I only ever did it when I was alone....
I'd look both ways before I reached for it or make sure only strangers could see me.
I was reaching for a magazine. Sometimes Cosmo. Sometimes Self. Sometimes Fitness.
Funny how something curated and designed for me as a young woman coming into her body felt like a surreptitious affair.
I always felt embarrassed of how I needed to know how to melt the pounds away in 10 easy moves because I couldn't figure it out on my own.
Because being successful as a woman means being beautiful but not really trying. It means being smart and powerful in business but not being too bitchy. It means having a wild and crazy sex life but also having a fulfilling and satisfying romantic partnership.
Women's magazines make the elusive feel attainable:
"10 easy steps to blast off the fat for good"
"Makeup tips to take you from the boardroom to the dance floor"
"Foods to avoid on date night"
The achiever in me chased after this phantom on the cover of the magazine. The woman who somehow had it all together.
Those bright and brilliant headlines offered liberation, the answers, the divine truth.
If these magazines offered liberation, though, then wouldn't that mean I wasn't already liberated? As a young feminist, I couldn't admit that I needed any guidance from these "girly" magazines.
Women's magazines are a double-edged sword. They produce content many women love and simultaneously are designed to make us feel like crap so we'll buy products from advertisers. It is a way for women quietly suffering alone to connect in the Sisyphean task of achieving "success" as a strong and liberated young woman.
I don't buy these magazines anymore. I don't believe the fairy tale anymore. The diets don't work. I can't afford makeup and I think it's pretty well established that Cosmo has no clue how sex works.
If what you're looking for is liberation, an article that establishes rules for what's hot and what's not doesn't exactly unshackle you. If you're looking for connection to other women, deciding who is best and worst dressed divides you. Sadly, ladies, we're not going to get to the C-level suites by finding the best pencil skirt.
Break the rules. Call your girlfriends. And be a boss.
But you don't have to spend another dime on a paper dream.