||What Topics Are Important to Women in Magazines and Who Decides?
| Speaking of Women Speech – Monroe, Connecticut 2014
This is a controversial post especially because I am a writer, yet I stand by my statements below. Women deserve better and more intelligent content. Trust us, we can handle it.
The other day, my very sweet, 84-year-old neighbor Madeline gave me a stack of magazines she thought I might enjoy reading. As a divorced Mom of 3 boys, I don’t have a whole lot of time to read but I appreciated the gesture and graciously accepted the magazines. I shuffled through the neatly stacked pile of current, consecutive issues of “Woman’s World Magazine.” Woman’s World Magazine was started in 1988 and is a weekly supermarket magazine aimed at a target audience of middle-class moms. It has held the title of most popular newsstand magazine, and continues to be the best-selling women’s publication with a circulation of 1.5 million readers, generating $15 million in annual revenue. Curiously, I scanned the magazine covers looking for articles of interest, wondering what topics are important to women in 2014. Here are just a few…
REVERSE SKIN AGING WITH PEANUT BUTTER!
MELT 12 LBS WITHOUT DIETING!
FOODS THAT STOP SKIN AGING!
MELT FAT! BURN OFF 6 LBS THIS WEEKEND!
MASSAGE SECRETS THAT MAKE HAIR GROW!
BEAT YOUR “FAT GENE!”
LOOK YOUNGER AND SLIMMER!
MASSAGE AWAY AGING!
LOSE 75 LBS WITH DR OZ!
CURE HAIR LOSS!
LOSE YOUR BELLY! MELT OFF 53 LBS!
ULTRA-SLIMMING DIET SOUP! LOSE 8 LBS A WEEK!
THINNING HAIR SPECIAL!
RELEASE BELLY FAT!
STYLING TRICKS THAT HIDE THINNING HAIR!
DRINK RED WINE AND LOSE 30 LBS! (I think I’ll have to check into that!)
And my favorite….BETTER THAN DIET PILLS! MELT OFF 152 LBS!!! I Googled the average weight of the American woman…160lbs. So, the “BETTER THAN DIET PILLS” diet would basically get you back to your original birth weight of 8 LBS. It’s no wonder there are so many articles about hair loss and thinning hair!
And last, but not least, the insightful article entitled:
“SURPRISE DISCOVERY, EASY FIX: WHY YOU’RE SO TIRED!”
Well, I’m exhausted just reading that!
It saddens me to think that these are the topics, the issues, that encompass being a woman in a “Woman’s World” today.
The local news media paints a different picture of current woman’s issues…
On March 22, 2014, in Bridgeport Connecticut, Tinese Benson was found on her bathroom floor, fatally stabbed by her boyfriend. She leaves behind a young son.
On April 25th, 2014 in Milford Connecticut, 16-year-old Jonathan Law High School student, Maren Sanchez was stabbed to death by a male classmate, just hours before her junior prom.
On May 7th, 2014, Lori Gellatly’s estranged husband entered her parents home in Oxford Connecticut at 5:30AM, armed with a gun. Lori Gellatly was killed and her mother, Merry Jackson, was seriously injured in a double shooting…the day before Lori’s husband’s restraining order hearing.
During a domestic dispute on July 6th, 2014, Kiromy Fontanez was shot and killed by her boyfriend. Her 5-year-old daughter was in the home at the time of the shooting.
On September 8th, 2014, a video surfaces of Baltimore Ravens running back, Ray Rice delivering a crushing blow to Janay Palmer’s face, knocking her out cold.
These are just a few examples of the thousands of heartbreaking, senseless, violent crimes against women in our society. As a survivor of domestic violence, these stories sit with me like a lead weight in my stomach. I find myself carrying them in my thoughts and in my heart the entire day. And I ask myself, “What’s wrong with this world? What’s happening in our society and our schools? What’s changed?”
Maybe the question isn’t what has changed…but how can we change it? Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” I love that! I have even posted it on my Facebook. Click. Share. Maybe you have too. But how do we accomplish changing the world? It seems like a tall order and an insurmountable task. Now, I’m not claiming to know the answer, but I do know, all great change begins with one small step.
After leaving an abusive marriage, 4 years ago, I found my life swirling in turmoil. In the year and a half leading up to my divorce, my abuser sent me over 2,000 text messages, called my place of employment, stalked me and harassed my family. It took me 3 attempts to obtain a restraining order and I quickly filled an entire milk create with forms and court documents. Fearful, stressed and in dire straights financially, I pushed myself to make the phone calls, get to the appointments, fill out the endless paperwork, attend the court dates and find a pro bono attorney. The system that is currently in place to help victims of domestic violence left me feeling like I had another full-time job. Frustrated and depleted from the entire experience, I knew there had to be a better way, that something had to change. The Family Justice Center is the solution to changing a far too complicated system.
By offering services under one roof, The Family Justice Center is a not only going to change lives, it’s going to save lives. Statistically, Family Justice Centers increase victim safety, increase prosecution of offenders, and reduce homicides. It is time to unite our resources, whether it be the police, political officials and or community based advocates to streamline the steps it takes for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault to obtain restraining orders, acquire civil legal services, get counseling, advocacy, education, empowerment, emotional support, shelter, safety, employment planning and child care.
Ironically, all of the articles featured on the covers of Woman’s World magazine are about change…changing your hair, changing your diet, changing your weight. Now, I’m not suggesting that Woman’s World Magazine should feature cover stories about domestic violence, but the fact that they continue to publish and sell a magazine that consists of a variation of the same articles week after week for 26 years, confirms that their avid readers aren’t successfully making the changes this publication boasts of. Maybe we as readers all innately know that superficial changes aren’t the changes that matter, or the changes that Mahatma Gandhi spoke of.
The next time you turn on your television, or car radio and hear, or read in the newspaper or online, yet another horrific story of domestic violence…if you find yourself carrying it like a dark cloud and if you’ve asked yourself the same questions that I have, “What’s wrong with this world? What’s changed?” take a minute to think about how you can “be the change.” Maybe, you’ll talk to your son about how he should treat women, or explain to your daughter that love is respect, or maybe you’ll be inspired to call The Center for Family Justice and volunteer your time, or ask a co-worker how she got that bruise on her face…or maybe, you’ll take that one small step and forgo your morning Starbucks coffee, or latest magazine purchase and make a donation in that amount, to a local domestic violence organization in the name of yet another, Tinese Benson, Maren Sanchez, Lori Gellatly, Merry Jackson, Kiromy Fontanez or Janay Palmer…
And maybe, you will never know the lives your small gesture changed, or the people who you helped….or maybe, you’ll find that a family member, co-worker, friend or neighbor benefited from the best domestic violence services available, like The Family Justice Center, and you’ll be glad you did.