Et tu, Marie Claire?

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Yes, yes–I know that a lot of Feministing readers don’t expect much from women’s magazines. But I’m an optimist. And lately it seems as if magazines like ELLE, Glamour and Marie Claire have stepped it up; they’re covering hard news issues, talking about feminism, and supporting great women’s organizations.
So I was more than a little disappointed when I looked at this month’s Marie Claire only to find a bevy of squirm-inducing stories. Check them out after the jump.


In this month’s “Fashion Road Test,” where the mag sends women out looking ridiculous and sees if people notice (past issues have included women with mascara all over her face or with fucked up hair). What silly fashion choice did this month include? Oh, a bathing suit for Muslim women. Now, I know that the burkini got some coverage (good and bad), but is it seriously fucking necessary to equate Muslim women’s garb with a freakshow and being an alien? Come on.
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Then I run across this–an article about the daughter of the dude who invented purity balls. The perfect opportunity to tear shit up. Instead we get no political analysis whatsoever.
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And to top things off:
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And then I cry.

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26 Comments

  1. nausicaa
    Posted June 28, 2007 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    Here’s a link to the full text of that article on RU-486: http://www.marieclaire.com/life/sex/advice/abortion-pill
    On the one hand, I have no problem with advocating that women be aware of all the possible side-effects of medication they take. On the other hand, I wish the article hadn’t been so sensationalistic (the headline & photograph moreso than the text itself). It should also have made some mention about the crucial role medical abortion takes now that it’s so hard to keep a surgical abortion clinic afloat. It might have also been good to counterbalance the story with an account of an early-term surgical abortion.
    And what’s really sad is that the author appears to have been pretty ignorant in general about reproductive health. Despite the fact that she wanted to have a baby soon with the man she got pregnant with, she aborted because she had been using coke in the first weeks of pregnancy. She seemed to have assumed that she was going to have a totally retarded crack baby, which is not necessarily true at all. (See all the reports on how reports of a crack-baby epidemic were greatly exaggerated.)
    And for that matter, it’s no secret that medical abortions can be very painful and traumatic, moreso than surgical abortions. If she’d done the most minimal googling before going to her doctor, she’d have found that out and would have no cause for being surprised by the outcome.

  2. carolina girl
    Posted June 28, 2007 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    You know, I’ve thought about subscribing to Marie Claire on more than one occasion, this issue has really changed my mind.

  3. Posted June 28, 2007 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    Do you know what? I absolutely fucking hate Marie Claire. It is the biggest pile of shite I have ever come across, and working as I do in fashion, I have come across a lot.
    Now, I am in ther UK, and have only ever read one US magazine once because I bought it by accident. But I do get the fashion mags for work, Vogue, Harpers, Elle, Looks, all of that. I love fashion and beauty and I follow it. Plus obviously Vogue and Harpers aren’t just fashion, there’s a wee bit more.
    But Marie Claire? Will not waste my money on it – it’s trying to be something it blatently isn’t, what’s it’s tag? ‘For women of style and substance’. It’s as bad as cosmo for thinking it’s a feminist fashion mag, whereas, as you’ve indeed shown, it comprises little more of badly written misinformed bilge.
    And it’s fashion is crap and misleading too!

  4. Antahkarana
    Posted June 28, 2007 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    That burqini spread is just plain mean (and face it, racist). Freakshow? Alien collisions? Fucking awful. It reminds me of grade school when people would wear giant saree-like togas to school and say they were being “the Hindoo” for Halloween. Thanks for taking a cultural innovation that’s brought joy to many women and warping it into some kind of embarrassing plague to the fashion world, Marie Claire.

  5. MD
    Posted June 28, 2007 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    First of all, I can’t believe they got away with comparing women in burqas to aliens. Yikes.
    Secondly, the woman who wrote the RU486 article–did it ever even occur to her to write an article about why people shouldn’t do COCAINE and not a last-resort abortion drug??

  6. Posted June 28, 2007 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    How did the dentist’s office feel about you stealing their mags like that?

