Tuesday, March 4, 2008
A Real Woman?
Though I used to be a pretty big Oprah fan, I'm not anymore. I don't watch her show, I don't buy her magazine, I pretty much avoid her at all costs. While she used to a be a woman's woman, the girlfriend we all wanted to have, a rags-to-riches story we weren't even jealous of. (ok, maybe just a little.) But lately Ms. O has gotten just a bit, to use an old family expression, too big for her britches. (no pun intended, truly). Her magazine advertises items no "average" woman can afford, same with the "favorites" she touts on her big giveway shows. Though I admire her for the charitable work she's done and consider her a smart, ambitious woman, that's where the admiration stops.
So, yesterday I was flipping channels, looking for something to watch while I plowed through the mountain of laundry to be folded. There was Drew Barrymore on Oprah. Huh. I like Drew ok, and there was nothing else on, so I paused. Drew was telling us all about her volunteer work in Africa, helping to feed hungry children. Cool. I put down the remote and settled in. Good topic, might learn something and perhaps be able to help in my own small way. After a few minutes, though, the conversation switched to Drew's upcoming projects and before I knew it there were two women abandoning their serious, admirable charity work discussion only to become absolutely giddy & weepy, gushing over their Vogue magazine covers! Before my very eyes these two powerful, intelligent women turned into shallow giggly school girls. The conversation went something like this:
Drew: It's every little girl's dream to be on the cover of Vogue"
Oprah: "It's some kind of validation that you're a real woman."
Drew: "It is. Especially if you're someone who is so utterly yourself."
HUH? First off, as much as I appreciate beauty and fashion and have occasionally been known to purchase an issue of Vogue here and there, my life's dream has never been to don the cover of said magazine, or any other for that matter. While I put as much time into my appearance as any teenager I spent more time honing my writing skills in hopes of becoming a journalist and protesting the baby seal hunt in Canada! Frankly, I'd be appalled if any of my daughters made looking pretty their top goal in life behind, say, working on their brains and spirits! Each of my girls has been approached about modeling, as a matter of fact, and I wouldn't permit it. I'm terrified of the eating disorders, of the pressure to be thinner, prettier, never good enough. Shudder. (By the way, as much as I love pin-ups, I do so for the very curvy-ness of them; you'll never see me put up a pic of Kate Moss on this blog.)
Secondly, wasn't it Oprah who did that whole expose in her magazine about how much work goes into her making her look cover-ready, showing her bare skin & body to show us how "normal" she looks sans make-up? What happened to that, Oprah?
Frankly, I'm furious with the whole "women's magazine" industry. Between the photoshopping and airbrushing to make already-gorgeous women fit up to some ridiculous standard of perfection and the never-ending articles on diet & other "self-improvement," I am just sick to death of it. A few years ago I boycotted such magazines because I was tired of paying to feel worse about myself, felt that my money could be better spent on those publications which helped me to grow as a strong, healthy woman both in body & spirit. Frankly, I'd rather read Playboy because at least it's a well-known fact that the centerfolds aren't "real," we all know that a ton of touch-up is done between photo shoot and magazine rack. But who would think that good ol' trusty Redbook would do the same thing?! I'm frustrated and angry and am not going to give them any more of my hard-earned cash.
Anybody with me?