Grazia's gone all feminist, yo. I genuinely don't know what to make of this. I mean, it's good for you guys, and like, the world, but it might put us out of business. They've got Laurie Penny talking about what 'having it all' means. Yeah. Then again, we all know what having it all means, and that's what the advert NEXT TO the having it all piece says, which is having 'a good hair day, every day.'
I most definitely don't have it all. I cut my own fringe the other day. AGAIN. When will I ever fucking learn that doing that inevitably makes me look like Richard III? I'm like a cat that faceplants into a reflection of itself every hour on the hour, never realising that the mirror does not constitute a door to magic happy land in which a new best cat friend awaits it, but is actually a solid surface capable of delivering intense cranium pain.
Where was I? Oh yeah. Well, if I'm a mentally subnormal cat then so is Grazia. This week they take shots at both Demi and Jen. 'Is Jen's Baby Dream Over?' screams the cover, implying that she's barren, or some such, when actually all she did was say in an interview that she's not sure kids are always the road to happiness, ta very much. You know how you always have one friend who reads into everything way too much and inevitably gives you shitty advice as a result? So you're like, showing her a text message from the dude you're shagging which says 'will you please stop calling me full stop no kiss' and she's all, 'he's probably just scared of how much he loves you.' Please. Well, that friend is Grazia.
Incidentally, while we're on the topic: no man is scared by how much he loves you. This is another one of those myths peddled by women's mags. I actually saw an advice column in Cosmo in which the agony aunt told a woman who'd had a one night stand with a guy who had left while she was asleep that he was probably just scared by all the FEELINGS he was having. FFS. He doesn't want to bang you again. Move on.
So, Jen doesn't want a baby, and Grazia fancies Abby Crouch, who, despite not being anywhere else, is in this week's Chart of Lust. 'Who got stuck on a roller coaster! Thirty feet in the air at Alton Towers! But who is still hot, so that's ok.' Grazia is full of sentences like this, where you read them and you're like, what does that EVEN MEAN? Are we speaking the same language at all? It's accompanied by a picture of Abby looking so emaciated that you want to pick her up and take her for a Little Chef Full English pronto. Her life was possibly in danger but hey, she's still a size four or whatever, so no biggie.
Then in 'This Week's Conversation' we have 'Is it ever OK to joke about rape?' a good two weeks after everyone else stopped talking about this. Writer Anna Hart writes a column which features so many lines of argument that it's the equivalent of a toddler standing on the dinner table during a family row and going 'can mummy and daddy just stop fighting?' She concludes that, no, rape jokes shouldn't be banned because it takes someone crossing the line to mark out our personal boundaries. Of course, no one cares what she thinks because everyone else has already read this, by Lindy West.
Then Beauty writer Sali Hughes wades into the debate and says 'I do find it mildly patronising that any crime can be used for satire except a crime against women.' Which quite frankly, baffles me. Things comedians with any sense avoid talking about include many, many horrific crimes, not always perpetrated against women. I don't see Michael Macintyre cracking jokes about the murder of Steven Lawrence during Live at the Apollo, but maybe that bit was on just after Russell Howard, the Manic Pixie Dreamboy of comedians, and consequently I switched off. Either way, pretty much everything Sali Hughes says in and out of print bugs me.
Anyway, who cares? Because BUSTLES ARE BACK! Marc Jacobs (whom I love, possibly more than any man, ever) has been inspired by the Edwardian Street Style photography of Edward Linley Sambourne for his new collection. Basically, we have just been given free licence to dress like Suffragettes all the time. Be still my beating heart.
Next up we have 'Why it takes six men to find the one'. Writer Jessica Massa says that 'every woman has a gaggle of men who will help her find TBP (the boyfriend prospect.)' So, not only do you need a man, but you also now need SIX other men to help you find the man that you need in the first place, something which, in my mind, constitutes a massive win for the patriarchy.
Shit like this really fucks me off, because every week there seems to be a new book being promoed about 'how to find the one'. Do you know how you find the one? You put the self-help books down and GO OUTSIDE.
On page 39 you will note that Grazia has also taken to picking on teenagers. Miley Cyrus is 19 and seems to be cutting herself. 'it's very sad', says a source, who obviously doesn't find it too sad to talk to the harpies at Grazia about. It's when articles like this crop up that you realise that, no matter how many token feminist gestures a magazine might make, those gestures are essentially worthless when said magazine also spends its time treating young women like laboratory specimens. Polly Vernon can argue for equal pay all she wants, and Suzanne Moore and Laurie Penny can contribute, and they can get a political columnist to talk about all the big important stuff that women are now allowed to care about, but while they're still stalking troubled young women, we don't want to know. In fact, the whole attitude of the magazine is encapsulated by an article called: 'We're Facebook Stalkers, so what?' 'we need to stop our collective obsessive behaviour', says Grazia, thus implicating YOU in the crime, when actually, you probably spend very little time stalking your ex boyfriend on Facebook, instead favouring fun stuff like bike rides and meals with chorizo in them. But as long as the team at Grazia believe that we want to be a part of this sick celebrity panopticon, then they'll carry on printing this shit.
It does sadden me that intelligent women with thoughtful opinions are endorsing this magazine in its current state. Perhaps they think they can change it from the inside, or perhaps they don't even care. If you manage to get a double page spread on FGM into Grazia, does it matter if it's next to an advert for Veet with the tagline 'what beauty feels like'? How much of a feminist can you really be when you're seemingly happy to become a part of a system that focuses so heavily on shaming women? And why does Grazia still want me to wear Espadrilles?
I don't know the answers to these questions, but, like the 'friend' of Miley Cyrus who felt it was OK to talk to the press about her cutting herself, I'm feeling 'very sad'. I'm going to go and crawl into a hole now.
UPDATE: We had a little debate on Twitter, and Laurie has come out and said that she DIDN'T write for Grazia, but was interviewed for a feature. So although it LOOKED like she wrote it, and had a byline photo etc. she didn't. However, it did lead to a rather lengthy debate on what constitutes compromise for journalists/whether it's better to have SOME feminism in a mainstream magazines rather than none. You can let us know what you think in the comments.