Sunday, January 08, 2012

La Presse Feminine.

Will admit to a guilty pleasure here:  women's magazines.  Though I don't subscribe to any, I do like to pick a little something up at the press kiosk from time to time to see how underachieving/unfashionable/unhealthy I am according these publications.  I also like to keep up with what I guess is Popular Feminism around the world*.

What's interesting about a lot of the French ones I look at is that they tend to mix the sex and fashion right in with the family counseling stuff, the recipes and whatever cute little decorating hints they might have.  A couple of the ones I really like have a knitting pattern** plus an offer for a free sewing pattern***.  I guess one could say that they're a hybrid between Cosmopolitan and Martha Stewart****.

Aside from that, the fashion/diet/relations with men stuff is pretty similar between the French and American magazines.  Briefly put, it's always assumed that you're looking to lose weight to fit into the otherwise unwearable (not to mention overpriced) fashion they're pushing that month.  You're also probably having a tough time navigating your relationship, so need whatever advice you can get - good, bad or otherwise.

Of course, since we're talking about a couple countries facing one another but with an ocean separating them, there will be other minor differences*****. To wit:

In the average American magazine, you're an young, independent, intelligent, gifted (insert whatever other positive adjectives you can think of here) woman on the go.  You don't need a man, but you might want one around anyway to pay for drinks and lift heavy stuff, so here's 25 sizzling contortion acts you can do in bed (all vetted by the magazine's team of sex/emotional/physical therapists) to keep him interested.

In the average French one, you're a sophisticated, intelligent, gifted (etc) young woman whose been married for a bit and you've found out that your partner's had three kids by a succession of girlfriends on the side.  Since you're the one with the ring and the piece of paper, not to mention the honor of doing his laundry, you'd like for him to lay off the other women.  In confronting him, you get told you're "not much fun" or "a bore."  What do you do?  Well, you write to the magazine's team of philosophers/sexologists who will take time out from their busy lecture circuits and second careers as psychoanalysts to ask you just what the hell you want out of your relationship.

Refreshing, isn't it? to see that we're all more or less in the same boat?


* Then there's the vocabulary boost I get from the French and German editions.  See?  It all isn't a waste.
** No matter how easy the project, I like to see that promoted.

*** Really nice, as those can be expensive.

**** Try wrapping your mind around that one.

***** The German stuff I read is actually for the 'mature woman' (that is, for women over 40), so happily we're spared the fashion and sex advice.

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