Monday, April 22, 2002 Volume 67, Issue 135


Fashion magazines lower self-view

Shireen Connor

Many people are tried-and-true subscribers of magazines. Most females I know cannot get enough of them. Stories about embarrassing
moments, the latest and cheapest make-up buys, celebrity gossip, easy weight-loss tricks and the dramatic pieces such as "My daddy went to
prison for murder" are just way too tempting to pass up. 

Even publications that are considered strictly "for men" like Maxim and Stuff are treasured by everyone for their toilet humor as well as their
comments about "chicks."

But there is one genre of print media that I absolutely abhor, and that is fashion magazines: The glossy pages are full of models who look like
they're addicted to heroin and wear hideous clothes most people would not be caught dead in, and the hundreds of ads for Cartier watches and
Mercedes cars.

These publications are, quite frankly, a waste of time, money and paper.

What normal person subscribes to these magazines and why? They have absolutely no information to offer and they contribute to females
around the world lacking self-esteem. I know very few people, if any, who can afford a $650 blouse that will be "so out" within three months. And
the people who can afford them (celebrities) spend most of their time publicly claiming that they are burger-eating, jeans- and T-shirt-wearing
people like the rest of us.

Why do these magazines exist? And why, for that matter, does high fashion like Vera Wang, Marc Jacobs and Versace survive? It goes without
saying that they serve no fundamental purpose. Most of their fashion shows are pointless, since only 1 percent of the world's population can
afford their goods. These people and the "products" they present make me angry because of their carefree flamboyance and lack of concern
with the rest of the real world.

An insane amount of money is pumped into the high fashion world, and it seems to go absolutely nowhere. A copy of a high fashion mag like W
costs about $5. I have flipped through it. I counted 15 pages of ads before I actually reached the table of contents. Even then there were only
about six real articles.

Why did I pay $5, and where did that payment go? The amount of money the publication made off its advertising alone must have been
enormous. And when I had finished it, I hadn't been able to laugh at a single joke, discover a new food that tastes good and is full of fiber or
learn about the life of someone who was a murder detective or victim of a credit card scam.

In fact, I was left with a feeling of inadequacy, since I was completely unaware of the newest vacation resort that Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow
frequent or the foods they eat during their stays. And I was not able to afford the cute beaded purse the magazine purred about although I saw
something almost exactly like it at Dillard's two weeks ago for a fraction of the price.

Fashion magazines are here simply to make the elite upper-class feel better about themselves. They know nobody else can afford the shoes
they walk in or the purses they carry, and that makes celebrities and corporate gurus feel better about themselves while making the rest of us
feel like peasants.

If you have any other ideas about it, please feel free to enlighten me. In the meanwhile, I am happy with my purchases at the Gap and J Crew,
which are the most luxurious boutiques I can afford on my student budget. The clothes I buy there can be cleaned in gasp a washer and
dryer and will still look presentable next summer or fall. That sounds a lot more reasonable to me, and it requires so much less mental and
monetary hassle. 

Ah, the simple joys of being a normal person. $10 sweatpants, my boyfriend's faded T-shirt, my grandmother's leftovers and a copy of Maxim ...
Now that is what I call a real taste for life.

Connor, a sophomore psychology 
major, can be reached at

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