Saturday, August 15, 2009

ELLE Magazine ... They Can't Be Serious

Did I actually purchase this magazine with my own money at a store? I think I did. I think I actually picked it out for it's cover model, one of many celebrities that I have a car-wreck fascination with (Miley Cyrus), and upon further inspection, thought the articles seemed interesting. Now I'm at page 140 (about half-way through the magazine, not yet to the point where most of the cover-advertised articles begin. And I'm disgusted. Seriously.

For those of you who don't know me personally, or haven't been reading my stuff for long ... I am not a raging feminist, nor am I what could ever be called a conservative, nor am I against many of the things that I thought fashion was about, and stood for. But it's gross. Is this a tome of the fashion industry, or just an old periodical out of touch with, well, everyone except itself?

Granted, I was already irritated because of an article I read yesterday about a neighborhood retailer for which I have some affinity. Then, upon the suggestion of the August '09 issue of Elle, I went to check out Bloomingdale's new ad campaign. The latter was supposedly this cutting-edge video footage of "the future Drews, Scarletts, and Penelopes" of the movie industry. Shot by a female filmmaker (don't know her credits, don't care) named Jen Venditti, it showcases the biographies and -- you guessed it -- screen tests of 19 up-and-coming actresses, each of whom is less interesting than the last, each of whom comes off as extremely affected and intentionally done-up to look a part.

There's I'm-hip-and-edgy-but-still-love-Shakespeare actress Julian Leigh Federman; then there is I'm-in-your-face-and-can-only-play-lesbians/alternative-characters Cristin Milioti; and my personal favorite, the oh-I'm-just-an-innocent-beauty-from-a-Scandinavian-country blonde, Aleksandra Orbeck. The other 16 girls pack an equally dull and presence-less punch, as does the 5-minute Bloomingdale's short. I found myself flipping the channels on Saturday morning television instead of paying rapt attention to this dumpling of female artistic achievement. Gag.

So, I moved on from that page (both in the magazine and online), and found an article entitled, "Get Shorty," which asks us, "In love, do close-cropped girls finish last?...Johanna Cox [author of the piece]...got the painful truth." This writer has crafted her article-slash-social-experiment out of her haircut. Yes, apparently for most of her life, she had long hair and loved it. She had a swinging pony tail, even though the process of blow-drying her mop "meant paddle-brushing to the point of wrist cramps." She rocked the same culture-approved look from ninth grade to her final semester of graduate school, according to the article, and really never faced any rejection from any men. Hunh. Pictures are available for your acceptance or rejection, here.

Well, sadly, after Ms. Cox (who, FYI, won the first season of "Stylista" and thus a job at Elle) chopped her long, dark locks into somewhat of a pixie cut inspired by a photo posted to thesartorialist.com ... ... ....(emotional pause) ... her boyfriend didn't think she was hot anymore!!! And he told her so!!! And oh, the rejection that followed, as Cox goes on to describe tediously the many ways in which no men other than those "who know what Lanvin is" have paid attention to her with short hair.

As a chick with short hair myself, I guess I just couldn't believe it. Of course, as expected in middle America, not everyone loves or "gets" my haircut, which is a shorter version of the one I admire on Rhianna. But I certainly don't face rejection by men wherever I go. Both women and men exclaim that they love my haircut, that my 'do is tight, sharp, or hot. Just yesterday I was asked at the gas station who cuts my hair; I had to admit that I cut it, in my bathroom, with some clippers and a pair of sharp scissors. The lady who had asked looked disappointed.

And I must add, that where I live, I can assure you that all these people do not know or care what Lanvin is. The article in Elle is accompanied by a few shots of some well-known short-haired gals such as Amber Rose (she pulled Kanye West, and he only seems to date the physically-beautiful!) and Selma Blair (whom a lot of my guy friends describe as "hot").

I think that perhaps when Ms. Cox cut off her hair, she lost her confidence as well. She was probably so very terrified of straying from the conventional that she projected an entirely different attitude and persona. Girl, if you're gonna rock a pixie cut, you have to rock it! You have to commit. You have to wear that hair 'do on your very soul!

I hated this issue of Elle, because while the magazine purports to be about fashion and lifestyle and to herald the best and coolest hair cuts & colors, spas, night spots, models, trends ... It is really just a collection of never-stray-too-far-from-convention photographs, editorials, and styling. Everything is like a picture of what they think a fashion magazine should be; and the irony is that in trying to imitate an old model, or in trying to imitate anything really, you fall completely short of what fashion actually is: innovation, forward-thinking, artistry.

I wouldn't give a shit ... I mean, I just won't buy the magazine again if I don't like it, you know? ... but it disturbs me that this periodical passes on such antiquated, pack-following, everybody's-doing-it ideology. A recent article discussed the way our society is obsessed with thin-ness and quoted one source as stating "A little anorexia is hot." Someone else has already written more and better than I can respond to that: http://the-f-word.org/blog/index.php/2008/02/20/note-to-elle-magazine-anorexia-is-not-hot/. Love that blog, by the way.

2 comments:

TOM said...

I think you need to send them an article!

KaKe said...

I finally made it here... sorry it took me so long!! Yea I dont think I ever read Elle, but the y did send my Lucky magazine in the mail and I don't there is one actual article in it... ugh.... I will catching up on your blog stay tuned for more comments!!