• Fri, May 4 2012

Why Journalists Keep Writing The Same Dumb Articles For Women

I suppose, if you believe that false hope is wrong, you could say that these articles merely offer some temporary distraction from ultimate misery. But, dude. None of us are making it out of this alive. If magazines–for men or women–were honest, every article would be entitled “Death: Its Horrid Inevitability. ONE DAY CLOSER.”

Taking this into account, it’s always been my view that the fact that we do anything but huddle in caves weeping for our entire lives–that we, say, made civilization–is a tribute to the power of false hope. We’re all going to die and be dead, and largely forgotten within a few generations at most, but we still plot and scheme, and we generally try to take the wheel on this crazy runaway train.

And you can say that that’s fine, but that those efforts shouldn’t revolve around how to “lose ten pounds quick!” But, oh, sure they should. They should revolve around whatever people want, and think will make them happy, because it will motivate them do something rather than nothing. Now, admittedly, we also do greater things, like build the Sistine Chapel, and maybe there should be more “Ladies: How To Paint God On Ceilings!” articles (ED NOTE: Trend piece?). But let’s be real: Michelangelo was probably doing that to get laid. That was just Michelangelo’s lemon chicken.

Who knows? Perhaps the woman who decides to follow the lose ten pounds quick advice will, though a series of zany mishaps, end up accidentally making something fantastic and beneficial to society as a whole.

I think, as a general rule, at TheGloss, we assume you’re an unhinged neurotic who has long ago sacrificed any semblance of normalcy in dealing with anything. We don’t try to sell you articles on how to make men love you because, well, we really don’t know, and because we are too odd to write them in a straightforward way. We always try, and then there are like, seven Schopenhauer jokes and a personal anecdote, and we end up writing something entitled “Philosophers I Have Seriously Considered Banging (Also Some Figures From Greek Myths/Star Wars) Also Vote If Young Schopenhauer Was Hot. Crowdsourcing, Bitches! (Answer: He Was)”.

That does not make straightforward articles that give you the sense that you can take control of your life bad. It does make them false, most of the time. But hell. The universe is so unpredictable – who knows? Maybe the train will slow down if you jump up and down. Maybe there is a man out there whose whole heart melts in the presence of lemon chicken. Maybe the ladymag’s advice will cause you to lose ten pounds by Friday, and, you know, live forever. To borrow a line from one of my favorite playwrights, James Goldman, “In a world where carpenters get resurrected, anything is possible.”

Or you can just read all those articles, and shake your head, and think about how you’ve outsmarted them all.

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  • Ashley Cardiff

    This got dark.

    • Jennifer Wright

      You’ve been talking about death nonstop all week. This is your fault, whoreface.

  • Alle C

    Young Schopenhauer: TOTALLY HOT.

    • Jennifer Wright

      TOTES.

  • Ellen W.

    I hate the weird belief that not only do good things happen to good people, bad things DON’T happen to people who are nice* which is more about appearing good than being an active agent of goodness and justice and such in the world.

    And wedding chicken is a really good recipie, it just isn’t some kind of poultry-based love potion.

    *(whichever commenter mentioned the Sondheim “you’re not good, you’re not bad, you’re just nice” is amazing and I love them)

    • Eagle Eye

      I concur on the chicken, a good lemon chicken recipe will always save you when you suddenly have people over.

      Also, I sometimes add garlic cloves.

      Oh and by suddenly have people over I mean the engagement has been on the books for weeks but you figured that if you just ignored it it would just go away…

    • Jennifer Wright

      “I’m not good, I’m not nice, I’m just right.” Sondheim FTW.

      But isn’t someone who is nice kind of aligned with the side of good? Niceness is mostly abou doing helpful things for other people.

    • Ellen W.

      Nice people also care about people’s feelings and “right” people often don’t which makes niceness important. It just isn’t the same as good and sometimes people (society) gets them mixed up.

      I just really hate the sort of idea of conformity for protection and therefore injuries sustained while being out-of-norm were “asked for.” Not that I’m taking a teeny, tiny part of this post and making it all about my own insecurities and problems with the world.

      I use garlic in everything it could go in so I need the lemon chicken reminder that I don’t actually have to put it in everything every day. Drat, now I’m hungry.

