Whenever I think of magazines, I always think of the ones that are lying around my house. Vogue, Page Six, Lucky, and Sports Illustrated. I always thought that magazines were strictly about fashion (with the exception of Sports Illustrated) until I found out about Ms. Magazine. I find it inspirational and encouraging that there are magazines like Ms. that actually deliver vital and significant information to the public. I found myself to be very engaged reading articles about sex trafficking, the status of marriage equality, and reproductive rights.
One article that really caught my attention was “A Serious Crisis Indeed“ by Jake Blumgart in the 40th anniversary issue of Ms. It was an article about a new government rising in Hungary that is very pro-life when it comes to the issue of abortion and is making it increasingly hard to get an abortion.
I find this incredibly shocking that in such a progressive world, countries like Hungary are taking a step backward. Although I find it just as disturbing that many countries in poor parts of the world are anti-choice, I find it even more upsetting that a country in Europe is as well.
What I found especially interesting was that a lot of the anti-choice uprising in Hungary comes from Christian religious groups. Blumgart writes, “Another threat is the possibility that an anti-choice organization perhaps one of the religious groups affiliated with the Christian Democrats, could dispute the legitimacy of Hungary’s current abortion laws under the new constitution. That could result in a total ban. Gabor says that he wouldn’t be shocked if Fidesz simply banned abortion outright, despite popular preference.”
I can see this in the United States as well, because a lot of the anti-choice belief comes primarily from the Christian right in the country, particularly from those in the south who find abortions to be immoral.
I found that I am most interested in the international stories and articles in the magazines, like the global shorts that give small updates on feminist activity in different countries around the world. I think it is important to stay educated on not only the feminist issues within our own country but also in other areas the world as well.
I think it is important that Ms. publishes these kinds of stories because it is adds awareness to issues that many people don’t think are important or prevalent. Ms. provides an outlet for people to read about important feminist topics that are really not covered anywhere else in any other major media source.
However, Ms. Magazine is not the only source that I have seen bring light to feminist issues within America. I recently watched the film Miss Representation, which analyzes the role that mainstream media plays in the representation of women in this country.
I was completely blown away after watching this movie. It made me come to the realization that I was a completely brainwashed American male who really had no idea what the media was doing to the public. Honestly, it really hit me when the film said men and women will willingly watch any genre of movie that is about a male protagonist, however, when there is a movie centered around a female character, the movie is automatically a “chick flick” and will receive interest from only women.
This is so true!
My sister and I loved the new Batman movie that came out this past summer that stars Christian Bale as the hunk superhero protagonist, but when the trailer for No Strings Attached, a romantic comedy starring Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher, came on, I instantly became disinterested and went to the kitchen to get away from the TV while my sister stayed glued to the screen.
Not only does it show a lack of appreciation for females by males, but it also shows what kinds of movies are centered on females. Even when women do have bigger roles in movies than just a single mom looking for a marriage, they are almost always some sort of hyper-sexualized edgy girl in spandex (i.e Black Widow, Cat-Woman).
This says a lot about how limited women’s roles are in the future of our country. Why can’t the covers of popular magazines be like the cover of Summer/Spring 2012 issue of Ms. Magazine that features Sandra Fluke wearing a blazer and confident grin, and not the August 2010 issue of Rolling Stone Magazine that features Katy Perry wearing a bra and a seductive puckered-lips face?
Keep in mind that Rolling Stone is a music magazine that typically features a band wearing their normal clothes on the front cover, but when Katy Perry gets the front cover, forget the clothes. Let’s make her look as sexually appealing as possible, because that’s what is going to attract the readers. If the media was dominated by magazines with the Sandra Fluke photo and not ones similar to that of Katy Perry, then we would see a lot more young girls wanting to appear like Fluke.
If this country does not change the culture of mass media, then we will continue to learn about Paris Hilton’s pants not being zipped up and remain oblivious from hearing about much more important issues like Sandra Fluke advocating on behalf of women’s reproductive rights.