Run for cover

Posted June 29, 2013

Run for cover

... KELLY COMFORT EATS AS DANNY FAILS TO COMMIT

... TORMENTED NIGELLA 

... ANTHEA’S TEARS ‘I’m totally humiliated’

... LOOSE WOMEN ABUSE HORROR Denise ‘I was made to feel worthless’


Recognise any of these? They are just a selection of the captions on the covers of this weeks women’s magazines. Needless to say, each was accompanied by an unflattering and unsolicited photograph of the featured celebrity. 


The language used - tormented, humiliated, worthless - is accusatory and judgemental. Kelly, Nigella, Anthea and Denise are depicted as victims. What makes it worse is that these are comments by women about other women. 


Being on the cover of a woman’s magazine used to be an accolade. Now it should come with a hazard warning. Take the case of Julia Gillard, Australia’s recently ousted Prime Minister. She was pictured on the front of Australian Woman’s Weekly knitting a toy kangaroo for William and Kate’s baby. 


I know. It doesn’t sound like a good idea, does it? Unfortunately for Gillard, her media advisor thought it was a great idea. According to reports, he approached the magazine to set up the shot. Presumably it was seen as an opportunity to portray Gillard in a soft and sympathetic light. Knitting is her hobby after all and in the past she has been accused of being too masculine in her approach.  


The photo shoot backfired big time. Gillard was accused of staging the photograph. Some said it was a blatant ploy to attract more female votes. Others condemned her for reinforcing stereotyped cliches about women. In the end it cost Gillard her job. 


So let’s recap on a bad week for women’s weeklies ... 


We’ve seen how a magazine can orchestrate a negative image of a woman (obviously without her consent) and how a woman can cynically promote a positive image of herself, with the collusion of a magazine. 


Neither does women any favours. 


Image: Confettilexi, flickr

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