Earlier this week, the newest issue of Glamour came to my parents’ house. I don’t subscribe, and they both claimed the same. I decided to read it for laughs and, I assumed, as fodder for a scathing review of women’s magazines. I flipped open its pages, and quickly realized that…I liked it. The editor’s page, “From Me to You,” featured a picture of curvy Amy Schumer from the side, and it didn’t look like she was sucking in her stomach. My mouth dropped open and hearts appeared in my eyes. I read the letter from the editor and found that it was humorous, woman positive, and humble. Shocked and awed, I went back to the cover.
The cover title, about Schumer, is respectful. Actually, it’s worshipful, not of her looks or romantic entanglements, but of her talent for empowering women and making them laugh. There’s a blurb for increasing your sexual health IQ, and a hint at an article about someone fighting back against a victim of naked picture attacks. True, there is fashion advice, but it’s either about a person’s face or their clothing–specifically, clothes designed for individual body types. I had assumed that the cover would be fat-shaming and beauty-limiting. Instead, I felt….welcomed. Could the rest of the magazine be so amazing?
There were, of course, some problems. The clothing advertised was ridiculously expensive for, I hope, most of their reading audience. And the models used to advertise the clothes were disproportionately young white girls. The magazine could do with an extra dose of relatability: more women of color showing off clothes and accessories I might actually afford.
But these problems were so slight in comparison with how much I loved everything else! Glamour has become an incredibly positive place for women. It’s a magazine written by women for women about women. I’m almost positive that only one page in the entire thing is about a man: Paul Rudd, who gets a half-page interview about Ant-Man.
Although a significant amount of the stories are about health or fashion or other looks-related topics, they completely avoid a sense of shame or desperation. I was prepared to groan throughout one article entitled, “The Real Flat Belly Diet,” until I realized it was about a scientific discovery that FODMAPs, not gluten, is responsible for the majority of gastrointestinal problems. When the magazine addressed relationship issues, the advice was optimistic, self-respecting, and assertive. The cover story about Amy Schumer managed to elevate sibling relationships (Amy’s sister Kim wrote the piece), celebrate having a career that you love, and promote body positivity.
Already impressed, Glamour sealed the deal with their article, “Meet the Woman Fighting ‘Sextortion.'” As a teenager, Ashley Reynolds was manipulated by a stranger into sending him nude pictures in an ever-increasing blackmail scheme. Eventually she risked calling his bluff in order to break the cycle. When he lived up to his promise and shared the pictures with her friends and family, her amazing mom saw it as the exploitation that it was and defended and supported her traumatized daughter. What makes this even greater is that the man slipped up, and the FBI was able to capture Michael Chansler, who had over 80,000 images and videos of 350 (mostly) underage girls. He is currently serving his time in prison after being sentenced with 105 years. Ashley Reynolds, now twenty, is sharing her story at law enforcement conferences and saving money to study forensic psychology.
That story was in Glamour! Why have I gone so long assuming it was a frivolous magazine sharing shallow tips on how to look good enough to snag a man? I was so wrong. And since the magazine included a card to buy 12 issues of Glamour for just $12, I’m going to celebrate how wrong I was for the next year.