Hurting women to make a buck

Have you walked into a magazine stand lately? Apart from the right-wing lingo of the conglomerates that own and distribute the magazines,…

Have you walked into a magazine stand lately?

Apart from the right-wing lingo of the conglomerates that own and distribute the magazines, they’ve developed an increasingly chilling agenda towards women. Every year it just keeps getting worse.

How bizarre to live in a culture where women are so demeaned and abused in our public places. Not even the worst sexist forms of jihad are so nasty about women.

What do women think of magazine covers that declare: Your Orgasm Face; What He’s Thinking When He Sees It. Intimidating? Personal? Threatening?


But you can cure this, I suppose, with Total Body Sex, where you can Flatten your Belly in Two Weeks, or learn 8 Slim Down Tricks Women Swear By. Then you have to decide which wins: Sexy Versus Skanky.

How do women survive this constant assault?

The faces of those tucked, nipped and photographed beauties at a magazine stand in a ferry terminal made me glance at the faces of the women surrounding me, many pockmarked with the symptoms of sugar, fat, and salt added to the normal changes of puberty. But these were women and men beyond puberty. They’re all eating the poison, and washing it down with stress.

It’s not their fault. What’s a woman to do when faced with millions of dollars of research and swaggering fashionistas enriching themselves by making women feel bad. This has all been documented in books like The Beauty Myth, and Fast Food Nation, which explain our addiction to impossible beauty standards and fat — two opposing monsters inflated by the kings of commerce.

What’s amazing is that this junk is avidly consumed even while Canada undergoes its greatest constitutional crisis in history, where the kids stood up to the local bully and demanded the rights they earned from Canada at the polling booth, and our prime minister abuses Quebec people’s ability to vote like the Quebecois they are (ah, sigh, only in Quebec!)

After seeing the abuse heaped on their elected members by Harper, it’s easy to understand why they vote for the Bloc Quebecois.

No wonder the women of our nation have bailed out and are reading articles about the latest Vitamin C Detox diet! The world faces cholera epidemics and terrorism, while unfortunate Canadian women count their almonds in bizarrely brutal diets presented by smiling, anorexic, photoshopped models.

We are worms in the soil of industries that crush us daily with their manipulation of the human condition and atavistic desires. This is regarded as good business practice. The reduction of human beings to the nuts and bolts of widget sales.

Hate yourself, hate your body. Buy something. It will make you feel better.

The experts know everything. A new study involving the sniffing of T-shirts (oh cripes, can you imagine!) illustrated women can recognize the DNA of a man with the right genes for breeding. However, the birth control pill masquerades the natural sniffing ability of a woman, leading her to possibly pick a man with the wrong genetics.

They might be good husbands, but they don’t necessarily have the genes a woman’s sense of smell tells her she needs, which leads women to go outside the relationship for the fathers of their children.

How bizarre. Even more bizarre is the realization that commercial industries are already calculating ways to take advantage of this chemically induced confusion.

Sales crews and advertising engineers — those our sick media praises so enthusiastically as entrepreneurs — have invented and fomented needs we never imagined in 5,000 years of written history. Before me is a Women’s World magazine whose early pages inform me what is Better Than Botox! Normal people couldn’t imagine much worse than botox, but let’s ignore that for a moment. This article with glossy, big-teethed photos of a woman whose skin looks alarmingly plastic, is extolling Breakthrough Fixes For A Huge Pimple, Leathery Sun-Damaged Skin, Thin Lips, Saggy Skin and Forehead Lines, etc.…gaw, I feel ugly already and I am not even a woman.

But this magazine doesn’t fool around in abusing women. It has a vicious agenda. Its best shot is its super Vitamin C Detox Diet that allows women to include eight, count-em, eight almonds at lunch. And a variation suggests a tablespoon of sunflower seeds for a snack. Go for it.

At least that diet recommends real lemons rather than pills.

Recent surveys have shown alarming toxins in some vitamin pills and supplements. Many ingredients are harvested in China whose regulatory system has become a synonym for danger and illegal poisons. Yet modern dieters tend to forget nutritious vegetables, while taking useless food supplements and dangerous pills. Watch that fat melt away, but don’t worry about kidney disease or cancer?

Europeans are shocked at our cult of denial. A cult that has led to the tubbies of the world lining up for their fat and sugar and salt at the fast-food restaurants of the continent, while counting the almonds in between.

Almonds? How do we arrive at magazine articles that count almonds? One almond is good. Two is even good. You will be beautiful. Men will love you.

Do women believe this? I’m afraid they do. Otherwise these instruments for advertising wouldn’t exist. Take three. Take four. You are in control of your destiny. Real women can eat five almonds.

What kind of world are we living in? Have another almond. Seven might be dangerous. Eight. If you are really good and not skanky and your orgasm face pleases the guy on top of you, you can eat that almond.

What kind of bizarre world is this where counting almonds is regarded as healthy?

Why does our culture encourage so many women to flock to their destruction, like cattle in a feedlot, dumbly lining up to have their throats slit with beauty tips?

Brian Brett, poet, journalist, novelist, lives on Salt Spring Island and returns to the Yukon whenever he can. His most recent book of poetry and prose is Uproar’s Your Only Music.