Why I have stopped buying 'women's' magazines

​This year I made a decision to stop buying any magazine that’s purpose is to shame women and I feel so much happier for doing it. Here’s why…

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Perhaps this is an odd first post to write for the website of a 'women's' magazine but bear with me.

Now and then I fall into the temptation of picking up one the magazines at the till of the supermarket, you know the type, displayed like peacocks, the adult woman version of all the sweeties calling out to kids. Every time I did, I ended up either feeling rubbish about myself or pissed off at the world we live in. I would flick through this dross and seethe at the three little pigs debate on women, this celebrity is too fat, this celebrity is too thin, this celebrity is jusssssssst right.

Look at these ‘shocking’ bodies they scream, let’s join together and shame these women, for how dare they go out in public with any sight of wobbly flesh, a rounded stomach or stretch marks. Lose weight you disgusting creatures. But hang on, don’t lose too much weight, because look over here at these women, they must be anorexic or on drugs!! Look at this vile bitch whose ribs we can see…

body image and womens magazines

Why was I buying these things? I honestly can’t answer that; perhaps it was habit or boredom. I can tell you I just don’t enjoy reading this shit. I don’t care how big a Kardashian’s arse is, I don’t want to see that Madonna is too thin or Chantelle is too fat. Seeing these women, big or small just made me feel angry. It didn’t make me feel good about myself seeing someone bigger than me though it did at times make me feel shit to see a thin celeb being mocked for gaining a few pounds. When they are publicly mocking a woman for being fat and she weighs 2 stone less than you it does make to question how society sees you.

These magazines are not interesting, they’re not journalism and they aren’t even amusing. They are shite and ladies; we need to stop buying into this crap. Since stopping buying any magazine that’s purpose is to shame women I can honestly say I feel miles better and I have more money in my pocket!

When I look at the magazines my husband buys, there are no images of a celebrity male with a step-by-step crucifixion of their looks, National Geographic doesn’t fat shame scientists or tell us that Obama has lost/gained a stone. I know there are magazines such as Men's Fitness that feature toned and muscly men but that is more about health and exercise, it isn’t about how big Brad Pitt’s arse is.

So why do women feel the need to buy magazines that demean and shame other women. I’d like to think that most of us don’t judge our peers by the size of the bodies so why do we enjoy seeing celebrities judged so harshly? Is it car crash media? Or something more?

I can’t answer that question but what I can say is that buying magazines like Now and Heat does NOTHING good for your self esteem, ask yourself, do you really want to be funding the ridiculous judgement of celebrities, do you want to be part of a society that treats people so poorly and pushes an unrealistic and unattainable perfect body image. Do you want your daughters, nieces and the young women in your life to be surrounded by images and harsh words, cementing the idea that if you aren’t perfect, you are fair game to me mocked and bullied?

I don't. And so I took a stand, it's only a tiny stand but if we all stopped buying into this crap then perhaps the editors of these magazines will take a look at themselves… Magazines circulation is dropping year on year, the rise of the internet and smart phones mean that most people can get the celeb gossip fixes at the touch of a button. So think about your hard earned cash next time your hand wanders thoughtlessly over to the shame section in the newsagents. What could you be reading in that time that would actually teach you something or just make you feel good?

I didn’t want to bring that sort of message into my home where my kids could see it, especially my 11-year old daughter. Id never tell her that Susie is so fat that she should NEVER wear a bikini, or that Jane is so skinny, she is definitely starving herself and seeing her bony ribs makes me sick. I wouldn’t allow people around her to negatively affect her self esteem by telling her that unless she weighs the exact right weight, has the perfect sized tits and an arse that can’t be too small or too big that she is not good enough. So why would I allow these magazines to be around her?

I found Psychologies magazine last year and fell in love, it has women's lifestyle articles, fashion, home, work, family etc but there is no celeb shaming, no telling you how to lose 300lb in 20 minutes by juicing your own shoes or any such crap. It has really interesting and fun pieces that make you feel good. Fancy that!

I get the desire for celeb gossip, I really do. I don’t know WHY I want to know what Angelina and Brad’s home looks like but now and then I do. I'm not sure why I care if Richard and Judy fell out but occasionally I like that knowledge. My (VERY) guilty pleasure is the occasional glance down the Daily Mail website seeing who fell out with who and which celeb got drunk at which party.

But seriously put down the crap mag that’s sole purpose is to bully, mock and shame other women. Make a stand and think about your fellow woman.

I talk about self esteem a lot these days because of my illness, surgeries and recovery and it is because facing surgery, scars and having to wear an ileostomy bag 24 hours a day makes to reassess how you look at your body. I could have gone the other way and felt saddened or ashamed of my body, but instead I just gained a massive respect for it. My body confidence is higher than it has ever been! I am so proud of my strong body, the battering it has taken, my scars are like battle wounds, they are a huge part of me and I love them. I have learnt to accept it, and I have used it as a tool to teach other women that no matter what we go through, we are strong and we are beautiful.

Beauty comes in so many different packages, my package has extra bits, it's a bit crumpled and torn but it is so filled with joy, happiness, fun, kindness and laughter that it is JUST as beautiful as anyone else’s.

The message in these mags is if you aren’t perfect then it is perfectly acceptable to mock you. This isn’t true; it isn’t how life is and reading that shit made me feel bad. Reading that shit when I was an impressionable teenager may have had a really terrible affect on me and so I will protect my daughter from it for as long as possible, life isn’t about Mean Girls judging one another, its about love and kindness, fun and laughter, experience and being brave enough to love yourself and pave your own way, being proud of the person you are, not your dress size, and knowing that true beauty is so far away from the measurement of your waist.

And that, dear reader is why I have stopped buying ‘women’s’ magazines.

Love Sam x

Sam Cleasby

Self Esteem and Confidence Expert, Blogger, Writer and Public Speaker, So Bad Ass

My name is Sam Cleasby and I run the blog So Bad Ass, I'm a health activist, writer and public speaker. I write about women's issues, from parenting to self esteem, body confidence, work and life. Living with chronic illness, my life with Ulcerative Colitis spurred me to begin my blog (www.sobadass.me) where I journal my illness, surgeries and recovery. Having an ostomy and now an internal j pouch inspired me to share my passion for loving yourself with others. I write for several publications and do public speaking, events and workshops, bringing confidence, joy and a bad ass spirit to women all over the UK.


Go to the profile of Suzy Walker
over 7 years ago
I'm so glad you are blogging for us! Thank you for your blog. x
Go to the profile of Barbara Hodges
over 4 years ago
Go to the profile of Barbara Hodges
over 4 years ago

Excellent article - I'm sick of being preached at by women's magazines.  Who do they think they are, telling me what I 'must' and 'must not' wear, what I should & shouldn't do, which friends to keep, how to behave with boyfriends etc etc.  Believe it or not, I'm an adult as well as a woman & I have my own ideas about these types of thing! They have become like an irritating parent/narrow-minded older sister harping on at me - and expecting me to like it!! There is so much wrong with most of them.  Don't even get me started on the celeb-worship.  I realise these people are 'normal' & have somehow managed to avoid the collective delusion our media appear to suffer from that they're better than me because everyone knows who they are.  I want a magazine that expands my horizons and interests, not one that's irritating, judgementa and sycophantic about all the wrong thingsl.