Why I Stopped Buying Women’s Magazines

November 2, 2014

Womens magazine

I don’t always buy women’s magazine, but when I do I wish I didn’t. I hadn’t bought a magazine in months, but yesterday I suddenly gave in. Those magazines looked so beautiful, so glossy and enticing. I had to buy a couple. As soon as I went home and flipped through the pages, I started wishing I didn’t. When I actually read a few words, I had a sudden urge to throw the said magazine out of the window.

Why Women’s Magazines are not for Women

How is it that in 2014 women’s magazines are still not on women’s side? Wait, let me ask the right question: how is it that in 2014 we still haven’t realized how women’s magazines are a way to control us?
I decided not to buy a magazine a few months ago, after I started realizing that the ideas I got from those magazines were just plain bad. I realized that flipping through the pages of magazines of the like of Glamour and Cosmopolitan just didn’t feel right.

Super photoshopped models, articles on how to get this or that man, columns on what men think about this or that thing we wear, ways to be more beautiful, sexier, how to get back in shape after giving birth, how to hide this or that flaw and so on. 
Do you think this means being on women’s side? Do you think those magazines are written by women for women? I honestly don’t.

Words that Made me Cringe

When I read those words I couldn’t believe my eyes. I know I should have expected something like it from an article called “Men seen by Women.” Anyway, in the middle of a rambling about how high heels turn on men even if the wearer cannot walk in them, here it comes:

“There are days when we just feel like wearing ballet flats. We feel like Audrey Hepburn, even if we weigh 180 kg (400 lbs) and our neck looks like a bull’s neck.”

Wait, WHAT? Did she really? Yes, she did. And yes, the columnist is a woman. Don’t you see something quite wrong in the sentence above? Don’t you think someone should have questioned what was going to be published on a Condé Nast magazine?

Womens magazine

But the worst was yet to come, and I didn’t know it. I turned the page quite upset and found another promising article: “Do you Want to Come Shopping With Me?” This time the author was a man, but things didn’t get better.
The article is about the dread men feel when women want them to go shopping. I should have skipped the whole page, I know. But I read it instead. And that’s what I found:

“[shopping makes men regret of] when they were single and wild, free to dive into adventure. It doesn’t matter if all they did was spending the night playing Playstation or watching asses passing by while sitting with friends at a café.”

Ehrm. Ok, I give up. The article written by a woman screams “body shaming” from every comma. The latter’s written by a man and it definitely doesn’t speak in men’s favour. And yes, he really said “watching asses passing by.” Kudos to you guy, you just spoke of women like they were “asses walking by” and depicted single men like brainless-Playstation-playing-douches.

This brings up another Million Dollar Question. How many people read these articles before they actually get printed out? How do editors choose their columnists?

Now I’m asking for your help. Is there any magazine who really cares about the well-being of their readers? Does a magazine that cares about eradicating stereotypes exist? Let’s build a society that is based on respect both for women and for men.

Don’t forget to leave a comment, I want to know your opinion. If you hold this cause dear to your heart, please share this post. We need more people like you on our side.

Photo credits: palomamf – ofnetsandthings


About the Author


Hey, it's Elisa, founder of styleonvega.com. I'm a social media strategist & consultant by day and blogger by night (honing my multitasking skills since 2006 ;). I'm an atypical Italian, freedom lifestyle advocate and modern spirituality enthusiast. Feel like we could get along? Join me just above this box or get in touch with me on Facebook or Twitter.

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The Dame Intl

I’ve actually written about this exact subject before! “Women’s” magazines are a load of bullshit, trying to make us think we exist within a very limited and rigid margin and that if we don’t, there’s something wrong with us and the obsession with behaving in a way that is appealing to men makes me want to vomit! That’s why I don’t buy this crap anymore!

Luna Raven

Growing up, the only magazine I spent money on was National Geographic. Being the youngest of three sisters, I would occasionally pick-up one of their magazines–usually Elle or Cosmo–and skim through the articles. It only took a few skims for me to never want to pick up one again, let alone spend money on one. It seems like the entire purpose behind most of these magazines is to make women feel bad enough about themselves to buy an endorsed product or to alter their personality to fit the desires of what the magazine defines as “men”, but were really just sad stereotypes.

No thanks, I’ll stick to my National Geographic and be the type of person that I want to be and not the type of individual that magazines–as well as a good chunk of mass media–are selling.


