A magazine rant

Image courtesy magazineart.com

The last few days, having been sick, I've looked the few magazines that have been hiding in my magazine basket. You know—ladies' magazines, the ones with recipes and cleaning tips and stuff like that.

Last year I got a $5 subscription to a magazine that I thought looked harmless—I'm careful about that after having had to cancel a (free) subscription a few years back that was too edgy for me.

The design of this new magazine is beautiful, and each issue has a few good ideas, but more than 90% of it is stuff I don't care about. There are the ads, of course, but there are also pages and pages and pages of product recommendations. Buy this! It costs a lot, but it's worth it! Look at this great coat, a steal at $400! How about this $2300 rug for the family room—in silk! Your kid can be as cute as our models if you spend $250 per outfit too! And don't forget the $90 magic cream that will solve all your skin problems.

I never realized until the past few years how full of unofficial advertising magazines are. Why do we need all this stuff? No wonder every other month the feature article is all about decluttering and simplifying.

No one is going to write a magazine article about my family, or come photograph our house. Our carpet is stained, my baby girl wears her big brother's hand-me-downs, and I don't wear makeup. I don't throw away all my spices every six months and buy new ones. My garage isn't painted yellow and organized with pegboards. Not that there's anything wrong with people who have clean carpet, fashionably dressed children, wear makeup, or are organized. It's just not me.

You can call me lazy, cheap, simple, boring. It just seems to me that nothing I do has much in common with what I see in ladies' magazines. I'm not a super-busy working mom, I don't spend all day driving my kids to soccer, and I don't care about the latest beach reads.

So this is where I list the magazines I actually read and enjoy:
Not that I won't keep an open mind toward new magazines. It's just that all the ladies' magazines that I've read since I was married have failed to inspire me.

I do realize, however, that I'm not the norm. I'd love to hear what others have to say on the subject. What magazines do you read? What do you think about ladies' magazines these days?


  1. I find that all of the "housewifey" magazines are the exact. same. thing. printed over and over in a different order: "Walk off the weight", "Slow Cooker Suppers", "Lose 10 lbs. by Summer", "Find the best Jeans for Your Body", and "Dinners under $10"

  2. You read one more magazine then I do. I just don't read them. They are a total waste of my time. And like lk said they just repeat the same thing over and over. If you're going to read a magazine read a good one. I also like the Ensign!

  3. I love to read through Martha Stewart Living and Real Simple. It's more for the eye candy or inspiration than anything. I do wear makeup and dress up for work, I need fast dinners, and my house is the biggest pig-sty ever! But I love to look at the beautiful decorating tips, crafts, and meal ideas. Sometimes I find something I can use, or it inspires me to make a similar meal, or make something look a little prettier at home.

  4. I stopped reading most magazines many years ago for most of the reasons you have shared.
    I do still read The Ensign, American Heritage, The Smithsonian and some genealogy magazines. Occasionally, when we are traveling or something like that I will buy a Country Home type themed magazine.

  5. I agree, but do like Family Fun. They have some great kid-friendly ideas and I can usually find a subscription online for about $4/year, so well worth it.

  6. I hardly ever read magazines and never ever give them much thought. I do sometimes get a laugh at some of the super strange recipes they put in the cooking magazines. My mom and I were recently reading recipe names aloud to each other and having a great laugh. Don't be so hard on yourself...

  7. Oh my gosh,I completely agree!

    I have subscriptions to Good Housekeeping and Better Homes and Gardens because they were gifts from well meaning friends. These magazines drive me crazy if I don't remember to aproach them the correct way (for pretty pictures for the "idea file" and nothing more).

    These magazines about homemaking all seem to be about things to *buy* instead of tings to *do*. I wish I could find some good homemaking magazines.

  8. I can really relate, Mrs. Mordecai. I believe that most of the magazines exist simply to sell you something. They want you to be dissatisfied with what you have, are or do so that you'll want what they are offering. We subscribe to Backwoods Home and Farm Show. Backwoods Home is full of down-to-earth ideas for doing things for yourself and my DH likes Farm Show for all the ideas on how to make new things out of old things. We don't really fit the norm either. You are not alone. :) I don't wear makeup; our house is a home, not a showplace; we wear clothes that are functional, not fashionable... and we are happier and more satisfied than most everyone we know. Just be yourself - who else is better qualified?

