Social commentary

Humor in the Heartland

Article by Betti Bernardi, appeared in issue Fighting Back; published in 1999; filed under Social commentary; tagged conditioning, humor, internalized sexism, rural, small-town america.
Tales of a small-town feminist

Imagine the jolt to my feminist sensibilities when I arrived, ready to serve, at the local Taste of the County dinner event and was presented with a plastic apron that had housewife emblazoned under my name. Shame heaped upon humiliation when I noticed—slack-jawed—that a potted plant, needle and thread, and recipe box (!) illustrated the damnable word. I, if the truth had been sought, have no visible gardening skills, find no personal satisfaction at the sewing machine, and sprint from any connection to the culinary arts.

Editors' Letter: Fighting Back

Article by Lisa Jervis, appeared in issue Fighting Back; published in 1998; filed under Social commentary; tagged bachelorette party, strippers.

So there we were, ten hooting and hollering women clutching stacks of dollar bills. Well, nine hollerers (you didn’t think I’d call my friends “hooters,” did you?) and one thoughtful, if drunk, young lady. We were at my bachelorette party, and one of the revelers was suffering from a crisis of conscience. “What are your career aspirations?” she asked our friendly tattooed, hardbodied, and completely clean-shaven stripper. “What do you really want to do?” He ignored her question and stuck his g-string-clad package closer to her face.

My Cups Runneth Over

Article by Erin M. Pipes, Illustrated by Isabel Samaras, appeared in issue Fighting Back; published in 1998; filed under Social commentary; tagged body image, breasts, health.

I didn’t start out in the world a hard-ass, I swear. I was the nice girl, Little Mary Sunshine—turning the other cheek and searching for the good in all people. But you know what finally pushed me over the edge? I’ll sum it up for you in one word: breasts. More specifically, my‑breasts. I am a woman with large breasts—an intelligent woman, horror of horrors. (I mean, brains and‑breasts?

Hail Harper's

Article by Erin Keating, appeared in issue Issue #2; published in 1996; filed under Social commentary; tagged beauty standards, body image, fashion, fashion models, Harper's, magazines.
An Ode

My arm fell asleep, I got so engrossed. This issue of Harper’s Bazaar is about as big as a bible—and just as full of prophecy.

I fall in love with the models, their blackened eyes and plaster pigment, all pinched and compressed into vinyl and leather, looking hot hot hot and totally unfazed. They are the visions of me that I will never see.

Of Kegels, Kotex, and Kate Moss

A Look at February's Women's Glossies


Irony of the month: While the Editor’s Letter says, “Shut up and eat,” and bemoans the fact that women are always “self-surveilling” their caloric intake, the mag gives information about: “Aromatrim” products (you smell them and they make you eat less); a new diet pill; “liposhaving” (you can guess what that is).

Sassy Responds

Article by Lisa Jervis, appeared in issue Issue #2; published in 1996; filed under Social commentary; tagged magazines, mainstream, media, media critique, misogyny, sassy, stereotypes, teens.
Not to Us, Of Course...

but to other perceptive and right-on readers who are as upset as we are about the changes. And guess what?
The editors are defensive as hell.

Mad As A Wet Hen #2

"So now you can eat like one of the boys, but still look like one of the girls," says the male voice-over touting Baked Lays potato chips while supermodels stuff their faces on screen... Oh, boys, did you know—Twix bars are the new way to get rid of those pesky, materialistic, shallow, shopping-obsessed females in your life... Eating is a masculine activity, part two: Wendy's Big Eaters ads. Chunky men eat while the announcer talks about how big the meals are... On Caroline in the City, four men discuss post-break-up ettiquette. Dell, Caroline's ex-boyfriend, is pissed because she has a date with another man... Eating is a masculine activity, part three: On Wings, Helen and Joe are babysitting for a little girl. Joe offers her ice cream...

Whee! #2

Here's to Roseanne's succinct feminist history lesson... Seventeen is actually giving good advice these days. Question: "I masturbate often. Am I normal?" Answer: "Completely normal... 3rd Rock from the Sun may be a wholly silly show that underuses the comic talents of Jane Curtin and overuses the familiar aliens-on-earth premise... We never thought we'd see a classic of masturbation literature on national tv...

Editors' Letter: Premiere

Article by Lisa Jervis, appeared in issue Premiere; published in 1995; filed under Social commentary; tagged body image, conditioning, confrontation, female sexuality, magazines, media, sexuality.

This magazine is about speaking up.

I’ve always been a media junkie. Magazines, movies, television—I love them all and tend to consume them voraciously. But indiscriminate media consumption, maybe more than any other binge, can make you sick.

Mad As A Wet Hen #1

How about that new Taco Bell ad featuring 11-year-old boys on the beach ogling a shapely lifeguard... Guess what? According to Cosmopolitan you'll never get a date without duct tape and a "No Trespassing" sign... When Camille Paglia addresses the defunct pedophilic Calvin Klein ads in the October 31 issue of The Advocate, she implies that pedophilia is somehow an essential part of gay life... Sometimes we feel like we hallucinated this one, because we only saw it once-and because it was so horrifying... We're all for home exercise equipment, but why do the ads always have to be so fucking smug?... Now we have Nike telling us that the revolution will not be televised. On tele-vision...
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