The comic strip PvP made an excellent point about men's magazines versus women's magazines. Both lie to their audiences and sell them on a fantasy lifestyle. The difference is, men's magazines say it's okay to be what you are, enjoying beer, sports, and skirts. Women's magazines, however, beat up their audiences, telling them they will never be pretty enough, bold enough, rich enough, thin enough, or sexy enough. They gain readers by exploiting their insecurities.
(Side note: sex is the worst. If you ever want some laughs, check out Cosmo's sex tips. Some of their suggestions for how to drive a man wild are completely laughable. For example, when hiking, find a rock and pocket it, don't let him see it. Then, when you're getting frisky, take the rock and stick it in his taint. It'll drive him wild. In actuality, it would kill the mood as the guy is wondering why you're trying to shove a rock up his ass. Cosmo's tips are for, as Dave Sim once said, people who haven't had sex, but have heard really good things about it.)
Modern culture has this odd contradiction when it comes to women. They will present things as empowering women when, in actuality, the very opposite is happening. Ever After with Drew Barrymore got a lot of praise for being feminist, but it's still a princess fantasy. Just because a woman is smart it does not make a movie feminist. Disney presents its princesses as having an attitude, but they are still princesses with a staff at their beck and call and no real responsibilities. Women will be shown on TV shows running businesses, but still completely helpless when it comes to a good man.
(Another side note: one thing that pisses me off is that, when a woman is supposedly empowered in movies, she is either referred to by her last name (gender neutral) or her first name is shortened to a masculine-sounding nickname (Samantha becomes Sam, for example). This is the reason I agonize of the names of my characters. Holly, for example, I wanted to have a feminine name, something that couldn't be subjected to this. I always envisioned her as feminine and proud, not acting like she would hide her femininity if she could. For all the talk about treating women as equals, we don't treat them as equals unless we strip away the very things that make them women or unless they behave like men with tits (the King Arthur movie with Kiera Knightley). I don't call that progress.)
Advertising is the worst. Every time someone starts a campaign featuring realistic depictions of women, people start screaming. The Body Shop had a doll named "Ruby" that had realistic proportions. People complained that it was tasteless. Dove did a campaign with normal and plus sized women. Based on the jokes comedians were telling, the big sin seemed to be women who didn't look hot in the commercial. Victoria's Secret has started an ad campaign to tell women to be proud of their bodies, but all the models in it are the stick-thin zombie looking chicks, the ones you don't want to have sex with, you want them to eat a sandwich or something. This is about as effective as Paris Hilton imploring people to spend their money responsibly and act with some dignity. I admit to a bias: my dating history includes a few casual dates with a plus-sized model. She was fun and sweet. And frankly, I like going on a date where she chows down on chili dogs instead of picking at a salad all night. It was one of those, "It's a shame there wasn't more to build on."
Lane Bryant is a plus-sized clothing store. I think they have some very nice fashions in there. The decided to create a commercial. Here it is:
Lane Bryant tried to get the commercials on during Dancing With The Stars on ABC and American Idol on Fox. They both spiked the ad, saying it was inappropriate. This coming from networks that air Victoria's Secret commercials and such. Have you seen some of the costumes on DWTS? How about the borderline softcore porn on Fox shows like Fastlane? Apparently, the breasts were the right size, but the body they were attached to wasn't.
Here's what you need to know -- Marylin Monroe was a size 14. The average size of a Hollywood starlet is a size 8, and some like Jennifer Love Hewitt brag about being a size 0. The sexiest woman in the history of movies would never find work today.