  9. I LOVE magazines, and we have just a few magazines in our home:
    Ensign/New Era/Friend
    Sunset (read this growing up and will not renew)
    Bicycle Times(quarterly)
    Family Fun (got a $3.50 one year subscription-will not renew)

    I used to subscribe to women's magazines but soon found they had recipes I will not eat, crafts I am too busy to make, clothing I cannot justify, household items and remodels I want but don't need and won't budget for, plants to put in gardens I won't weed, and hints on finding my spiritual side when I found it long ago.

    I do miss the product reviews in Real Simple, though :)

  10. I am also down to the Ensign...I do however check out Country living for decor ideas and some others...but I get them from the library for free. I can also check out a ton at once and "read" them, when I am tempted to really want to buy a magazine subscription. I gave up BHG years ago when every other page was an ad. Annoying.

  11. Trina, I absolutely and completely agree with you. I haven't really read magazines for years, although I use to be a huge consumer of the things. The other week I picked up a copy of American Baby, which I used to love but this time I was really repelled by it. It seemed like they were trying so hard to be trendy or hip or... something. It was peppered with phrases like "when your baby is chillin'" and the like. ugh.
    Last night I was at a friend's house and browsed through her copy of Mary Jane's Farm which is by all accounts a great read. There were a few articles of interest, but like you said; soooooo many adverts. So much trying to convince me that this or that will improve my life. So much trying to convince me to be dissatisfied. No thanks. I don't need any help with that;-}

  12. eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek.... why did I call you Trina? Trina??

    Forgive me... I am a loon. (as if we needed yet more proof) *blushing profusely*

  13. Diane, I almost didn't publish that comment because you called yourself a loon, and you know, you're not.

  14. I am with you on the magazine thing. I also like to read the Ensign and we just got a subscription to National Geographic (even though I love the magazine I still think there are way too many ads). I have also been sucked into the Friend more so than my son.

    I also have a few free or gift subscriptions to mommy magazines like Parenting and Family Fun. There is usually at least one article or craft idea that I like.

  15. Well the Lord went to great lengths to convict me in this area a few years back ~ & I'll seriously read any printed matter: jam jars, sideboard adverts, the newspaper left on the train. Yikes. addict is no word for it!

    Anyway I blush at most ladies mags these days & can't imagine what you'd ever do with most of the stuff advertised. I do read & enjoy An Encouraging Word put out by Wisdom's gate [http://www.anencouragingword.net/backissues.htm] ~& all their advertising goes at the back so you can read their articles unimpeded! ☺ They do a homeschoolers mag to. Bit radical for some but I take what is valuable to me & leave the rest. There is almost never any *fluff.*

  16. I do enjoy some magazines that offer decor tips, parenting tips, recipes etc. I am living overseas, married in my forties, with a family, and I do like Woman & Home and Real Simple. These magazines, along with Good Housekeeping are worth taking a look at, as they keep me up to date with what's going on "back home in the UK"
    I was totally shocked when I happened to glance at a magazine aimed at teens to twenty-somethings.
    This magazine bore no resemblance to the "harmless" magazines I used to enjoy when I was a teen. When we look at the way many things are heading in our world today, magazines discussing inappropriate topics certainly have a lot to answer for.I advise every Mum to be up-to-date with family reading material, whether bought or lent by a well-meaning friend.

  17. I'm with you on so much of this--although I do wear make-up, mostly to keep from scaring small children and woodland creatures! I have been given BHG, Real Simple, and Martha Stewart as gifts and they--for the most part remain untouched. However, I LOVE Country Woman and Taste of Home. Very few ads but filled with articles, crafts, tips and recipes that we actually use. I purchased a stack of Family Fun on Ebay real cheap, for the craft ideas that I use on my blog. Not so into the snooty stuff.

  18. I don't read magazines either. When I had a C-section my friend gave me a ton of magazines to pass the time. (So Nice!) While looking through them I was reacquainted with why I made that choice. Those magazines made me feel awful! Not to mention all the racy stuff. Yuck!

    I do read the Ensign. I do like Traditional Home or Country Living when I'm at the dentist or hair dresser.