Friday, 25 November 2011

Mag hag: 24 hours with a pile of magazines

Pretty much the only benefit of spending the last two days languishing in bed with a bug has been the chance to tackle the large pile of magazines I'd aquired over the past few weeks.  Reading them back-to-back led me to ponder the weirdness that is women's mags.

Traditional glossy, aspirational woman's magazine.  I used to love it but cancelled my subscription recently when I realised that reading it made me feel bad.  The Christmas issue is a must-buy though, if only for the annual 25% off at Paperchase voucher.
Coverlines include 'My 10-year love affair with Botox'; 'Lorraine Pascal's totally lazy Christmas'.  Did feminism ever happen?
For women who, judging by the articles therein, are in their 30s or 40s, live in impossibly nice houses with their impossibly nice husband and 2.4 children.
Wants you to buy Tom Ford eye shadow palette, a bargain at only £62; a £920 sheepskin beanbag from The White Company; an £8,000 Rolex watch.
Reading it I feel an increasing sense of dissatisfaction with my life.  Looking at the glossy interiors photographs, my thoughts turn to the grubby grouting in my bathroom.  There are some articles that resonate - particularly 'Get an experience high', about how to cut down on buying and focus more on doing (which seems ironic in a magazine that is 50% adverts) - but overall reading it reminds me why I cancelled my subscription. 

Mollie Makes
Relatively new (only on it's eighth issue) craft magazine aimed at young, trendy crafters who might watch Kirstie's Homemade Home then go out to a gig.
Coverlines include 'Thrifty style secrets: recycled makes for your home & wardrobe'; 'Scandinavian inspiration: Norway's coolest design blog'.  Clearly not your average craft magazine, with patterns for teddy bear cross stitch.
For women who have always been into crafts, honest, I'm not jumping on the 'cool craft' bandwagon, I swear...
Wants you to buy a new Janome sewing machine, £99.99; handknitted lambswool egg cosies.
Reading it I wonder who are these people who find amazing junkshop finds for a few quid?  My local junk shop is full of, well, junk and it costs a damn sight more than the £6 for a chair quoted in here.  Mollie Makes is just as aspirational as mainstream women's mags, it's just a different kind of aspiration.  Instead of lusting after Rolex watches and posh make-up, we're lusting after vintage fabrics, car boot bargains and screenprinted cushions.

Fat Quarter
Recently defunct quarterly magazine, clearly published on the thinnest of shoestrings but packed full of interesting articles that feel aimed at women exactly like me (whoever they may be).
Coverlines include 'Kristin Hersh of Throwing Muses'; 'Drag kings'.  Terse and to the point.
For women who "are after a 'countercultural ladies' mag," according to the tagline.  I'll assume the "ladies'" is ironic.
Wants you to buy albums by bands so obscure even I haven't heard of them.
Reading it I want to weep that after only three issues, the only possible UK alternative to Bust or Bitch has folded.  Blogs are all well and good, but I'm old-fashioned and like to turn pages when I read.

This is neither the time nor the place to go into detail about my sexual preferences.  Suffice it to say that I've dated girls and boys in the past (is it bad that I still think in terms of 'girls' and 'boys' at the age of 33?!) and I enjoy the ocassional flick through Diva, if only for the novel experience of reading a magazine for women that isn't obsessed with diets.
Coverlines include 'Feminine lesbians: Too straight looking to be gay?'; 'New Leeds gay quarter - ghetto or fabulous?'.  They like rhetorical questions.
For women who like women, duh.
Wants you to buy The new Bjork album; an Annix dildo for the special offer price of £29.99.
Reading it I decide I want some fabulous red lipstick, like the women in the vintage fashion feature.  But no rage, no yearning for consumer goods... this might just be the winning mag.


  1. Ooh interesting reviews! I never buy magazines these days for the reason they do normally end up making me feel bad! I did used to subscribe to Bust and liked it though. Have you ever read Oh Comely? I subscibe to that and always look forward to each issue, you should check it out! A good mixture of craftiness, stories and pretty photos :)

  2. I do love Bust but it's so US-centric (for obvious reasons) and I just end up sulking that I live in Leicester and not New York or Portland! I haven't heard of Oh Comely but will search it out when I'm next in Smiths. I do love magazines as I like to have little bits and pieces to read, but my gosh mainstream media is rotten! Doing these reviews really made me realise how agitated and weird I get when I read stuff like Red.