Saw this while limping through the grocery line. I never truly considered myself a “feminist”, even during my most liberal days at university, and I’ve certainly wandered away from the sacred literature of Dworkin et al since then. But this stuff here makes me want to burn some bras and start using the word “cisgender” non-ironically.
Why is crap like this problematic? Well, there’s the obvious parts of it — the deliberate decision to make Ariana Grande look twelve years old and yet highly sexualized at the same time, the you’re-only-good-for-one-thing text to the left of the photo. Worse than the specifics, however, is something that’s bothered me for a long time.
“Men’s magazines” are typically considered to be magazines about mens’ interests. Road&Track is part of the “Hearst Men’s Network”. It says so in every issue. Even Esquire and GQ have five buy-this-shit articles for every fuck-this-bitch article. As men, we’re continually exposed to a variety of marketing for products, for adventure, for image, for consumption.
Women, on the other, are continually exposed to a single message: it’s time to have sex. Don’t women deserve adventures of their own, ones that have nothing to do with sex or sexuality? Shouldn’t their magazines celebrate that stuff first, put that stuff ahead of the bedroom agenda? Why does every magazine aimed at women in the supermarket have sex as its primary topic?
Don’t get me wrong: the day I can’t have sex with women I’m going to stare at the wall in the nursing home and cry. I’m all about it. But I don’t think it should be the primary focus of every woman’s life. Go out and have an adventure, ladies. It’s okay to have your mind on something besides sex, and to keep your legs closed, while you’re doing it. Cosmo be damned.