  • MM

    Holy shit! Young Schopenhauer WAS hot. I’d still rather do Kierkegaard though

    • Emily

      really? i was just about to comment that kierkegaard is the #1 dude i would avoid.

    • Jennifer Wright

      Montaigne. I know he’s bald, but he has that twinkle in his eyes. Also, he loves food and mistresses.

    • MM

      Emily: I feel that all of Kierkegaard’s flaws are made up for by that pencil drawing of him that shows up everywhere (http://www.adogabouttown.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/kierkegaard.jpg)

      Admittedly, reading ‘The Sickness Unto Death’ was a bit of a painful experience for me, but love is supposed to hurt.

  • Tania

    While I love most of the Gloss writers and don’t want to pick favourites, your articles lately are making that difficult.

    • Tania

      I wrote that as if I was worried my comment would ignite a frenzy of competition in the staff. “People are choosing favourites now? I shall sabotage them by inserting typos into their articles. Everyone hates typos on the Internet.”

    • Jennifer Wright

      Shh! Now that I know favorites are being chosen I’m ripping all the keys off Amanda’s keyboard.

  • LoveyDovey

    “I used to think it was awful that life was so unfair. Then I thought, ‘wouldn’t it be much worse if life *were* fair, and all the terrible things that happen to us come because we actually deserve them?’ So now I take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe.”

    -Marcus Cole, Babylon 5

    I felt so much better when I found this quote.

    • Somnilee

      I was going to link this article on my facebook because I thought it had a good message, but I like your quote more and needed it this afternoon :)

  • Lauren

    “I think, as a general rule, at TheGloss, we assume you’re an unhinged neurotic who has long ago sacrificed any semblance of normalcy in dealing with anything.”

    I have been trying to describe myself to gentlemen callers for years without any luck. This is perfection. I’m going to put it on business cards and just pass them out so I don’t actually need to communicate until absolutely necessary.

  • Jamie Peck

    I dunno, I kind of disagree with some of this. The problem I have with these articles is not that they try to give people some false sense that everything’s going to be okay, but that they perpetuate the notion that women can only be happy if they lose weight and find a man. 1.) Those are not the only things women care about, and 2.) Stop trying to make me feel like my life is inadequate, women’s magazines. I am sexy already in my current slightly chubby form, and I don’t need a man to be happy. (I mean, it certainly helps but it’s not required.)

  • G

    I am definitely using “Zany mishap” in a sentence this week.

  • Jay

    Maybe if I read women’s magazines (I don’t, because I’m not a woman) and had examples of these articles I’d consider them absurd. But just from the descriptions above, they all sound quite reasonable to me.

    1. Saying that a woman can do X, Y, and Z to improve her marriage or relationship doesn’t necessarily imply that the man has no responsibility. If you’re giving advice to a man, you tell him what a man can do to improve the relationship. If you’re giving advice to a woman, tell her what a woman can do. There’s no point telling someone with a problem, “If only SOMEONE ELSE did thus-and-so, your problem would be solved.” How does that help? Tell me what *I* can do. Telling me what someone else can do only encourages me to sit around waiting for them to do it and complaining when they don’t.

    2. If the dieting advice doesn’t actually work, then yes it’s stupid and a waste of time. But if it does work, then that seems like a positive good to me. There are lots of Americans who are overweight and would like to find a way to lose the pounds. Sure, if someone thinks that losing ten pounds will instantly solve all their problems, they have unrealistic fantasies. But demanding that any advice given must be guaranteed to instantly solve every problem a person has is the most absurd fantasy I can think of.

    3. I think “just be yourself” is the worst advice I’ve ever heard. What if you’re a jerk? Don’t be yourself: be someone better. What’s wrong with adapting to the wants and needs of another person in order to improve both your lives?

    4. So with #1 and #3 the writer says that a woman shouldn’t change her behavior to please a man. With #4 he says that it’s absurd to expect a man to change his behavior to please a woman. So if your marriage is unhappy, you’re just doomed. There’s nothing that can be done about it, and the only choices are divorce or murder.

  • ashley

    thanks for the article. bye. ashley

  • akash

    i like reading women related articles.

  • akash

    as a man i think women need to be pampered and helped by all. women need love and care. we should assist women whom we love. bye.