I don’t know what it is with us women. There is something deeply rooted in our systems that makes us want to punish ourselves. Even after a successful five minutes of affirmations, repeating ‘I am a strong, beautiful woman’ to the reflection in the mirror, we still find ourselves tempted to read the articles in the female bibles – a.k.a. Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Marie Claire and the list continues.
Although we initially frown at the titles on the front cover, we’d be lying if we weren’t already imagining if it really would work for us; “How to stop ageing by washing your face with Digestives? Yeah right! But perhaps I should continue reading… just in case.”
The problem is; if the self-inflicting pain-trends come with a promise that we will wake up with a baby’s bottom for a face and a washboard for a tummy the following day, we’ll most likely want to try it.
The latest one I read, the one that made me snap out of my ‘there’s always room for improving yourself’-mode, came from Cosmopolitan’s online version. The article ‘Eight crazy ways to a smoking hot celeb bod’ really holds the clue in the title – crazy!
Despite already knowing that celebrities spend excessive amounts of money on personal trainers and surgeries they’ll deny having done, this article suggest that there are still some things out there that can make normal people feel like they’re lacking the all-important will-power to look fabulous.
Take Victoria’s secret model, Adriana Lima for instance. The article reveals that she only consumes liquids for nine days before she struts down the runway. Although I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t sell my kidneys to have a body like hers, sticking to liquids for more than a week would leave this hypothetically kidney-less woman very cranky and bitchy.
And even if Jennifer Lopez’s no carbs after 4pm and 6pm workouts sound slightly more realistic, something tells me that trying it for myself, would still lead to a fail in the end.
But why, oh why, do women still read the article? Why do we like making ourselves feel less worthy of a “smoking hot body” just because we don’t want to starve or lose our sleep-ins on regular working days?
I’ll be the first to admit that I thoroughly enjoy letting my brain rest by picking up a couple of the magazines and flicking through the glossy pages for a couple of hours. I enjoy reading the articles about the latest fashions I can’t afford, the celebrity hotties I’ll never meet and the tips and tricks to make any man orgasm with the flick of an eyelid.
But the articles I spend most time reading, the articles I sometimes rip out and keep (don’t judge!) are always the same; diets, fitness routines, miracle weight loss programs and super-food lists. Despite having a job that’s made me more confident than ever with the way I look and feel, these shiny bibles really know how to make a satisfied woman feel like she could always be just a little better than she already is.
And although I’m not about to put leeches on my skin like Demi Moore to ‘detoxify my blood’, reading articles on how much will-power some celebrities have when it comes to looking good, makes any self-loving, gym going, daily cycling dancer feel like shit about their own efforts – ‘I just had to have a tic tac yesterday, didn’t I?! Eugh!’
How is it that these magazines can promote two completely different things at the exact same time? Be happy with how you look but try and look better still.
‘Eight crazy ways to a smoking hot celeb bod’ is perhaps not so much promoting these methods of weight loss as it is ridiculing them – ‘we can’t believe they do this. Now, let’s all enjoy a snickers-bar and feel good about not being them!’
However, a big part of the content in these glossies concern self-improvements; lose weight, bleach your teeth, grow your hair, cut your hair, change yourself, improve yourself… always!
And so it comes back to where I started. We, women, like to punish ourselves unnecessarily. We’re reminded that we’re perfect just the way we are, but lurking somewhere in the magazines we’ll always manage to find an article that contradicts our love-handles, bingo-wings, ageing, hair-growth and so on.
But I’d still like to say; thank you, Cosmopolitan! It’s a real pleasure to have an article reminding you of how ridiculous the dieting and unexplained self-loathing can get – even if those articles only appear once in a blue moon.