  7. plenilune
    Posted June 28, 2007 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    i gave up on women’s fashion (is that redundant?) magazines many, many years ago.
    in a sex quiz in cosmo i came across one question that asked how many sexual partners should you admit to having should your boyfriend ask you. i got it wrong because according to cosmo (the magazine that always has cleavage on its cover and sex tips and techniques in every issue) you only admit to 1-5 partners, regardless of how many you’ve had.
    not only were they advocating dishonesty in your relationship, but they were encouraging you to do so to assuage your man’s ego: the “answer” went on to inform you that men are uncomfortable with a woman who’s had “a lot” of sexual partners because she may be comparing him to past lovers. blech.
    i decided to boycott cosmo and their ilk from that day forward and i’m proud to say that i’ve never spent a cent on one since. although i am guilty of flipping through a friend’s copy or a waiting room copy to check out the fashion pictures.

  8. plenilune
    Posted June 28, 2007 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    i gave up on women’s fashion (is that redundant?) magazines many, many years ago.
    in a sex quiz in cosmo i came across one question that asked how many sexual partners should you admit to having should your boyfriend ask you. i got it wrong because according to cosmo (the magazine that always has cleavage on its cover and sex tips and techniques in every issue) you only admit to 1-5 partners, regardless of how many you’ve had.
    not only were they advocating dishonesty in your relationship, but they were encouraging you to do so to assuage your man’s ego: the “answer” went on to inform you that men are uncomfortable with a woman who’s had “a lot” of sexual partners because she may be comparing him to past lovers. blech.
    i decided to boycott cosmo and their ilk from that day forward and i’m proud to say that i’ve never spent a cent on one since. although i am guilty of flipping through a friend’s copy or a waiting room copy to check out the fashion pictures.

  9. fatmammycat
    Posted June 28, 2007 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    Marie Claire is a rag, and the burkini thing is in poor taste, but it’s not racist. Woomen who wear burkas come from many walks of life and many nationalities, they are not a singular race.

  10. Rock Star
    Posted June 28, 2007 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    While I know nothing about Marie Claire, it really bugs me when people will say that Glamour is trashy…If you say that you’ve obviously never picked up the magazine. Every year they have the Women of the Year issue which features strong women making a difference, they feature college girls making a difference, right now Marianne Pearl is traveling around the world and interviewing women who are making strides in women and children’s rights worldwide, they address politics and health…in addition to having fashion and make up advice. How is that trashy?
    That said, the burkini spread is ridiculous, and I’m on even sure I want to read the link on purity balls because I might want to kill somebody.

  11. Human Bean
    Posted June 28, 2007 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    I actually thought the ‘burkini’ was rather stylish and more innovative than the so-called fashions the magazine recommends buying. It’s a great color, way more flattering than bikinis are to most people, would protect the whole body really well against sun damage, and if you actually went swimming in that much cloth you’d get a hella workout.

  12. Posted June 28, 2007 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    I am glad you posted on this issue. The burkini business was dreadful.
    However, I really enjoyed the article on the purity ball nonsense.
    While the writer didn’t write a scathing review of the purity scene, she brings up some excellent points and gets to know the woman of the piece without alienating her. Yet she clearly points out how bizarre and unhealthy she finds the whole idea. And talks about what this does to the relationship of the ‘chaste’ couple. I found it an interesting read.

  13. Antahkarana
    Posted June 28, 2007 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    “Marie Claire is a rag, and the burkini thing is in poor taste, but it’s not racist. Woomen who wear burkas come from many walks of life and many nationalities, they are not a singular race.”
    True, I’m running out of -isms. Whatever feeling I got from looking at the words “freakshow” and “alien” just left me feeling utterly disgusted.

  14. dhsredhead
    Posted June 28, 2007 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    This is horrible. I’m putting my hand over my mouth in shock right now.
    I thought the article on the abortion pill was interesting, but alot of it just doesn’t add up. Any doctor would have told her that her cocaine use was not a reason to be concerned about her pregnancy or her fetus. If anything, alcohol is a thousand times more damaging. Secondly, I didn’t understand why she didn’t make any comments on her boyfriend’s reaction to her deciding to abort. Maybe she didn’t consider his reaction important, but it seemed odd to me that she didn’t include that. Also, she described thinking that the pill would be an easy, she could just sit on her couch as she had an abortion. Did she even think about what the abortion pill is? A medical miscarriage created by the use of very strong hormones. Miscarriages are extremely painful. As far as the bacteria infections she mentioned, she didn’t also mention that now doctors give women who take the abortion pill a prescription for antibiotics to prevent such infections. This just seems like another way of the media trying to discourage women from having abortions, even if that wasn’t the author’s intention.

