Midterm Stress Relief: Girly Magazines Are Girly (and Evil)

This is what it’s come down to.  Four days into my pathetic little Midterm Stress Relief Week and I have stooped down to the level of my squealy adolescent counterparts. Desperate for reading material for the long bus ride home, I swiped – permanently borrowed – an abandoned girly teen magazine from a table top on campus, making sure to ninja the brightly covered collection of glossy paper into my bag before being seen by my respectable higher ed peers. (And that’s right. I just used “ninja” as a verb. Booyah.)

But I just needed some reading mat- oh, what the hell. There’s no use making excuses. I could have left this publication abomination well alone, but I “just had to” grab it. Damn you, magazine design team and your eye for catchy colors and ridiculous, yet attractive cover catch lines. Hook, line, and sinker. You’re just too good.

To redeem my disgraced self, I shall dissect and destroy this sorry little excuse of lifestyle entertainment, starting with its gaudy cover.

Girl's Life Magazine Cover

Must. Suppress. Grammar. Nazi. (And Good Taste Nazi).

Look at that – all that faux happiness. In real life, she’s probably 36 years old. The Photoshop team has obviously bleached and tightened her skin, scrubbing out the creases and crow’s feet. That’s likely not even her real hair color. Who knows what she looked like when this picture was actually taken? She could have had a leaf of parsley stuck in between the front of her two sparkly white chompers there before the Photoshop squad took care of it digitally. Maybe she’s a man.

And read the catch lines. It’s like they have the key to the meaning of life in its pages. Magazines make such high-falutin promises with their superlatives language: “best night ever,” “worst guy mistakes,” “cutest, easiest DIY prezzies ever…” (So many things wrong with that last phrase. You’re talking to teenagers, not puppies or babies. You don’t need to shorten and make every word cutesy.) They promise secrets! Special reports! “Trust us, it’s worth it!” Well, we’ll see about that.

Since this is the December/January edition, it’s chock full of cheesy Christmas and New Year’s articles – if this drivel can be called a proper article. For example, “Do You Dare?” gives new year’s resolutions “you really can rock,” such as “showing off your smarts” and “embracing your uniqueness.” Oh, and my favorite: “Find a great guy (without even looking!).”  Again with the false hope and promises. Step outside your comfort zone and BAM- hot new boyfriend! (And beneath the title of that resolution: “You wish Santa would deliver a cutie tied up in a bow under the tree…” No, I do not wish Santa to indulge in sick serial killer fantasies).

Teen girl magazine advice is amazing. Amazingly bad. Just plain bad, actually. In this issue, there is a two-page spread of an article with the aneurysm-inducing title “Gifts for everyone on your list for like… free!” They claim to have great gift ideas that won’t make your wallet (or purse?) weep never-ending tears of emptiness. These are some of the gifts they suggest (or my interpretation of them):

To Gramps: Ask to listen to one of his “back in the day” stories that you’ve heard a million times. And pretend to care. “Hey, you might actually enjoy yourself.” Right. Next.

To Mom: Make your mom feel hip, cool, and like one of the gals by giving her the 411 on who you’re having sex dreams about. “It’s better than another scented candle set.” I’ll bet. That’ll be one fun Christmas dinner conversation.

To Big Sis: Be a dear and stop rifling through her precious makeup collection. “It’s a toughie, but a little self-control will brighten her holiday season.” Accusing your readership of being sticky-finger kleptomaniacs? How nice.

To Your Crush: Throw rationality out the window and tell that guy you’ve been drooling over that you kinda’ sorta’ might like him. “Channel the spirit of the season and open your heart.” To ridicule and rejection.

– To the BFF: Write her an ego-stroking letter thanking her for putting up with you. “Be ready with some tissues – she’ll definitely shed a few tears.” That’s a bit presumptuous, don’t you think? A letter and a box of tissues. Such a good friend.

Ha ha! Your pathetic attempts at connecting with the teen girl crowd are futile and helplessly transparent. I have demolished you, trite girly magazine. Take that, and that, and- and I just wasted 725 words and a whole hour on a teen girl magazine.

Well, damn.

They are good.

Is reading teen girl magazines a guilty pleasure of yours? (I ain’t judging). Leave your thoughts in the comments section, I beg you (not really, but yeah, I’d like to hear your thoughts).