Social commentary

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...

Magazines We Hate

Esquire’s annual “Women We Love” feature gives with one hand and takes away with the other. Hidden behind the premise of honoring them, the article puts women firmly in their place by using the traditional patriarchal tool of male approval—rewarding certain traits in the female while disparaging others.

Bitch Male Objectification Rave of the Month: John Travolta

Article by Andi Zeisler, appeared in issue Premiere; published in 1995; filed under Social commentary; tagged disco, grease, John Travolta, objectification, sex objects, sexualizing.

We here at Bitch are in thorough approval of the post-Pulp Fiction Travolta renaissance that has awarded our favorite 1980s cinematic cheese-king some new credibility. Back in our prepubescent days, we wished we could be Olivia Newton-John in Grease, J.T.’s disco-dancing partner in Saturday Night Fever, and Debra Winger in the god-awful Urban Cowboy. Do you have to ask why?

Bait and Switch Sassy

Article by Lisa Jervis, appeared in issue Premiere; published in 1995; filed under Social commentary; tagged gender roles, magazines, media, misogyny, sassy, sexuality, stereotypes, teens.

Back in March a horrible thing happened. After a few months of checking the newsstands for my beloved Sassy, wondering what the hell was up and why I couldn’t find it anywhere, suddenly there it was—mutilated almost beyond recognition. Peterson Publishing (they also own Guns & Ammo) bought Sassy, replaced the entire staff, and gutted the editorial philosophy—and the new staff is trying to pretend that it’s the same magazine it always was.

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