Recently I've started thinking about the media I take in based on the revelation by Karen of Chookooloonks that she follows a "curated media diet." At the same time, to be original and to maintain an authentic voice, I strive to consume media different from other lifestyle bloggers. Yet I'm finding I don't like the amount of filtering and censoring I'm having to do with some magazines.
One magazine that I decided to give a chance after being offered a Klout Perk was The Red Bulletin Magazine. I was initially skeptical, thinking it would be a magazine solely of interest to "bros." Each month I decided to keep an open mind and for the most part have been pleasantly surprised and found inspiration to pursue one's passions and to carve new paths. However, the consistent objectification of females has me deciding not to renew my subscription.
Review: The Red Bulletin Magazine
The Good: I discovered Ian Ruhter, an artist who created a camera out of a moving truck. I learned about females tackling sports previously dominated by men, such as 20-year old Sasha DiGuilian, a rising star in climbing. And I saw Parkour as a way of life, not just a fad sport: "Getting over obstacles, mastering challenges and taming fears makes parkour a school of life which to the rest of us looks like a really cool thing to do."
The Bad: But while positive role models were found in the magazine, I had to guard against the objectification of women. Not just in advertisements, but in editorial content as well.
Why is this bad? "Individuals create a personalized reality that is reflective of what they observe and identify as meaningful in their environment, and then they act based on those observations. Therefore, if women are observing images thrust at them through mass communication as a guideline of how to act, they will begin to act in that manner because it mirrors their environment. If men are constantly viewing women as objects that must be possessed, or prizes to be won, they will begin treating them as so. (Bandura, Albert. 1999. “Social cognitive theory: An agentic perspective.” Asian Journal of Social Psychology. 2:21-41. as paraphrased in Berberick, Stephanie Nicholl. 2010. "The Objectification of Women in Mass Media: Female Self-Image in Misogynist Culture. (pdf)" The New York Sociologist. 5.)"
Over the course of a year long subscription, I noticed that women under the age of 21 appeared fully clothed and in context of their sport or their talent. Women over the age of 21 were more often than not scantily clad regardless of profession. The least clad male was a sport diver (contextually accurate). Male singers appeared fully clothed in all of their photographs while female singers appeared clothed and in lingerie.
Maybe with my undergraduate work in Communication I'm sensitized to the portrayal of women in the media. Whatever the reason, and whether or not links between these images and individual behavior have been proven, I don't feel comfortable exposing these images to Gates.
Magazines I Let My Toddler Flip Through
Unlike Red Bulletin, I subscribe to a handful of magazines that I have no qualms about Gates flipping through. Most of these magazines and journals are ones that flood bloggers' social media streams each month or quarter when they're published.
- 3191 Miles Apart (a quarterly magazine chronicling the everyday moments of two women each living in Portland, one in Oregon and one in Maine)
- 8 Faces (a quarterly journal no longer in publication profiling eight type designers)
- Anthology Magazine (a quarterly magazine exploring a different theme each issue)
- Uppercase Magazine (a quarterly magazine profiling up-and-coming artists or exploring emerging trends in design and creativity)
Credits: All layouts designed by and images taken by Eden Hensley Silverstein for The Road to the Good Life.
Disclosure: I received a one year subscription to Red Bulletin Magazine as a Klout Perk. I am not being compensated to write about the magazine I received. All opinions presented are my own.