I’m So Glad I Accidentally Got a Copy of Glamour

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.

07-amy-schumer-glamour.w245.h368.2xThe 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.

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StumbleUpon Sunday (5)

StumbleUpon is a giant collection of the best pages on the Internet.

StumbleUpon is a great way to lose hours of your life.  Luckily, I braved the Internet vortex so you don’t have to.  This week I found these especially interesting websites:

  1. Clever Illustrations Reveal the Two Kinds of People There Are in the World
    Well, I’m definitely the neat freak.
  2. 30 Places You’d Rather be Sitting Right Now
    A great way to feel worse about your desk/couch/location.
  3. Powerful Illustrations Show Women How to Fight Gender PrejudicesFor example:  “Rebecca had depression, and only after many months she was able to wear clothes that revealed the scars left on her body.  Rebecca, these marks are a reminder of how brave you have had to be!  Psychological pain is also human, and suffering it does not make you any less of a person.”
  4. Pudding the Fox is Too Friendly to Go Free
    I know he says he doesn’t support keeping foxes as pets, but with a name like Pudding?  Give me one!
  5. When Their Trailer is Transformed Into a House, Everyone is Left Completely Amazed
    This amazing camper has all the clever hacks that has made me love tiny houses.
  6. This Artist Doesn’t Just Drink Coffee, She Also Makes Incredible Portraits With It!
    Yoda!  Mario!  Daenerys!
  7. This Sentence Has Five Words
    Incredible writing advice given in an incredible format.
  8. The 30 Best Films of the Decade
    I’ve seen only 10!
  9. 30 Shower Thoughts You’ve Never Had Before
    “The saying ‘Money can’t buy you happiness’ should be changed to ‘Money can’t prevent sadness.'”
  10. The Hero’s Journey Outline
    Joseph Campbell’s hero’s journey, with multiple lists and charts!  This will be very interesting to a very specific set of people.

Full Frontal Feminism by Jessica Valenti

I enjoyed reading Valenti’s persuasive argument in favor of feminism, but I don’t think I would use it to convince anyone who is on the fence.  Valenti is brash, paranoid, and sensationalistic.  Since I align myself with feminism, I can forgive her these faults and understand where she’s coming from.  But if someone were new to the movement, I think they might be more put off than intrigued.

The sections I enjoyed most were her discussions of media, body image, victim blaming and violence toward women.  Her brashness can lend an air of humor sometimes.  But I lost touch with her in the chapter on abortion, which she sees as one of our primary rights to defend.  I can understand a woman fighting for control of her body, but the lack of empathy on her part for people who consider fetuses to be babies (this is a “ridiculous” thought that she spends no time exploring) was disconcerting.  Perhaps because this was the issue upon which we disagreed, I sensed more than before her “all or nothing” mentality that alienates rather than intrigues.

Valenti’s book is empowering and informative.  I’m glad it exists.  But it’s not quite my feminist manifesto.  Continue reading

StumbleUpon Sunday (3)

StumbleUpon is a giant collection of the best pages on the Internet.

StumbleUpon is a great way to lose hours of your life.  Luckily, I braved the Internet vortex so you don’t have to.  This week I found these especially interesting websites:

  1. The Amazing World of Dogs in Photography
  2. Too Beautiful to be Real?  16 Surreal Landscapes Found on Earth
  3. 33 People Who Prove the World Isn’t Such a Broken Place After All
  4. The 5 Most Terrifying Civilizations in the History of the World
  5. 20 Places to See in Your 20s
  6. Writer Creates “Color Thesaurus” to Help You Correctly Name Any Color Imaginable
  7. Confessions of a Feminist Makeup Addict
  8. 23 Couples Who Decided to Get Tattoos and Absolutely Nailed It
  9. 23 Mind-Blowing Animal Pictures
  10. 8 Ways to Get Likes and Followers on Instagram

Recommendation: No Prehensilizing

I recently stumbled upon the tumblr account No Prehensilizing, a blog run by a 24-year-old graduate of film and philosophy.  She shares many of my obsessions (Marvel, Starkid, Doctor Who, Mad Max), and she writes wonderfully intelligent critiques of popular media.  Here are some of my favorite essays she has written, though I suggest you check out the whole blog!

I’m loving her site, and I hope you find something enjoyable there as well!

Mad Max: Fury Road

Mad Max: Fury Road was not on my radar until I learned that Men’s Rights Activists were protesting it (sight unseen, mostly) because it was “feminist propaganda.”  There aren’t many other phrases that will draw my attention quite so quickly.  I knew it was an extremely violent movie, so I did a ton of pre-movie research.  I quizzed a friend who had seen it, read dozens of articles about it, and googled “how gross is mad max fury road.”  It wasn’t until a friend texted and said she was interested in seeing it (also because of its ties to feminism) that I decided to bite the bullet and go to the theater.

I needn’t have worried so much.  It is definitely a violent movie, but I was relieved to see that the violence is mostly insinuated rather than shown.  It also helped that, thanks to my research, I knew pretty much everything that was going to happen.  Once I realized that the film wasn’t going to try to gross me out, I got lost in its story.

(So many spoilers ahead.  You’re forewarned.) Continue reading

4 Guilty Pleasures

Whenever I feel guilty or ashamed about liking something, my coping strategy goes like this:  casually mention it in a way disassociated from myself.  Bring it up again, with a little humor added.  Talk about it ALL THE TIME ALWAYS until people beg me to shut up.  Write a blog post about it.

Although I have grown in self-confidence and I don’t quite care as much what people think about me or my opinions, my guilty pleasures are still pleasures that make me feel guilty, as though I am too old, too mature, too whatever to like the things that I like.  I will probably always have the spectre of Other People’s Judgments hanging over my head, but today I’m saying “I don’t care!” by fangirling real hard about the dumb things that I love.  Continue reading