Glamour April 2013, The Woman on the Page

What strikes me as most interesting about the April issue of Glamour is the cover. Typically, the women–and they are almost always women–are not posed as overtly sexy. The cover girl of this issue is Kate Hudson, and she’s topless, covering her breasts with one arm. She’s staring directly at the viewer, not pouting or flirting, and I don’t think that Hudson is really supposed to look sexy, so much as she’s meant to look good. Her stomach is flat and her breasts are firm, and the caption next to Hudson reads, “Damn, Kate, you look good!” It is interesting, however, that she’s topless, since it doesn’t seem characteristic of women’s magazines. I often pick up Glamour, and it’s certainly not characteristic of the magazine to feature topless women, since it’s marketed toward straight women. The magazine reveals that Kate “loved showing off her body without [a tank top], so–poof! Gone.” So it was Hudson’s confidence in her own body that made her go topless, rather than an appeal to male sexuality.

I’ve come to expect what the ads will be like, so I won’t discuss them, since they’re just like the ads in all the other magazines I’ve looked at so far. There are some men in the editorial and directorial staff, but, as I have come to expect, there are more women.

There are features on fashion dos and don’ts, an article on Miss America and accepting others’ differences, a feature on shoes, features on fashion trends, how to flatter your body type, hair and beauty–pretty much what you would expect. There’s also a section on how 45% of men are breast men, for reasons including “guys always want what they can’t get,” because they’re “lady parts! They’re mysterious and covered up,” and because “boobs remind you of being an infant.” It’s one of the more absurd sections of Glamour. Personally, I just find women’s bodies beautiful, and it’s amusing to me that these guys tried to find some reasoning beyond that.

Another amusing section is entitled “How to turn any man into a total vagenius.” It’s a section on how to perform cunnilingus–I think, but the section never dares to say the word. It’s fairly ridiculous that a section on how to get a man to perform oral sex can’t even mention the words cunnilingus, vulva, clitoris, or anything specific. This is a magazine for adult women who may not even know that much about their bodies. It’s not vulgar to mention women’s genitals, especially in a feature that’s about oral sex on a woman.

There is one article that I find interesting in Glamour. It’s about celebrity women and their female friends, including Dr. Hawa Abdi (who is one of Somalia’s first female gynecologists), Jody Williams (a peace and women’s rights activist), and Dr. Jane Aronson (who helps orphans around the world). It’s another example of small features in women’s magazines that catch me by surprise because of the way that they celebrate women’s achievements and activism. It’s a welcome surprise, one that I always hope to find in each magazine I look at. I just wish that this were more of a focus of women’s magazines. I do like fashion, but it would be refreshing if women’s magazines were more committed to honoring women’s work.


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