I'm starting to get to a point where I'm getting really angry with Grazia. Not in an I-write-for-the-Vagenda OMG hilaire Grazia is so pathetic LOLZ way, but in a genuinely anxious 'what does this magazine bode for the future of women?' kind of way. It might be because I've just spent the last five hours in a pub in Highbury with my mother, drinking wine and brandy and talking about how AWFUL the patriarchy is, or it might be because this week's Grazia is a MONUMENTAL crock of shit and I have, quite frankly, had enough.
Let's start with the cover, which is quite possibly the most over dramatic example of non-noteworthy sub-editing I've ever seen (and I'm pretty drunk) 'THE FINAL BLOW' it screams, in capitals, as we look at a diptych of Mila Kunis and Demi Moore and wonder why we give a toss. 'Demi: Rumours her wedding was never legal' it yells hysterically, next to 'Mila: To marry Ashton within weeks.' My mum bought this magazine for me, because I am THAT poor, and as we were standing in the newsagent in Stoke Newington, she saw the cover and went 'good heavens'. I had to explain to her that it was probably all made up, and that Demi is probz fine - move along nothing to see here - because otherwise she would probably go home worrying about Demi Moore's mental health. That is just the kind of nice, caring, protective woman than she is.
Unlike Grazia, which is the worst kind of woman. I'm being 100% genuine serious when I say that, if you are a mainstream, well-regarded feminist journalist (and I know you're reading this) and yet you fail to call out this magazine (and others like it) for what it truly is, probably because your friends are on the staff, then shame on you. This magazine is toxic. And that's the problem. Everyone just tolerates Grazia's crapness, because we're afraid that it's run by women who are essentially the same as the bitchy girls who were horrible to us at school. You know, the ones who'd make up nasty rumours about you during French class, and laugh at you in the toilets for not wearing lipgloss. I don't know about you, but I'm a little bit scared of them.
I digress. Now I'll get to the important bit, which is finding out how true those Mila-Ashton rumours are. According to Grazia, Ashton and Mila have been putting on some 'mega-watt displays of affection.' That's pretty serious, you might think, while drunkenly scoffing your spaghetti and scanning the magazine's pages for ammo. What could they have done to make everyone think that they might be exchanging bodily fluids? Did they 69 one another on the roof of Soho house? Did he finger her at the Magnolia Bakery? What kind of New York shaggery can they have been doing to make the gossip columns react so excitedly? WHAT?
'Wearing matching Chicago Bears T-shirts while out and about in the city last Sunday.'
Oh really? You mean the same last Sunday where the Chicago Bears played St Louis in a MATCH?
So it turns out that they weren't wearing 'matching' T-shirts because they love each other at all, but because they support the same sports team. So saying that they are about to get married is like plucking me from a Bruce Springsteen concert along with a 49 year old dude from Barnsley and announcing our impending nuptials based on the fact that we're wearing the same (admittedly awesome) Born to Run T-shirt. Nice work, Columbo.
It's not just stupid, ladybros. It's also uncool. Yep, that's right. Grazia, which this week recommended that you sport a lilac swing coat, tartan shoes, and a violet crocodile skin bag, is not actually on the cutting edge at all. Instead, they operate on the very fringes of cooldom, doomed to ringing up Ashton and Demi's representatives, only for them to have 'failed to respond.' You know why? Because your story is made up. Because you are crap journalists. And because Ashton and Demi's representatives think you are pond scum. Because you ARE pond scum (that really pale green, sludgy kind.) Soz.
You probably think that me calling Grazia journalistis pond scum is pretty harsh, so the rest of this article will be an attempt to persuade you why this festering turd of a magazine is undoubtedly one of the worst influences women have had to endure this decade. Firstly, the fact that they have actually commissioned a journalist to write a piece about their own breakup (which they have conveniently mirrored to Demi Moore's own experience- totes the same thing, yah), that is so devoid of humour or self-awareness that it makes me wish that my boyfriend's brother had never bothered to put new sealant between our bath and the wall, as his kindness now means that there is no mould for me to eat, and die as a result of eating, meaning that I'll just have to continue reading Grazia instead. Except now we have 'clinical psychologist' Dr Cecila saying that Ashton's implusive decision to marry Mila (something which probably will never happen because Grazia all they seem to have ever done is support the same sports team) is actually a 'classic case of 'boomerang boy.' Hear that? Medical students? That well known syndrome that can be found in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, just after 'Bipolar'. Boomerang Boy.
