Saturday, June 07, 2008

In praise of the happy medium

I was given a different perspective of my hatred of the vaccuous "Sex and the City" lifestyle on Friday while in a doctor's waiting room. Four women wearing burkas entered the waiting room and sat down together, in silence. After about 10 minutes, one of them (I assume the youngest of the group), picked up a magazine and started reading it. It was one of those usual women's magazines you get in doctor's waiting rooms - designed for 30-something woman who care about clothes and makeup and diets and all that stuff.

Anyway, the other women suddenly got very agitated. "What are you looking at?" one of them demanded? "Is that a magazine?" another one said. "No, it's not a magazine," said the poor girl, a bit lamely, as it clearly was a magazine. "It's just a...." she couldn't finish the sentence. "Put it down, magazines are a SIN!" barked one of her questioners. Despite her protests, they manually removed the magazine from her hands and put it to one side.

The girl gave a kind of resigned "Hummmph!" and said "I'm so bored!" And that was the end of it.

But meanwhile.... over in the corner. I was doing my breathing exercises so as not to.... I don't know what... but it would probably have involved swearing and an ASBO and possibly my name in the local newspapers.

While I think magazines are stupid devices, simply aimed at getting people to feel crap about themselves so they go out and buy stuff which won't make much difference, I do think that people should have the choice about whether or not they get to read them. In my ideal world, nobody would read or buy magazines like that and they'd all go out of business or be forced to change.

But to stop some girl from reading them - and calling them a sin - well, it's a tad over the top. And all it'll do is make magazines and the looks-obsessed, self-involved, trivial sort of lifestyle they evoke more attractive to her.

Isn't there a happy medium? Does it have to be Carrie Bradshaw or the Oppressed Muslim Girl in the Burka on a Hot June Day?

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