Women’s magazines: The good, the bad and the Ugly
For years I have (as I’m sure have many other males) been compelled to defend men against the fairer of our species. It has for decades been accepted as the default public position, that men are solely responsible for causing and compounding every area of misery in a woman’s life. In a bid to refute this notion in taxi’s and bedrooms alike many of us have failed and any logical argument pointing to the contrary has been meet with hostility or refusal of certain favors.
Part of the weakness in our argument is that we have had no one to blame. But Eureka! Finally I have found it. I have solved the greatest gender riddle of all. Oh wait! I do not know what women want, so scratch that. But still Eureka! I have solved the greatest gender riddle of all. I’m sure the publishers are lining up to hear my groundbreaking find. So before we shoot the covers, go on the book signing and tours allow me to reveal why your girlfriend did not sleep with you for the first three months of your relationship. Trust me it was not because of your stinky socks or vile flat mate.
Surprisingly, the institution that is solely responsible for the greatest degree of female misery is run by. women themselves. No I am not talking about the stokvel (although that has been known to cause some problems). This time I am talking about the women’s magazines. Those little handbooks to life that our sisters pay hundreds of rands in annual subscriptions to get. The irony is tragically comic.
Women’s magazines have created a culture of self consciousness that could easily have even Khanyi Mbau shaking her head. These women take everything they read in the editor’s page with more than just a pinch of salt. Some might think that I am exaggerating. But perhaps it would not be beyond imagination to have the Hawks and the NIA conduct some kind of an investigation. After all the magazine industry has been responsible for lying to the public more than politicians and more than lawyers – COMBINED.
At best they have created a multi-layered society of sensitivity; everyone has to suddenly watch their words. Every man might do well to avoid conversational red flags such as “chunky” because Vogue or Cosmo called it “one of the ten words that imply, he thinks your fat”. Even polite conversation has become a juggling act. Years ago you could take a girl out with the hope that she would at least feel somewhat beholden to you. Today you have no such complications.
Thanks to agony aunts, you will be lucky if you have her attention for 50% of the evening. She might otherwise be preoccupied following the dating tips written by someone who does not have a boyfriend. But even before the long silences that you will enjoy at dinner, you as a man will no doubt be surprised by the ground rules that are layered when you pick her up. They might go something like this “no funny business, no kissing, no touching, no flirting, but just feel comfortable” such statements are the things nightmares are made off. It’s enough to drain the blood from every man’s face. The editor’s dear friends have been responsible for putting a dampener on more than a few nights.
Whoever comes up with these things does however deserve a double round of applause. Firstly for swindling the ladies out of their common sense and secondly for doing it time and time again. This movement goes beyond just the magazine stands of your local stores. In fact it is a multi-billion rand industry.
The industry has inspired many television spin offs – the subjects of magazine columns have kept many talk show hosts enriched. In what I call the Oprah syndrome. It is a master class of Nihilism out there. Women’s magazines advocate that women become as fond of common sense as Jews are of Auschwitz.
See what I mean – I guarantee that some women out there have just identified that previous statement in bad taste and immediately I have been relegated to the status of “illegible bachelor”. If that is the case allow me to share the good news, that the ideal men that those magazines tell you about do exist. In fact there are about 15 of them-In China. The rest of us chaps in the free-tax paying-beer drinking world don’t make the grade.