Reasons these Cosmo and Cleo articles are bad for your brain

Today I thought it might be a good idea to show those of you who don’t read women’s magazines the calibre of content that is commonly seen. I flicked through a few Cosmopolitan and Cleo covers and included some articles that helped form the motivation to start The Brainwash Project. The sad thing is most of these articles are cover stories, meaning the editors think that these are the best ways to lure you into the magazine. For each purple label I’ve provided my initial reaction and thoughts. Please feel free to leave your own reactions in a comment, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

A: 20 ways to use your boobs in bed

Pretty sure my boobs just chill out on my chest and relax. Who said anything about wanting to ‘use’ them? Maybe when I have a baby and need to feed it, sure. Otherwise I’d really rather not read about 20, presumably sexual, ways to ‘use’ my boobs.

B: How to talk so he’ll listen

So I’m supposed to learn how to talk in a particular way just so that he can stand to listen to me? Nuh-uh. If you’re not going to bother to listen to me, then clearly you’re not worth my time.

C: Summer Festival Guide: what to wear, who to see, how to be. 

This is mostly ok. But if the ‘how to be’ is anything but ‘be yourself’ then this one needs to be gone. I’m so sick of being told what I’m supposed to be doing by magazines. Give me some material that celebrates my individuality already!

D: How to eat your way gorgeous

How many articles like this need to be published before we realise that in the world of magazines, we as readers will never be ‘gorgeous’? And, can we stop with the appearance-obsessed content already?!

E: Look hotter

Apparently that’s a no…

F: Bum-lifters, belly-flatteners, thigh-toners

Information about fitness is fine, but this is about doing exercise to carve yourself into the right shape so that you can attract males and ‘beat’ other girls in the game of looking attractive. Not liking it.

G: Get a better body in six minutes flat

I’ll get a better body in six minutes flat by putting down this magazine and eating an ice-cream. You know how? My mind and my body will be happy. Whereas if I keep reading, in six minutes flat my mind is going to be unhappy and my body likely sore from some ‘essential’ exercise.

H: Why nice girls pose for lads’ mags

EXCUSE ME?! First off, I don’t think magazines have any right to imply that they are superior to lads magazines. Secondly, and most importantly, how dare they express concern for so-called ‘nice girls’ and just ignore the ‘un-nice girls’ (whoever they’re supposed to be!) Outraged.

I: Jessica Alba: ‘Being a sex symbol is a blessing.’

I think it’s fine to pull a quote from a celebrity and put it on the cover. But, I don’t think the message here is one that magazines should be promoting. It is yet another piece of hay in a bale full of comments about how image and sex appeal are more important than who we are.

J: Aussie guys have spoken: What they really think of your tan, tattoos, bikini line and more.

Ok, so on it’s own this one really isn’t so bad. The problem is the sheer amount of articles like this. There is a massive focus on what guys think about us. Look in any guys magazine and you’ll notice there is next to zero articles discussing what girls think about guys when guys wear a brown top, for example. We shouldn’t be told to rely so heavily on how guys receive us. If a guy doesn’t like the way we are, so be it. Our happiness and comfort is more important than that!

K: Fastest way to a flatter tummy

Oh please not another one of these articles! Girls, you’ll buy the magazines for years, get all excited about your flat tummy on day one, then forget about for two weeks and get depressed again when you realise summer’s here and your all-important belly isn’t in the flat shape that the magazine said was so important. The annoying thing is, without the magazine influencing you, you wouldn’t have thought that having a flat belly was important in the first place! It’s a vicious circle.

L: Downsize your waistline

Ok, the part you can’t see is that this is a COOKIE DIET. Say what? I know. There are so many things wrong with this that I don’t think it even warrants an explanation – I’m sure you get it.

M: Google Earthing: What you can learn about him via satellite

Ok, so stalking is illegal, creepy and not something magazines should be encouraging! Terrible idea. Immediately makes me think of Twilight and how Edward pretty much stalked Bella the whole time yet thousands of female readers fell in love with him…

N: 8 foods that make you hotter

Again with the appearance and eating special foods so that you don’t have to exercise to get a good body shape. Blah, blah, blah. It’s been done a thousand times before and I already don’t like it because the emphasis is on improving your food intake not for health, but for the sake of your appearance.

O: 24 hours inside his sex brain

Yep, magazines stereotype guys as well. According to Cosmopolitan and Cleo, guys like sport, rarely understand women, always think about sex (apparently 24/7) and although they love girls who are in ‘good shape’ they like a girl who likes to eat. I’m willing to be that a lot of guys vary from that picture. It’s so frustrating to see these stereotypes reinforced time and time again. We aren’t all the same, we don’t all like the same things and it is a big deal to portray it that way!

P: Cosmo lump busters: Tested: 6 cellulite treatments, Found: 4 that actually work

Again with the appearance! Like I said above, things like this are ok in insolation but paired with article upon article mirroring the importance of appearance,  articles like this are very dangerous.

Q: Lost kilos fast! Super slimming shape-wear

Weight, weight, weight, weight, weight. Will we ever hear the end of it? We only feel more confident with shape wear because magazines have taught us that it is bad, or sub-standard to deviate from the shape of a size 6-8 model.

R: Megan Fox. Love her? Hate her? Read this, then decide.

Really not a fan of this one either. Let’s not encourage or even endorse hatred of others. I appreciate that the magazine is asking readers to at least read their article before deciding, but then they ruin it by asking readers to decide love or hate. Magazines shouldn’t be endorsing competitiveness between girls. I mean they already do with the emphasis on appearance and boys, but to do it so blatantly is terrible.

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