Tag Archives: elle

Whoops! Elle Actually Does Care What I Have to Say

There is some back story to this post, it all started with one of my first posts on this blog. I wrote about a letter I sent to the editors at Elle about how pissed-off I was about a piece of advice given by their resident advice-giver, E-jean. You can check out the original post and the letter I wrote to the editor here. You can also check out the angry rant I wrote after I received the July issue of Elle, and not only had my letter failed to be included, but there were zero negative, or even lukewarm, letters printed at all. As you can tell by that post I was pretty annoyed at Elle and fed-up with magazines in general. So when I received my August issue, I tossed it on the coffee table without glancing at it, and there it sat—until yesterday.

I had a lazy Sunday, I was blown out from attending Meatfest the day before, it’s an annual BBQ and ode to succulent, fattening, tasty meat held by my sister and her boyfriend. I ate a “bacon explosion” which consists of bacon, sausage, and cheese, all rolled-up, covered in spices, and smoked until delicious. I ate lamb chili, and tried hard to forget I was eating baby sheep because it was so damn amazing. I ate a lot, and for the occasion I made cornbread covered in bacon, and I ate some of that too.

Anyway, I overindulged, and I spent the next day recovering. My day involved a few accidental naps, some aspirational internet shopping, and a lot of in-depth vegging. It seemed a good time to finally put a dent in the accumulation of magazines on my coffee table. I grabbed the August Elle, and after reading the same old crap about Drew Barrymore and some boring stuff about home hair color, I flipped to the “letter to the editor”, or “mail bonding” as they call it, page to see if they had any less-than-positive readers this month. A negative letter caught my eye, and I spotted the name “E.Jean” and thought “Alright! At least someone got to have their thoughts about this lady put in print”. As I continued reading the letter sounded strangely familiar, and I almost fell off the couch when my sluggish meat-infused mind put it all together and I saw my name in print. I squealed, and then I thought “whoopsie! Maybe I should have held off on my little rant”.

Here it is, highlighted in pink, click the image to view it larger.

I can’t say that I’m not a bit embarrassed, but I’m really glad they printed my letter, so thanks Elle! That being said, I stand by most of my rant, but I may not cancel my subscription just yet because I’m still a total sucker for pages like this:

Pretty isn’t it? A good makeup collage can mend all wrongs (well not really, but it doesn’t hurt). Makeup is the only thing in the pages of Elle that I can even remotely afford anyway, so I have to hold on to something. I’m super psyched that Elle published my letter, and I hope that if enough people continue to speak their minds, I’ll actually be able to relate to some of the stuff they publish. For the moment I can say that I enjoy looking at the cosmetics pages, and maybe one day Elle will catch-on that most of the women who read their magazine would like fewer items that are “Priced upon request” and more that are available at say Forever 21 or Macy’s.

As for Ms. E. Jean, I still think it’s about time for her to retire, and if Elle needs a new advice columnist—well, I’m currently available.

12 Comments

Filed under acceptance

Elle Doesn’t Care What We Have to Say

This post might come off as an angry rant, so let me preemptively apologize, it happens every once and a while, I promise happier posts about makeup and fun later in the week!

One of my first posts on this blog was about a letter I wrote in to Elle magazine about horrid advice given by their resident terrible advice giver, E. Jean in the June issue. So when I received my July Elle in the mail on Saturday I immediately flipped open to the “mail bonding” section as they call it, and was dissapointed that, duh, my letter wasn’t published. I knew that already since they didn’t contact me or anything, but I had really expected them to at least publish a letter from someone about the E. Jean advice mishap since Jezebel did a post on it too, and in the comments section dozens of women mentioned that they had written in letters as well.

What is even more interesting is that of the 5 letters to the editor that are published, each one is filled with glowing praise and thanks for creating such a wonderful magazine. You would think that Elle received absolutely no negative comments from any of their readers last month.

Most magazines will publish at least one or two negative or opinionated letters each month, that’s sort of the whole point of the section isn’t it? I mean as I write this blog I don’t expect to only receive comments like “Justine you’re so fabulous, everything you write is just gold and baby hedgehogs and sunshine, you’re perfect!” as lovely as that would be, I want to open up a discussion, and not everybody has the same opinions on things, that’s what makes life interesting. You would think Elle would be interested in what their readers have to say too, and not just the ones who adore them.

Out of the five letters to the editor, two start with “thank you” one starts with “I absolutely love” another with “I’m deeply moved” and the last ends with “keep up the good work!” You see? All women just love Elle. I’m sure the magazine had some notable or even moving articles last month (though I can’t say I felt that way about any of them), but they also published some incredibly offensive advice that was called out by the largest women’s blog on the internet, and they don’t mention a thing. To me, this is a clear message that I, and the readers of Jezebel too, are not who Elle is marketing towards anymore—were they ever? I thought so.

Anyway, SUBSCRIPTION CANCELLED.

In a time when print publications are dropping like flies, you would think some of these lady-mags would start listening to their readers. I think Glamour has actually made it pretty clear that they do care, even if the changes are slow in coming, they’re at least making a visible effort. Elle used to be my favorite magazine, but now it is trying way too hard to be Vogue, and I’ve never been a big fan of Vogue, I can always feel Anna Wintour staring out from the pages mocking me, judging me, and now I feel that way about Anne Slowey when I read Elle, and nobody wants that, it’s not a pleasing sensation.

I think a lot of the disregard comes from this idea that keeps pouring out of magazine editors mouths about “women liking aspirational images” and it really pisses me off, because if that were true, then fashion mags would be doing better, and body acceptance blogs wouldn’t be nearly as popular. I would much rather be in a place where I am accepted than in a place where I am purposely made to feel inadequate, wouldn’t you?

