Unrealistic Reality


This past month my Cosmopolitan Magazine was missing. Unknown to me, my sister took the magazine from the kitchen table where my parents leave my mail for the past two weeks to read. Every single day I was checking the mailbox for the magazine anxious as to why I haven’t received the magazine in my mailbox when I paid $12.99/year for my subscription of the magazine. I felt like an addict craving for my monthly dose of reading how to please my man, foods to avoid eating so I can fit into my expensive bathing suit, and of course the beautiful airbrushed models that make me want to get my ass in the gym ASAP. After some thought of how insane I was this past month, I realized the magazine industry is similar to television. It is an unrealistic escape.

These subscription advertisements fall from my magazines daily.

The reason it is an unrealistic escape is because I am not learning anything with value yet I crave it similar to television. The magazines are failing to discuss the issues that matter that I am reading about on CNN. This post I am going to explore more why the real issues are not being talked about.

This weekend some startling news was released stating that 53% of college graduates are unemployed or underemployed. We are not receiving the jobs we are anticipating receiving once we graduate college in a desired industry we spent the last four years studying for and waiting to be able to receive a job. Will my May Glamour magazine explore this new information? NOPE! Why not? It is depressing news that doesn’t appeal to advertisers and magazine editors.  Even interesting is the fact that I want to enter the magazine industry and found a wonderful website ED2010 that explores the salary reports of magazine workers such as editorial assistants, feature writers, and even executive editors. The salaries are depressing for the location of work and the ongoing debate of student loan debt.

Magazines have the opportunity to use their popular media representations to show realistic stories that are affecting their audience members. For example: The 2012 election, student loan debt, the on going war in Afghanistan, teenage pregnancy struggles, and texting and driving. I would remember reading these stories. Every month when I am spending my day reading the magazines I am a subscriber to I am thinking ” I do not remember anything in the last issue.” This is awful! I should be remembering what these $3.99/month media representations are showing me. I do remember the free lotion packet I received though.


Since we began this project I have spent hours searching Youtube videos/magazine articles searching for editors of these magazines discussing why they don’t talk about the real issues. The executive editors of these magazines are frequent guests on program shows such as The Today Show or Good Morning America but only to plug articles, interviews with celebrities, and of course more products like the video below.

Allure Magazine ” Best Beauty Products”   Allure Magazine is the primary magazine to discuss the best beauty products. You can stroll the aisles of CVS or Walgreens and see the stamp of approval on products such as my eye make up remover:

Can you see the stamp of approval by Allure Magazine?



About jchambers12

Jackie is a junior at the University of Mass. Amherst. She is currently working towards her Journalism and Communications degrees. She is minoring in Woman Studies.Her plans for the future are to become a magazine writer for either People, Cosmo, or Vanity Fair. In her spare time Jackie enjoys hanging out with her friends, watching television, and traveling.

3 responses »

  1. Hi Jackie,

    I love that you addressed the issue of magazines lacking real life information that we need to know by starting this blog post off with discussing Cosmo. I personally hate Cosmo, but read it because I think the sex tips and “guy advice” they give is hysterical. But the magazine itself is just a complete waste of ink, in my opinion. It’s supposedly a “women’s bible”, yet it tells us nothing but how to please our men and get in shape to look better for them. It is honestly demeaning and pushing back the women’s movement, despite how “risqué” and “groundbreaking” the magazine itself may think it is. I think you’re completely right in comparing magazines in general to television. We are all interested in certain magazines and avoid others, just as we do with television shows or television channels. If we want the news, we know which magazines to read and stations to watch. If we want to know about fashion, the same goes there. But the problem is that these topics are segregated. Magazines DO have the opportunity to mix genres or topics and give their intended reading audience a deeper knowledge of different issues that they may not know about or should know more information on. Women’s magazines like Cosmo should include information about the presidential election, ESPECIALLY because of how much is happening now with women’s rights to contraceptives and the conservative desire to control women’s bodies. Cosmo should really step up to the plate and be responsible with what information they’re putting out there, as should all magazines. They all have the chance to make a difference to their readers.

  2. You mention that magazines are an “unrealistic escape” something I can definitely relate to. I love how you connect magazines to the issues raised in class by pointing out that we are constantly inundated with issues that don’t matter in magazines. This causes us to forget the issues like large post graduation unemployment. Very interesting post!

  3. I really appreciated your observation that you crave reading magazines in a way similar to watching television. Magazines and television alike regurgitate the same stories and plotlines but package them differently. And despite this uniformity in content, we still continue to engage with these forms of media. They never address topics that are of true concern to their readers and the public at large. Its concerning that 53% of college graduates are unemployed or underemployed. Magazines completely ignore the realities of today’s economy. Cosmo, Glamour, and the other major magazines consumed by women instead tout messages urging readers to buy expensive clothing and indulge in luxuries they clearly cannot afford. I completely agree that magazines have the power and the popularity to vastly strength the GenDebt movement. Unfortunately, addressing controversial topics like the election, student loan debt, wars, and other social problems is not as profitable for these magazines. If we are to change the topics covered by women’s magazines, we must give them a substantial reason to do it.

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