Lisa and Luna, I appreciate your thoughts! It took me quite a lot to understand that what I was getting from those magazines was doing me no good. The only articles I find quite useful are the ones that talk about careers. They are often stocked with useful tips and resources. As far as the rest is concerned, is just advertising and questionable articles. It’s been a long process for me. Sometimes when I look back at my statuses on Facebook from 2009 or 2010 I wonder how could I be the way I was. Well, we grow up I guess. And that’s the good thing about realizing things and growing out of bad habits : )


great post!
these magazines are just full of generic bullshit stories and paid product placements, and that’s all there is to them. it’s a huge advertisement you actually pay for.

i absolutely second what luna said: as a child and teenager i mostly spent my money on national geograpic and similar magazines. sometimes i also read one of those “women’s magazines”, but after a short while it’s the tenth miracle diet you just HAVE to try out, the twentieth super secret to the perfect relationship, and blah, blah, blah.
i instantly have to think of this south park-episode in which they “reveal” how family guy is written. same with woman’s magazines, i think 😉 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-5OABcNfX0

oh, and i’d be really interested on how you see the genre of gender-specific magazines in general – i think it’s a bit outdated. i think most of us are interested in way more than what is typically picked as a theme in these magazines, so the typical women’s magazine isn’t more to me than a very shallow thought of what a female “should” be interested in.

Quaintrelle Georgiana

I could not agree more. The articles are usually really dumb and I am not able to identify with them or také their advice. The reason I sometimes buy these magazines is that I like to look at nice pictures (clothes, shoes, bags and sometimes I like even some fashion photography pictures, although many of them are over-photoshopped) and I like to smell perfumes in those small testers inside of them. I know I can just surf the internet and go to a parfumerie, but the magazine in my hands has a different feel…


    I completely agree with you! I love the pictures and I love fashion and fashion photography, but the articles are mostly full of crap

Jennifer Sanzo

I loved this piece! My piece on body image got selected for Links a la Mode this week as well and I’ve decided to start a #nomorelies campaign to challenge narrow socially constructed ideas of beauty, demand a more healthy, real, and diverse portrayal of women in the media, and teach women and young girls to love their bodies, break the cycle of hate, and stop believe the lies.

Your article on women’s magazines backs highlights the problem here: women are objectified and taught to see themselves as a work in progress, as never good enough – why? control and profit. Think about how many companies would go out of business tomorrow if every women decided that they were happy with what they saw in the mirror.

It’s time to set things right and stop buying the LIES! So far in my research I’ve found Darling Magazine – they have a #realnotretouched campaign and do not photoshop any of their models… Verily is another magazine that seems less intent on trying to “fix” the reader… lets be committed to supporting these indie publications and turn the tide… it’s 2014… we are more than some “asses passing by” and it’s time we stop supporting brands, companies, magazines and media that treat us as such.

Ok end of rant.

Thank you for this post. I’d love to link to it on my #nomorelies page on my blog – which should be up by Thanksgiving.




Im not the biggest fan of fashion magazines, especially ones like vogue or W that are high fashion and never have anything relative to my lifestyle but i dont think eliminating all womens magazines are bad. I think the beauty magazines give great tips and reviews on skin care products. They arent always the most realistic in their dispalys(perfect models) etc, but some of those products I would have never heard about without reading it in a magazine!

Sarah Blodgett

I obsessed over magazines when I was a teenager and in my 20s. I collected them with the same passion my boyfriend has for comic books. But looking back, I really just wanted fashion inspiration, beauty tips, and recipe ideas. I never found the relationship advice or most of the articles relatable in any way. Now with Pinterest and blogs, I’m finding magazines to be obsolete.
Kisses from Links a la Mode!

sah spence

Like Luna, I am a nat geo fan! I just recently did a post on them in my ‘Homage to’ Series I also grew up with them, and adore both the photos and the articles. I do have to admit an attraction to vogue and a few high fashion mags, but I never bought them for the articles, only the imagery, and now with 60% + of the magazine being advertising…. its not even worth it for that. But in my view, the magazines are not written for women, but for the advertisers & product lines, and I actually think that while men certainly play their part, many women are just as responsible for perpetrating the accepted society norms that women should look a certain way. But it is a tricky balance, women should have the choice either way not just the right to NOT look a certain way, but the choice to look that way if they wish… but then how do you know if they truly wish to or if there are societal pressures being exerted on them.

Sah xx


This is so true. The content these days in womens mags is dire and totally lacks any imagination as regards content. TV ‘mags’ are the same, for example, fashion police – why are we tearing other women down and then lauging about it? In my day we had a word for that and it rhymed with ‘itch’!

Love your site and your blogs. Check out http://themanysides.com – representing edgy, indie, designer fashion for women that want to dress for themselves not society!


I love their glossy feel and those sweet scented pages and the new publication smell causes me to become
addicted to those gorgeous thick international publications resting in my lap.


This is amazing. Thought I was the only one thinking this – I think magazines depict a way of life that women want to be a part of because of what’s shown in popular culture ( model culture being a big part of this ) when they really can be demeaning and make you less happy with your own life! Everyone needs to be encouraged to just live their own life in a way that makes them happy instead of being told they should be doing a certain thing because that’s what other women are doing ( when they’re probably not) 🙂

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