular Mechanics or Motorcycle Repair – but those that are marketed for women sure look homogenous to me.

Seriously. Here’s a list of the headlines you can find on the front of almost every woman’s magazine:
“Spice up your love life”
“The diet that will change your life”
“Dr. Phil’s relationship tips”
“Tips for managing your household budget”
“Fashion feature – clothes for the real you”
“Simple exercises to fit into your busy day”
“Five meals you can make in under half an hour”

If I were to start a magazine, I would call it “Smart Woman”, and this would be my list of criteria for its contents:
– There would only be ORDINARY women featured on its pages. NO airbrushing
– There would be NO fashion tips – or if there were any, they would include SENSIBLE SHOES
– There would be smart articles for women with IQs higher than Paris Hilton
– Dr. Phil would NEVER be quoted. NEVER.
– The word “diet” would be banished from the pages. Anyone who dared to use the word would be forced to do penance by eating the whole magazine, cover to cover.
– The index would be easy to find – on the FIRST page (now there’s a novel concept!), not buried in the middle of sixteen pages of advertisements
– There would be book recommendations by ordinary people, not those who’d been courted by big publishing companies
– There would be less assumption that women are self-centred, egocentric airheads and more assumption that they are smart and worldly-wise, caring about things like the environment, the millions of people dying of hunger and HIV/AIDS, and the world outside their walk-in closet
– If there were any celebrities featured, they would be the people who had shown strength in the middle of adversity, lived a moral and ethical life, made a difference for social causes, or proved that a marriage and family can stay together even in Hollywood – REAL inspiration
– It would NEVER mention anything about the assumed battle between stay-at-home moms and working-outside-the-home moms because it would assume that women are REALLY smart enough to respect each other’s lifestyle choices
– In every issue, it would include some piece of writing that was of literary value – a poem, essay, or short story. Again, it would assume that women are smart enough to want to read that kind of stuff.
– It would also include artistic images – photographs taken by someone other than the fashion photographer, paintings, etc. There would be visual surprises throughout – things that made you just stop and stare at a page for awhile.
– It would not assume that EVERY woman is interested in scrapbooking and stamping
– Some of the recipes included would be about SLOW cooking, not just about FAST cooking

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