I am pretty comfortable with whatever people might think of me in most circumstances, but I am still compelled to make this perfectly bloody clear: I did not purchase a copy of Glamour with my own money. My wife and I have moved into a new apartment, and whoever lived here before us apparently did not forward his or her (I do not make assumptions) subscription. At one point we were basically camping at our new place, and there was a period of time where that Glamour was the only reading material in the house apart from the ingredients on the Special K. So I read it, and I will fight to the death any man, woman, or child who derides me for doing so.
Now, you may have never read a copy of Glamour, so you might think of me as a sort of explorer; the guy who went into the uncharted Amazon so you didn’t have to and reported back what he found (answer: small, delicious frogs).
I am here to tell you that Glamour Magazine is weird.
First off, the cover copy says “Finally! Answers to All Your Questions About Sex and Love.” For realsies, Glamour? It took 70 years of continuous, monthly publication, but as of the November 2009 issue, they have finally answered those last, nagging questions on the subject; with nothing more to be said, I am sure this final issue will become a collector’s item.
No, look, whoever decides what the big, bold, main cover copy will say for Glamour decided to simply mention that they will be answering questions about sex and dating. I would be quite fascinated to see what else is in that copywriter’s portfolio. The June 2005 issue of Playboy: “Photos of Naked Women Inside!” Consumer Reports, August ’07: “Reviews and Comparisons of Various Products Available for Purchase!” The award-winning February 2004 Newsweek: No images, just bold white text on a black field stating “CURRENT EVENTS.”
Anyway. Moving on. So, Scarlett Johansson is on the cover, right? And there’s a little “About the Cover” blurb near the front of the magazine as you’d expect, but they do not tell you who this person is and why you should read about her. No, they just assume you already know. Instead, they tell you what kind of makeup she’s wearing, how much it cost, and who did it for her. It’s like twenty lines of small type! And in the back there is an entire page dedicated to approximate prices of the clothes everybody is wearing. But I’m not sure that the young single mum who buys Glamour in the supermarket can afford a $75 T-shirt (no matter how many fuzzy pompoms it’s covered in), and wouldn’t rich people have a more exclusive source? Isn’t there, like, a special, platinum-level internet for the wealthy and famous? (Fun fact: Platinum Internet actually is a system of tubes.)
And then there’s the celebrity fragrances. Man, I don’t understand this either. Reese Witherspoon has a fragrance. All of a sudden that price page at the back seems almost sane to me. Because I guess you could see something Reese Witherspoon is wearing and want to buy it too, or think her makeup and hair are really done well and look up who did them. Maybe you could even find out where she learned how to act and do that too, if you really admired her or something. But here’s the thing – I have no idea what Reese Witherspoon smells like, and you probably do not either. None of the media through which you experience Reese Witherspoon includes aroma capabilities. What about watching Election makes you think, “Gosh, I bet she is a fantastic perfumer”?
But the most odious thing about this magazine was the feature on plus-size models, featuring a nude (but strategically covered) photo spread. Let’s leave aside the condescending-sounding copy accompanying the photos (“Oh. Wow. These Bodies Are Beautiful” is actually how the title of article is punctuated. Jeez guys, try not to sound too excited or anything). Let’s even leave out that none of these women are really even all that plus-sized. No, what I want to call Glamour out on is the self-congratulatory tone they seem to feel entitled to for daring to showcase *gasp* size 12 models. They devoted six pages or so to women of a so-called “average” body type … with the other two hundred and forty devoted to the same kind of superthin models as usual, and acted as though they just tore down the Berlin Wall. This does not impress me, Glamour. This is the fashion and body equivalent of “Um, actually, I’ve got a co-worker who’s black and I’m very friendly with him…”
And the real kicker about this whole thing? And the reason why the guy who usually writes about mainstream superhero comics is bringing it up?
This magazine costs $3.99.
Do you see? I have spent this blog post tearing down this magazine that is totally not even marketed to me, but even chock full of 246 pages of crap and ads that I cannot distinguish from the articles, it is probably still a better value than 22 plus ads pages of Dark Avengers of Cry for Justice at the same price. I understand Glamour going for $3.99; like I said, they have an itemized list on how much all the dresses and makeup cost.
I just hope they’ve got Brian Michael Bendis decked out in Louis Vuitton for all that.