As a general rule, I love magazines and have ever since I first sneaked a peek at my big sister’s copy of Seventeen. My reasons have changed (I don’t need information on menstruation or how to flirt with boys, for example), but the love has remained.
I like to read magazines in between novels, so that I can decompress from one and prepare to get emotionally invested in another.
I like getting a wide variety of information from magazines that I can then further research if it is interesting, or not feel guilty for skipping over if it isn’t.
I like reading parenting magazines for strategies on how to be a better mom, tips for practical problems, recipes, and ideas for arts and crafts (which I am absolutely horrific at doing, but I do have lofty dreams of being that mom).
I like reading gossip magazines for the pretty pictures of pretty people and the salacious gossip, and to see how far they can possibly distance their source from the subject matter (‘the uncle of a friend of the agent of the hairdresser of the trainer of the person they sat next to once in kindergarten’).
But lately, I’m annoyed with magazines.
First, it seems like these days magazines are just pages of advertisements for things you can buy. That trendy fall outfit at under a hundred dollars? It’s under $100 per item, y’all. And no, I won’t be spending $85 on a set of bangles to accessorize it.
But seriously—we are in a recession. People are struggling financially. Why not write articles or put together outfits that really are affordable, instead of pretending that $800 is a reasonable amount to spend on one day’s worth of clothing?
And unfortunately, it’s not just clothes. It seems like every page is full of things that you should buy. And hot new products that you need. Because who doesn’t need a machine that will mix your baby’s formula for you, like a pod coffeemaker does for your coffee?
My second pet peeve is scare articles. This is a time honored magazine article, usually featured in some way, that is put in there to scare you. Whether you should be paranoid about mold in your walls or the perils of letting your family use materials that are not BPA-free, the scare articles just serve to incite paranoia in the hearts of parents, and give hypochondriacs and self-centered people something else to be certain will affect them. I realize that the issues that are brought up in these articles can be potentially life-savings in some instances, and that a lot of times they relate to issues that people might not be aware of otherwise, but the heavy-handedness gets on my nerves.
Another annoyance of mine is fairly specific to parenting magazines or articles. In the same breath (sometimes the same page!) that a magazine reminds you that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that kids under age two have zero screen time (TV, computer, smartphone, etc), and kids older than two have less than two hours a day, the magazine will also tout apps and websites that are great for the toddler set.
How about you play with your kid instead of simultaneously stare at a screen with them? Why don’t you remind me about all of the wonderful things that my kids and I can build with blocks or legos, or how to build forts out of furniture so we can transport ourselves to other worlds using our—gasp!—imaginations?
Instead of a scare article about super-bacteria, why not an article on how the hell squeamish parents can go about catching bugs and worms and roly-polies with their kids? (And PS… I bet that if more people were outside playing in the dirt in their backyards there would be fewer super-bacteria because our immune systems would be stronger.)
So, basically, instead of what I’m reading these days, I want a magazine that gives me strategies to realistically save money instead of tell me what new gadgets I should spend it on, that empowers me to be a better person and parent than tries to scare me about things that are largely out of my control, and that doesn’t try to convince me to try out the latest app for my iThing that will spontaneously turn my child into a genius just by sliding his finger across a screen.