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.