Which happens to be another reason why Grazia is so darn uncool - they take things too seriously. Were they to have a tongue in cheek, Celebrity Watch/Lost in Showbiz spin on things, they'd probably become the most hilarious, bestselling women's weekly out there. Instead, they opt for a grave, po-faced, faux concerned literary voice, have overblown sub-headings such as 'WHY RIHANNA WHY?' and actually hire a clinical psychologist to speculate on the nature of a relationship between two people who they've never even met? Losers.
You might think that this batty behaviour is, while a tad unsophis, not really anything to get het up about. It's just Grazia, yeah? Thing is, I genuinely think its warped worldview probably damages women far more than the shitty weeklies 'Heat' 'Real' and 'Closer', because people KNOW that they're trash. Grazia tries to give off the impression that it's written by intelligent, middle-class women with degrees and stuff (aka non-plebs). It's a bit like how the Telegraph pretends to be a proper newspaper by cloaking its evil bigotry in ambiguous language. Grazia achieves this impression by including one or two serious newsworthy stories a month, and sandwiching them between facile gossip and fashion tips. In other words, it's dishonest. It has airs and graces. At least Real and Closer wear their bad attitudes on their sleeves, while smoking a fag outside the offy. Grazia is the Hyacinth Bouquet of magazines.
For example, this week's Chart of Lust includes standard middle-aged perv-receptecle Harry Styles, along with the words 'he's become even more attractive after treating himself to a £3m 'party palace' in London's Primrose Hill.' A sentence which makes me spontaneously vomit all over the page. Then we have Isabel Mohan drivelling on in 'I'd rather date a funny man than a fit man', about how 'everyone's left reeling' by Charlize Theron dating a slightly overweight man (really Isabel? EVERYONE??!) It's crap though, says Isabel, because she'd always pick personality over looks (although obviously her boyfriend has both, fnar fnar). Of course, that's not to say that a £3m house in Primrose Hill wouldn't seal the deal for any Grazia girl worth her salt.
The unmitigated shallowness continues with a feature on Kelly Osborne's £160,000 manicure. Now, in my slightly drunken state, this article actually makes me rather sad. I have always really liked Kelly Osborne. She just seemed kind of cool and scrappy and like she didn't just follow the crowd. Now I think she's a twat, mainly because she's wearing nail polish which contains 267 carats of crushed black diamonds. That's right, folks. Diamonds. Those things people die over, every day. I very much doubt that they were ethically sourced, meaning that Kelly's gross purple dress might as well be made from the stitched together skins of dead children. 'Please forgive me for not regretting it', said Kelly, 'it made me feel like a queen. Nor did I pay for it.'
No, I won't forgive you Kelly. You have sunk so low in my estimations that there's no way back. I stayed with you even after 'Papa, Don't Preach,' but now you have lost me. Forever.
The rest of the magazine is a predictable slurry heap of real life stories, celebrity gossip and fashion offal. On page 52 we have Sali Hughes' 600 word humblebrag 'Yes, it's better to be plain than pretty' (or at least it is when you're as talented and as funny as I am and have a column in the Guardian) It's a shameful article to have been written by a woman, writing off as it does any beautiful woman as too wrapped up in their own looks to ever become women of substance. It encourages divisiveness and competition between women, alongside implying that we should be spending a hefty chunk of our time thinking about our looks. Caitlin Moran's sexism test comes in useful here. Are the men worrying about this? No? Well perhaps we shouldn't either. The worst thing about this piece is that it's accompanied by pictures of Sali as a child, apparently looking 'plain' but in actual fact just looking like...a child. A happy, slighly goofy (as all children are), freckly kid. Please Sali, don't be mean to your young self. It genuinely makes me a little sad, because children aren't supposed to be beautiful, or alluring, or (as the Mail would have it) borderline sexy. They're just meant to be children.
And, on that note, I must leave Grazia for another week. I'm feeling a little bummed out, a little wobbly, and a whole lot of annoyed. There's a feature on page 122 about how you should use prescription medication to improve the quality of your skin, but I can't muster the energy to read it. I think Grazia might be starting to wear me down, because when I look at their guide on how to dress like a Parisian, I'm actually quite interested. If any of you have some prescription medication that might help with that then do please give me a shout. x