I quit reading a lot of the major women’s mags not too long ago.
I used to be a total magazine junkie, starting when I was eleven or twelve and my grandma gave me a subscription to Seventeen for Christmas. She had no idea what a monster she was creating.
In my teens I wouldn’t miss an issue of Seventeen or Young Miss, which led to Mademoiselle, Elle, Glamour, Mirabella, Redbook, and Vogue in my twenties and thirties. I also went through periods of being hooked on Shape and Fitness off and on through the years, thinking that each issue would be the one that magically got me psyched up enough about diet and exercise to finally become that lean, hot vixen I had always wished I was. That issue has yet to be published.
Now, in my 40s, my subscription list has changed. I read Better Homes and Gardens and Sunset (although Sunset’s self-consciously trendy vibe gets on my nerves sometimes); O, The Oprah Magazine; Vegetarian Times. A lot of that is because my interests have changed and I no longer care about “What Guys Wish You Would Wear” or that it’s “30 Days to Bikini Season.” (Shit, I’ve worn a bikini maybe twice in my entire life.)
A huge part of it, though, is that I am just plain sick of images of skinny, tanned 20-year-olds posing slouchily in outfits I could never, ever pull off in a million years, tossing their heads back and grinning toothily at me as if to say, “You’d be so much happier if you looked like me!”
This is also why I’m also systematically unfollowing any fashion boards on Pinterest that don’t feature, um, beefier gals. That site is filled with pictures of gorgeous, delicate outfits, but the majority of them are worn by human ironing boards who can’t be far past puberty, or by the comparatively elderly, equally annoying Jennifer Aniston, who stays beautiful through genetic luck, lots of UV rays, and a diet of cigarettes and bottled water. Oh, yeah, and constant yoga, which is awfully tough to fit into a day of tanning and smoking and staring at yourself in the mirror.
I don’t need that kind of discouragement in my life.
In short, I’m blocking out things designed to make me feel like I’m not good enough.
That’s not to say I don’t want to take care of myself or look good. It’s just to say that there’s plenty of beauty in the world and I’m going to focus on the beauty that’s true, that lives within the context of real life. And when I pass on a bowl of ice cream or go for a long walk with the dogs on beautiful tree-lined streets, I’m doing it to feel good and strong and exhilarated, to be happy and healthy here, where I live, in reality.