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The other day I was having a lunch discussion with my workladyfriends when the topic turned to women’s magazines. I pointed out that ladymags never have new or useful information in them (not a revolutionary observation, I know). It’s always weight-loss advice like “Eat less and exercise more!” and romance advice like “Give him the best blowjob of his life!”

Is this what we’ve been reduced to? Are these the things we’re interested in nowadays?

First of all, we all know how to lose weight: those of us who don’t lose the weight simply don’t abide by those two simple rules. (Hi, I’m Rampaige and I have no self-control. I could lose weight but I don’t want to put in the work.) Second, in reading a variety of sex articles I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ve done or currently do nearly everything on those little tip sheets they’re always publishing. Which begs the question: Am I a slut or are the women who read ladymags just prudes? I mean, really, do regular women not do basic things like doggie style and morning sex? Is that a thing with some women? Things like that seem to make a regular appearance on many “hot sex tips” lists. I’m legitimately concerned for the sex lives of others.

In addition to weight-loss and sex advice, throw in:

* some useless garbage about how to “have it all and do it all” (hint, you need a nanny and a chef and a personal assistant),

* an article about “[insert garment name] for every shape (between 0 and 12, natch),”

* and a shit-ton of ads with impossibly thin models (but you should love your body the way it is!) hocking products you don’t want or need but will buy anyway,

aaand you have every issue of every ladymag ever.

I don’t know what I expect because magazines like Bitch and Ms. aren’t in checkout lanes at the grocery store providing an alternative to this dreck. Cosmo and Martha Stewart Living and Good Housekeeping tell us how to be what society wants us to be: thin, pretty, domesticated, man-pleasing mommy-wives. Of course, it’s just a pleasant side effect that while we’re busily striving to meet these impossible standards we can’t possibly run companies or hold public offices or start an uprising. No, we’re far too busy trying to whittle our waistlines and perfect our oral sex technique. And while some women cast off those lookist, ageist, sexist, pronatalist shackles and run for office or start a company, even they are subjected to the same criticisms we’re all brought up to fear: not being attractive enough, dressing poorly, being too emotional, being a bitch, etc.

And really, would your average woman choose Ms. over Cosmo? Not likely. Most of us are so deeply entrenched in this bullshit that we opt for Cosmo thinking “Maybe if I just lose those last five pounds and master giving blowjobs, I can be content knowing I’m a good woman.” But contentment never comes. There’s always a new diet, a new tongue technique to make us feel inadequate and give us a reason to buy next month’s issue. (Do I sound like a feminist conspiracy theorist yet?)

We can’t win. We’re either too butch or too femme. Too cold or too sensitive. Too smart or too ditzy. Too homely or too pretty. Too stylish or too plain. Too aggressive or too passive. Too career minded or too family oriented. Too slutty or too prudish.

What the fuck are we supposed to do? I don’t even know. What I do know is I have taken it upon myself to not give a shit about what people think of me. I do what I want. I straddle the line between all of the above dichotomies. I may not be a good woman by everyone else’s standards, but I’m good enough for me.

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