April 29, 2014 by kholzhauer
I’m the first to admit it: I’m often uncomfortable with the way my body looks in a swimsuit. I’d love to look better. I’m making a concerted effort to lose weight, tone up and get to a place where I’ve got more general body peace. But you know what, people of the internet and women’s magazines everywhere? I’m NOT doing it for swimsuit season. I’m doing it for me.
I’ve been traveling a lot for work this year, and as such, I’ve been reading a lot of magazines. I appreciate the brain candy while I’m stuck at airports. I always bring books as well, but I read so ridiculously fast that I always need a little something extra for my return flight. In Every single Glamour, Elle, US Weekly, etc that I’ve read since December, there has been at least one article on getting ready for “Swimsuit Season.”
Now I don’t know about you, but when I went to elementary school, I was taught that there are four seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. No teacher ever talked about the mythical 5th season. Why? Because “Swimsuit” is not a season. So why the hell are magazines making a huge fuss about it? And moreover, why are we letting them?
I get why magazines are making a fuss: To sell things. Swimsuits, diet tips, ad space, etc. But why is it that we keep buying? Why is it that we, as women accept that being showered with diet tips from January through June is just part of being a woman? Because seriously? It doesn’t have to be.
In January, after a Holiday season that was a bit more expensive than in the past (We hosted.) I would have loved to read about getting my finances back in gear. I would have loved to read about ways to de-stress from the holidays WHILE still killing it at work, without spending an arm and a leg (there’s gotta be more than vacations and spas.) I would have loved to read about actually making realistic resolutions and sticking to them. Instead, I got “Get a Jump on your Fitness Routine.” and “Get your Body Bikini Ready Early.” And so on and so forth in February (“Swimsuit season is right around the corner.” “Five simple moves to Make You Look Hot in a Bikini.”) March wasn’t any better: “Get Bikini-Ready Now!” “Healthy Tricks to Get You Ready for Swimsuit Season.” And April? “Your Body’s Best Swimsuit.” Unless, of course, you’re Not plus sized, boy shaped, hourglass, or thick in the middle.
It’s the end of April. If I’m to work off an editorial calendar, I’ve been prepping my body for the illusive 5th season since January. But you know what, women’s magazines everywhere? My body isn’t in perfect, toned, absolutely perfect shape. Why? Because there’s more to life than getting “bikini-ready.” Little things like working, like living life, like trying to find a balance. So why is the majority of “women’s” publishing so short-sighted? Are we really just interested in fashion, sex, makeup, and the way we look? I think there needs to be a shift in what we put up with. Because until then, there won’t be a shift in content.
And sure, there have been some major strides taken. I love seeing those. But it does seem like the basic structure of women’s magazines (if you take out the billion pages of ads) is Fashion, makeup, small interesting story, unattainable fashion spread you can’t afford, interview, longer interesting story, sex (recycled sex tips), sex survey, makeup, fitness fashion. And it’s just not working anymore. Instead, we’re spending months’ worth of content getting ready for a season that simply doesn’t exist.
So, on the extreme off chance that any magazine editors read my extremely small blog, here are somethings I’d like to see grace the pages of women’s magazines. Stuff that’ll both keep me amused and actually inspire me.
- Body Acceptance: Enough with weight loss and fitness tips. Let’s talk about loving the skin we’re in. I could use so many lessons in this. Every day.
- Job Inspiration: Real people doing really awesome jobs, how they got there and what it actually takes to be a teacher/scuba instructor/magazine editor.
- Fashion: I like fashion. But how about Fashion that someone making under $100,000/yr can actually afford? Because let’s be real, 9 out of 10 readers are NOT gonna buy a $5000 laptop bag.
- Fitness: But not “how to get skinny for bikini season.” A combination of health tips with REAL SCIENCE to back them and a focus on some more unusual, interesting workouts. I found my happy workout with Pole. Help others do the same.
- Aging: Not anti-wrinkle, anti-grey, stay young forever stuff. How about what to actually expect? It’s gonna happen. May as well be prepared.
- Sex: I swear, Women’s Magazines are recycling the same 100 sex tips over and over. Let’s talk less about tips that realistically won’t end well (I’m not putting honey there. That’s a yeast infection waiting to happen) and more about what works for actual people.
- Makeup: Awesome. I’d have no clue how to put on foundation were it not for Glamour. More step by step tutorials, less “here’s the $900 face cream you OMG need.
- How to: How to change a tire, fix a leaky faucet, make your dryer stop making THAT noise, talk to a mechanic so they don’t give you the “girl, you have no clue, I’m going to charge you an arm an a leg” look. Teach me how to do the stuff that every adult male seems to know.
- Travel: GQ does it. So does Esquire. Why aren’t more women’s publications talking about cool stuff to do (NOT SHOPPING) in cities around the globe.
- Food: How to cook practical, easy meals that won’t get you laid or married. It’s not all about engagment chicken. How about “just got dumped pasta” or “I’m too tired to really cook” stir fry?
So yeah. To recap: This post went on WAY longer than I intended. Sorry about the essay. But seriously: Swimsuit is NOT a season. It’s a garment. Let’s remember that and get in shape for the right reasons. And let’s start pushing for better content. Because we deserve it.