Friday, October 28, 2011

Should We Trust the Advice in Magazines?

I love magazines.  I hate to criticize something I love, but ... I'm going to.

Magazines offer advice about how I should live my life: eat these foods, use this face wash, travel here, do these stomach crunches, buy this coffee table, etc., etc.  The magazines seem to offer good advice.  Eat more salmon?  Take deep calming breaths?  Buy some ankle boots for the fall?  Sounds good to me!

But, in case you haven't noticed, I'm a cynic.  A cheerful cynic, but a cynic nonetheless.  And so I have my doubts.  

If the magazines give me good advice, and I follow that advice, then I will, presumably, reach my full potential as a 21st century woman. 

And if I reach my full potential  as a 21st century woman, then I won't need to read magazines anymore.  I'll spend my evenings reading Dante and drinking peppermint tea, instead of reading magazines and eating a large bowl of ice cream.

So, is it really in the magazine's interest to offer me the best advice possible?  Shouldn't they only give me enough advice to keep me coming back for more? 

Or, I know I'm being paranoid, but: shouldn't a magazine give me bad advice?  For example, let's say a fashion magazine extols the virtue of capri pants - you'll look like Audrey Hepburn!  I buy a pair of capri pants, but alas, I have short legs and capri pants make me look like an asshole.  Now, instead of feeling like Audrey Hepburn, I feel insecure and miserable.  I descend into a shame spiral, eat too many donuts, and buy ... more magazines.

I probably should have named this blog "The Cynical Pumpkin." 

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