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The Naked Print

[audio:http://dreamlandapparel.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/Black-Strobe-Im-A-Man.mp3|titles=Black Strobe - I'm A Man]

I like magazines.

Pardon me, let me begin again.

I like (mostly) men’s magazines. On any given day I carry a copy of the latest Economist, and probably Esquire, GQ and maybe even a Maxim now and then. Once in a while, I cave and go for Vogue, but really, that’s just for the fashion. I like men’s magazines for the flavor, the articles, the general tone of voice. I feel like I’m having a conversation with someone who follows the news, has traveled outside his backyard and read a few books not mandatory in elementary school. In essence, I’m treated like a human being.

How kind. When will InStyle, Marie Claire and Elle get on board?

I like the simplicity of men’s magazines. There are two moisturizers not twenty, they both cost under $30 and they don’t promise to fix your dinner and cure cancer. They just moisturize. The interviews are poignant, sarcastic and relevant. The fashion is crisp, manly, well tailored, and I’d like my man wearing that suit from Hugo Boss and carrying that LV trunk. (When’s the last time you saw fashion in Vogue you wanted your woman to wear? Right. Never.) The advice is relatively pertinent: a recent flip through one particular men’s magazine showed columns on grooming, packing for various travel and how to deal with common illnesses. The sex commentary is funny, realistic and doesn’t involve me learning new ways to communicate with my breasts. Refreshing.

Let’s take the January edition of Esquire. Robert deNiro is on the cover, and inside I read succinct but wildly interesting interviews with Yoko Ono, Robert Redford, Jodie Foster, Ferran Adria and George H.W. Bush. The fashion editorial is what to wear on different adventures in the  Rockies. Recent Cosmo? Something about the eight signs he’s into me and how to lose five pounds by tonight. Seriously? Please.

I know, it all comes down to social inequalities, gender roles and gender-based advertising. But let’s keep it light, shall we?

I also like the women in men’s magazines. You want real women? You got ‘em. Thighs, bellies, breasts, bums et al. It’s all there. I’m not staring at skeletal frames in the latest Dior suit, I’m looking at women with heels, standing tall, curves flaunted. Many men’s magazines have columns written by bright and astute women (like myself), and I never get the impression that I’m being degraded while reading them. Elle’s columns sometimes make me want to scream.

Yes, I know, men’s magazines use women as sexual objects. And so do all women’s fashion magazines  - but while the body on one makes you swoon, the other has the body of a hanger with clothes you will never wear. While one has her four-page interview printed next to her photo, the other is voiceless, faceless and unexamined for her thoughts.

So which is better?

I’ll leave that up to you.



  • Anonymous

    I love this blog and I love the accompanying song and picture. I have always been a big fan of all magazines as my father always sang the praises of the printed press to me. Since I was about 12 he had a subscription to: Esquire; George; Robb Report; and Vanity Fair. I miss “George” a lot, and it remains one of the greatest mags ever for me, screw the critics and JFK Jr. RIP!

    Vanity Fair remains my fav and their “Marilyn’s Secret Diaries” issue was my fav issue of 2010. However, I do enjoy women’s mags. Nylon is dope and I did buy Marie Claire when my girl Emma Watson got the cover, LOL. However, I agree that men’s mags are much more enjoyable to read, especially when it comes to interviews.

  • Anonymous

    This is a first class critique you have written here…amazing! I just had a similar discussion with some co-workers while leafing through a french magazine entitled CLin d’oeil. The unrealistic expecatations of women were quite funny (since I’m not a woman) but also disturbing. Men are starting the get the same actually. I wish there were only 2 types of lotions at $30 bucks each for men!
    Great stuff.

    • Anonymous

      Of course you gotta throw Clin d’Oeil under the bus… HAHAHAHA!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000583209773 Sabrina Camp

    excellent blog Clara.
    might have to dip into the world of men’s magazines :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Christopher-Michael-Elliott/500513490 Christopher Michael Elliott

    DAAAAMMMNNN! Wow Clara. Jesus Christ. You really hit the nail on the head with this piece. I could not agree more. I’m a GQ man myself, and I must say, escaping in the articles within provides me with great joy.

  • Modality9

    I truly enjoyed this blog, full something. Pure joy.
    I am a SUBSCIBER of printed matter. Get me on a good day and I’ll follow you all the way to my bank account. My postman is probably cursing me for “carrying that weight” but I give him a generous Christmas gift.
    Do men’s magazines bring in more money, more advertisers, more of something…. I doubt it.
    I begin looking at all printed matter from the back. I go to the denouement . Only in the boulevard press.
    Bad habit. When the author leads me to an unsatisfying end I do not intend to follow the process of how he got there. This idiosyncratic habit began long time ago and it served me well. Most of you will object: “It is the process that counts.” It may very well be so, but you have to subscribe to the notion that procrastination is a virtue, and to the difference in the mating habits between foxes and hedgehogs.
    I recall the words of my prof vividly when he told me that I was his only “reader.” He wrote some books, but little did he know that after having read the conclusion of his treatise, I considered the road a waste on my eyes.
    Who is whose reader? Are you the ‘implied reader,’ or anybody’s reader?
    The women and men behind the publications know and I mean “school” know that they are only s few absolutes that make them stay in circulation: Profit from advertising, readership database and the return of a reader. Propaganda works.
    From the mouth of Laura Fabian (look her up, she is fantastic) come these immortal words. Having judged a talent competition she responded: “Who are we to judge? [...] These young people don’t know how this machinery works, but we can’t kill their dreams, can we?”. All the girlie publications hired a Cupid whose arrows are aiming at you and I. Don’t you just love it? If beauty does not save the world, what else will? For answer to this Q. you might want to read The Economist or the sliding Times.
    The author of this blog should take a look at her motivation behind the work she accepted in Swaziland. How is it going in men’s world?

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