I know, I know, I should stop reading magazines, but I can’t help it, I still like them. They were a part of my youth, (I still have a box of Seventeens in my closet, which I credit for introducing me to graphic design as silly as that may sound, it makes me sad that Seventeen has made a stiff decline over the past 10 years too) I like stuffing one in my beach bag, I like buying them at Penn Station when I’m waiting an hour because I missed my train, and as much as I like reading blogs and online magazines, there is just something nice about having a physical thing you can hold in your hand and take with you anywhere (can you tell I don’t have a smart phone?).

One of the most depressing parts for me about the bullshit often found in these publications is that they’re mostly run by women. Taking a look on the credits page of Elle, it’s great to see that more than three-quarters of the staff are female, how many other industries is that true for? From vice presidents to assistants, it’s wonderful to see women in such a variety of roles, but it drives the point home that we’re doing this to each other. We can’t blame men, or society, or even the publishers that own these magazines because it’s not like they’re selling well and then being told to do the same thing to keep the profits up. It seems like it would be a perfect time to make some changes.

With all the blame that is thrown around about who is responsible for the severely underweight, depressed, abused models in the fashion industry, you would think that a little sensitivity and acceptance might be a good way to start things moving in a healthier direction. Even if, as they claim, the magazines have their hands forced by the designers, they’re still responsible, because when you see injustice done and you stand by and do nothing, you’re also to blame.

So I can’t help but believe they want to keep things this way, but unlike the art world where it is in the interest of dealers to maintain a wealthy elite group whom they can convince into spending heaps of cash on whatever artist they deem worthy, the fashion magazines are marketing to the public, so being exclusive only keeps people from buying their product, which doesn’t seem beneficial.

I don’t think I’m unique in that I’m a woman who likes makeup, shopping, beauty advice, and fashion, but I don’t look like a fashion model and I never will, and I’m OK with that, so stop making me feel bad about it. I get upset when I hear women rail against other women for liking fashion and beauty and vice-versa, I don’t think to be intelligent you have to denounce other things that make you happy. We are complex creatures, we can like cosmetics and politics, and history and nail polish, or whatever we want, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. So that’s why I can’t help but have hope for fashions magazines, because they have the potential to speak to all kinds of women, unfortunately that isn’t their goal. I know I’m a walking contradiction, but aren’t most of us? Are there women out there who feel completely represented by Elle?  Who knows, all I can say is that I am not one of them, but I hope that maybe one day i will be.

11 Comments

Filed under acceptance

Letter to the editor

Let me first say that I have an undeniable attraction to fashion magazines. I have tried to quit many times, but they always pull me back in. I have subscriptions to several, and end up buying the rest for 20% off at Costco each month.  As much as I can’t resist the glossy, colorful pages, I am constantly getting myself all worked up over something printed within. I know I shouldn’t  read them, but it doesn’t seem fair that something that could be fun and empowering so often turns out to be ridiculous and condescending. I could go on about this for a long time, but let me stop myself. The point of this is that for the first time I actually decided to write a letter to the editor about my frustration. I haven’t sent anything to a magazine since I was rejected by Highlights when I was eight years old, but I felt it was time. So for once instead of annoying my fiance or my sister with my rants, I sent it to someone who actually has some responsibility for what is published.

I wrote to Elle magazine about a piece of advice given in their section “ask E. Jean” in which people write into ask for sage advice from the ever so sensitive E. Jean. I have long disliked this entire section of Elle, and Ms. Jean herself. I don’t know her credentials, but in my opinion she is just awful at giving advice. Jezebel had a post about this earlier in the week, so I hope that means they got a lot of strongly worded letters about this. Here is the article in question (you have to click on the image to read it, and I apologize for my crooked scans):

So yeah, not only is it totally OK that your boss is using your physical appearance to prevent you from achieving your goals, but it’s all your fault, and your doctors all think you’re ugly and gross too, as does E. Jean, and Elle magazine. I’d also like to point out that this appeared in Elle’s ‘body issue’ which is supposed to be all about embracing and celebrating different body types.

Here is my letter:

I am writing to you because I am appalled by the advice given by E. Jean on page 172 of your June issue. I am amazed that Elle magazine would allow Ms. Jean to publish advice which alludes to the fact that work place discrimination is both acceptable, and the fault of the victim. Would this ever have been printed had the woman who wrote in for advice been speaking of discrimination based on race or sex? To act as though changing ones weight is as simple as changing one’s hair color, without taking in to account genetic factors, medical issues, and this woman’s past history with possible eating disorders, is simply irresponsible and ignorant. Your magazine should know better. As for the suggestion to read Crystal Renn’s memoir in which she discusses the difficulties she faced (including near death) in order to please others including her employers, well that is just a slap in the face to both Renn and the recipient of this ill attempt at advice. I hope the victim of this discrimination has supportive friends and family members who will give her advice without the clearly biased, and fat-phobic agenda that Elle magazine seems to promote. Shame on you and Ms. Jean.

Thanks for your time,

Justine

It felt good to send, and certainly better than sitting around getting angry. Will it make a difference? Probably not, but it can’t hurt either. I’m sick of magazines making me feel poor, fat, ugly, and unsuccessful.  I really don’t believe that they can’t do better, or that it helps them sell more magazines. If I have to read one more article about how women like to see aspirational images I am just going to scream, and Elle will hear it loud and clear. I hope you’ll join me!

8 Comments

Filed under acceptance