Thursday, February 28, 2008

Magazine Jones

My husband and I are not particularly religious people but we do
observe the Lent...sorta. I mean, we don't do it in the tradition sense, with the fasting and prayer, but we do try to give up one or more of our vices for a month and focus on more "enriching" activities. In the past the we've given up (or tried really hard to give up) drinking wine, eating red meat and eating out. Not exactly worthy of a twelve step program but you get the drift.

Anyway, I was thinking about this when I came across a phenomenal post by Afrobella this morning called Black Woman, Know That You Are Beautiful. This quote in particular really got me thinking:

I say, don’t waste your time buying Vogue or any of the so-called fashion bibles that hardly ever use models of color in their spreads. Support the publications that do...

Now, I've mentioned in the past that I am a magazine junkie. In addition to my subscriptions, I buy at least three more magazines each week. I can't even add up the ones that I thumb through at the checkout stand. It's become a serious habit. After running after my toddler all day there is nothing I enjoy more than brewing a cup of tea and sitting back with the colorful mental bubblegum of a fashion magazine. This of course, is not complication free. Finding a magazine that at least throws a token to the non-White consumers is a rare feat, especially now that Black History Month is over.

I've thought about giving up the glossy crack before and have even let a few subscriptions lapse but I often wonder if I'm disciplined enough to go cold turkey. What would I do with my hands? Would my wrist and flipping finger get flabby? Would by skin wrinkle without articles about the new "it" cream? Would I start wearing sweat pants to the market? Most importantly, what would I complain about?

As we move into Spring, I find myself thinking more about the choices I make with money and the things I support inadvertently by saying one thing and buying another. Does all this mean that I'll give up buying fashion magazines? Probably not but I know that looking at them with an even more critical eye and saving my dollars for issues that speak to my own interests and looking to new media sources to fill the void let by these old guard publications.

This all brings me to the March issue of US Vogue. There's nothing spectacular about the image of Drew Barrymore on the cover but there is something to be said for the contents. In addition to a spread of Liya Kebede shot by Norman Jean Roy (images to be posted soon,) there is also a brief article on the marriage of Studio Museum of Harlem curator Thelma Golden and designer Duro Olowu, a piece by Andre Leon Talley comparing Michelle Obama to Camelot era Jackie O., a profile on my new favorite Keisha Whitaker and Zoe Kravitz, and a lengthy article on CNN newswoman Gwen Ifills. For whatever reason, none of these features was deemed worthy enough to be mentioned on the cover but the issue itself is worth look at for those near a newsstand with idle hands.


Brown Girl Gumbo said...

I am a magazine addict too so I feel your pain!! Thanks for the heads-up about what seems like a great issue of Vogue...Michelle Obama, Liya, Keisha Whitaker...I'm shocked that there are so many brown faces in there. I'll have to check it out!

I really like your blog! Thanks for stopping by mine. :-)

Kwana said...

Hi Bridgette, Thanks for visiting my blog today and your comment. Giving up the mags is a really hard thing. I've been a Vogue reader since I was 12 and don't think I've missed a month even when I tried. Of course you'd think by know the whole black models in the media thing would be over, but no.
Who knows maybe having a Black president will change all that. Suddenly a new image of the American family could come out of this.

That said. I've given up Diet Coke for lent. I'd rather that then the mags. Besides, you're a smart women I don't think it's tainted you brain at all:) It's probely made you much more aware of the world.

Man, this was a long comment. Sorry:)

Ondo Lady said...

Wow, all that colour in US Vogue? Anna Wintour must have hsd a serious injection of soul in her Manolas. I will certainly be checking that out. Like you I am also a mag junkie, I like many magazines but I am still yet to find that one publication that makes me go ummm.

Camille Acey said...

Thanks for the tip Ms. Brigitte. There is no where nearby for me to get my hands on American fashion magazines so I can't on you to show me what I'm missing! Thanks for this.

Brigitte said...

Oh my, when we were still living in Luxembourg, I was a hoarder of English language magazine. I must have spend at least a couple hundred dollars a month on them.

I had a friend who special ordered People Magazine from Amsterdam just to get a weekly fix of fluff.

magazine lover said...

I have the same dilemma. But just like everyone else, I can't just afford to lose some of my regilar subscriptions.

Just the beginning of this year, i decided to trim down those that I think were wasting my money.. but I just can't give up all..

girl6_nyc said...

What if you already support publications that use black models? I dont buy Vogue for the models, in fact I barely pay attention to the models. Fashion mags, for me, are all about the clothes, the designers, the up & coming trends, etc.

Also If I were to no longer buy Vogue wouldnt that mean Im not support on of the most influential black editors at large for the magazine....Andre Leon Talley.

I don't mean to turn this all into a political debate (and im rambling at bit, so sorry for that) but it makes me upset that there are people who assume that if you read those mags that you dont appreciate your own natural beauty. Fashion isnt about the models for me, its all about the clothes.

also I really like your blog, im a long time lurker.

aulelia said...

great post. i love the your phrase ''glossy crack'' -- fantastic. i agree as another magazine addict, i really need to stop.