My Love/Hate Relationship

23 Sep

I have a love/hate relationship with healthy/active/sport magazines.  I love magazines, basically because I am part of the MTV generation and have the attention span of a Duran Duran video.  So magazines work great for me.  Most of my subscriptions are focused on health and exercise (running, cycling, etc).  As my interests have changed so has my magazine subscriptions.  In my early 20’s it was fashion (InStyle), late 20’s healthy eating (Cooking Light & Vegetarian Times) and now they are activity focused.

I broke up with InStyle because it made me sad.  It what world is a $300 purse a steal or a deal?  Can their readers really afford that stuff and if so, I am poor.  So, it made me sad.  We broke up because I couldn’t afford their fashions and half the stuff I wouldn’t wear anyway.  I am not that cool and can’t pull miss-matched outfits and smokey eyes.  It looked liked I got dressed in the dark and had a black eye, not cute.

I broke up with Cooking Light when I went vegetarian, simply because a lot of the recipes didn’t apply.  Who are we kidding anyway, in 5 years of subscribing to Cooking Light I made probably 5 dishes.  I mainly looked at the pictures and dreamed of a life where I cooked like that and could afford 35 ingredients for one side dish of broccoli rice casserole.  When I could afford it, I was too busy making the money to afford it to cook that way.  Vegetarian Times is a great mag and the only reason we broke up was because if I was looking for a recipe, I went on-line.  I am more of the…”I have mushrooms, what should I do with them…” type cook, not “This looks good, let me go to the store and buy everything for it…”.

Now, I subscribe to magazines about running, cycling and women’s health.  I love reading about training, professionals and most of all, real-life people like me.  I love reading the success stories and the triumph over adversity articles.  They are inspiring and motivating.  I like reading reviews of new derailleurs and trail running shoes.  But there the other side of the coin…the hate.  Well hate is a very strong word…let’s say dislike.  I will start with the cover, there is always a promise to loose 5 to 20 lbs.  Do most Americans need to loose 5 to 20 lbs?  Yes, but does every single month have to make me think I need to loose weight?  And it is always the same stuff!  This month on the cover of a magazine I subscribe to, it promised to “Lose the last 5lbs…guaranteed”!  I have the last 5lbs and yes, I would like to loose it.  I frantically turn to page 72 in hopes of some breaking news.  My hopes were dashed when the article recommended to drink more water, eat more fiber and whole grains and eat on smaller plates.  That is it?  Unless you have been living under a rock of lard…you have heard this before.  Another reason I dislike these mags is the imagery.  Yes, I know all about air-brushing (I was a graphic artist in a previous life) and I know it is not real.  I also know that I should be above it and love my body they way it is.  But it still makes me sad that I don’t look like that.  Don’t get me wrong it is not waif like models I am looking at, it is Olympic athletes.  I shouldn’t even begin to compare my quads to hers…but I do.  It is sad, I know.

A few months back I was perusing the magazine racks at a Barnes & Noble and I came across a UK cycling magazine.  As I was flipping through it and I noticed that all the cyclist looked like me or were even bigger than me.  These women’s arms were soft and pasty, their legs were strong but not chiseled.  These women looked like they came out of your average Saturday morning group ride.  Half the time I think the models in the US cycling magazines don’t even cycle.  Cyclist have big legs, yes they a muscular, but they are big.  We have big bums, again pure muscle.

I guess what I am getting at is that I wish I was an Olympic cyclist with a full-time stylist and air-brusher.  Is that too much to ask?

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One Response to “My Love/Hate Relationship”

  1. alicia September 24, 2011 at 9:52 am #

    I love magazines because I can snip through them and take out bite sized nuggets of imagery for a collage, a tiny quarter page workout routine for later, or a new spin on something I love doing.

    I do not like magazines that are specifically targeted toward women. Ever. The ads are demeaning, the graphically enhanced models are demoralizing, and the messages they send are that we’re never good enough. (If we were good enough, we wouldn’t want to buy something new, now would we? Then what would their advertisers do?)

    Even the ones like Real Simple that don’t focus on fashion make you wonder if you’re feeding your family healthy enough, if your home is clean or organized enough, or whether you’re achieving enough work-life balance, or wrapping gifts prettily enough.

    I also don’t love magazines because they are a huge waste of paper, but I usually find a way to share them and pass them on to other interested readers. I am endlessly amused that my latest copy of Runner’s World gets snagged out of the breakroom and never returns, while Marie Claire wastes away on the shared rack, gathering dust.

    I hear you sister! Especially because as an Athena, looking at Triathlon Life is like going to Mars or something.

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