  15. TheSoyMilkConspiracy
    Posted June 28, 2007 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    Marie Claire lost me a long time ago when they had, like, a 10 page article on certain African cultures’ still continuing legacy of vagina shame and the dangerous and downright awful measures women were forced to take to appear “clean.” This involved making your vagina as dry as possible during sex (“wet” women were seen as loose), which obviously made sex totally painful and dangerous for women.
    The article was great, but I swear to God, the next page had one of the most offensive ads for scented tampons that I’ve ever seen (literally one of those “are men disgusted by your terrible, nasty, can-smell-it-across-the-room, period-y vagina?” ads). So yeah, fuck you MC.

  16. KTRComix
    Posted June 28, 2007 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    About “Fashion’s Road Test”: sending a woman out looking ridiculous to Venice Beach is like sending a man in a suit to Wall Street. NOBODY notices.

  17. Sayna
    Posted June 28, 2007 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    You know what I find funny about the Burkini? In that picture, it’s really no less revealing than a bikini or any other item of clothing that Muslims/Christians obsessed with modesty would be upset about. It really doesn’t matter what you wear, somebody will always exist who considers it inappropriate.

  18. goddes5
    Posted June 28, 2007 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    Additionally, she states that she went for the medical abortion option because her experience with a surgical abortion wasn’t good. She specifically talks about the numbing of the cervix being painful.
    I work for an abortion provider, and we offer abortions in the OR of our local hospital using general anesthesia. I’m able to get that covered for most of our patients with insurance.
    I wish more women knew this option was available.

  19. annejumps
    Posted June 28, 2007 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    I’ve actually been pretty impressed with Glamour. It doesn’t sound like I’ll be picking up Marie Clare anytime soon, though.

  20. Posted June 28, 2007 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    The burkini spread was ridiculous and there’s no excuse for it.
    The article on the abortion pill, honestly, I didn’t think was that bad. The photo and title were definitely sensational, and the article wasn’t great. But at the same time, I think that a lot of women believe the abortion pill IS a lot easier than the surgical option . . . I did. She specifically states that she is pro-choice, she doesn’t support outlawing the drug or removing it as an option– just that better education is needed, which I agree with. Again, it definitely wasn’t a GOOD or particularly well-researched article, but I also don’t think it’s quite as bad as some of you are making it out to be.

  21. Liza
    Posted June 28, 2007 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    In case the purity pledge wasn’t weird enough, I was looking at an acquaintance’s wedding pictures online recently, and there were shots of her giving her purity ring to her father after he gave her away. If that wasn’t enough, the father then gave the ring to the girl’s fiance so that in the future he could pass it on to their daughter. Seriously, I think I threw up in my mouth a little. I prefer to think of my vagina as my own, thank you.

  22. katiedivina
    Posted June 28, 2007 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

    I read the virgin bride one while in a bookstore today. It was crazy–the woman spouting brainwashed phrases like “one finds true freedom by living within boundaries” and so on. There were innumerable opportunities for analysis and critique in the interviews the author had with those people–but she didn’t do it. It ended with a little “to each her own” bit–weak and irresponsible considering that the young woman in the article has never made an independent decision in her life. Perhaps the author thought that the story was crazy enough that it didn’t need analysis?

  23. yesbut
    Posted June 29, 2007 at 12:27 am | Permalink

    That’s disgusting.
    The only fashion mag I can stomach anymore is Jane magazine. Almost guilt-free!

  24. Niobe
    Posted June 29, 2007 at 1:22 am | Permalink

    “I’ve actually been pretty impressed with Glamour.”
    I’ve been in hate with elegance. It very much plays into that whole unquestioning semi-spiritual will try any alternative “natural” therapy thing out there. And then I wonder why there aren’t that many scepchicks out there.

  25. Posted June 29, 2007 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    You know, I try really hard to blog about well-rounded things but then everything turns into a rant because they’re so much crap out there like this.
    What were they thinking??

  26. Slytherin
    Posted July 3, 2007 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    The burkini in particular didn’t raise any bell for me, since where I live alien only means alien, not ilegal foreigner.
    And, the burkini looks a lot like those spacesuits from old SF, hence the aliens make sense. I mean, a Star Trek convention would be considered freak fashion, or so I think.

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