Tag Archives: cosmocking

Re-blog: Cosmo for Latinas: Are You FIESTY, CURVY, and HOT-BLOODED Enough to Try It?

11 Oct

I’m not sure how to re-blog from a site hosted on a platform other than wordpress, so I’m copy-pasted the blog I wrote for Vagenda (http://vagendamag.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/cosmo-for-latinas-are-you-fiesty-curvy.html):

The quality of my daily internet procrastination time has just been shat on by the discovery of Cosmo Latina, which reaches new pits of unintentional hilarity, extreme patronisation and eye-watering levels of facepalm, even by Cosmo’s scraping-out-the-portaloo-cistern standards. Give it a read and you’ll be wallowing up to your chocho* in racismo and machismo quicker than you can shriek Devious Maids in a Mejicano accent. As one of our Twitter followers put it after coming across an article entitled ‘Find out what makes the hombres tick!’: WTF? Are the people at Old El Paso making magazines now?

Before we start, a note on language: Cosmo Latina (I will call it C-La for short) is written mainly in English but is peppered, at random, with Spanish words. I like to call this strange-speak Cospañol. I will use Cospañol throughout this article so that you too can experience its full horror without having to go near C-La yourself.

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First stop: I salsaed over to the beauty section, or “bronze belleza”, as C-La likes to call it. The first feature, “Four Ways Your Phone is Ruining Your Skin,” is accompanied with a photograph of a woman gleefully toothbrushing her own face with what looks like bubblebath. Presumably (although it’s not explained anywhere in the text, so perhaps it’s just another odd variation on the weird and baffling world of Cosmo sex tips), this is a suggested method for ridding your face of the adverse effects of using a phone, which, according to C-La, include “early wrinkles”, “crows feet”, “dark spots”, “acne” in the “phone zone” of your face (that’s the danger area from “your temple to your chin,” apparently) and – new portmanteau of the year… wait for it – “Text Neck.” Are you actually fucking joking me, C-La? Text Neck???

“Admit it, whether you’re walking, sitting, or laying down you’re usually staring down at your phone. According to cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank, constantly looking down causes the collagen in your neck to break down, leaving that turkey-looking neck.”

No Cosmo Latina (I’m calling you by your full name because you’ve been very naughty), funnily enough I don’t need to admit that the majority of my life is spent “staring down at my phone” because my default position is slouching my shoulders and either smiling or frowning, depending on whether or not I’m having a Latina-style feisty day. When I lay down, it tends to be with the intention of inducing sleep, and if I’m staring down whilst walking, that’s usually to avoid stepping in a turd. As for “that turkey-looking neck,” could your drop the knowing “that” please? In fact could you drop the whole paranoia-enducing, shaming reference to women’s bodies looking like turkeys? And maybe tell your “Cosmetic Dermatologist” (aka professional face-butcher who likes to wield his little body-hate knife around the necks of victims of The Patriarchy) to crawl back into the misogynist arsehole from whence he came? Cheers.

Let’s turn to the highlights of the gossip column, ingeniously entitled “Qué está pasando?” or, for the non-Cospañol speakers, “What is Happening?” First up: congratulations are in order for Victoria’s Secret model Adriana Lima, who managed to, in C-La’s soothsaying words, “save herself,” until marriage. ¡Ole Adriana! ¡A tequila for you! Says C-La, “We really respect that a hot woman like that can ward off all the sucio men out there to wait for Mr. Right.” I don’t know what to do first: wipe off the vomit that I’ve just projected over all the slut-shaming that’s inhabiting my screen as I read this article, or ask, would C-La consider it less of an achievement for a non-“hot” woman to maintain her “purity”? There are so many issues with this quote that I’m going to stop analysing it and instead perform the headdesk move of desperation.

In other news, in stories so boring that I actually cried a bit, Paulina Rubio “makes fun of Simon Cowell’s Moobs,” and Shakira wins a price for sexiest curves, but doesn’t attend “probs because she was spending time with her beauty baby Milan.” Her beauty baby. Moobs. And, just so you know, C-Latina women are “fun and feisty” females, rather than their “fun and fearless” regular (implicitly non-latina) Cosmo counterparts, cos latinas are more quick-tempered and irrational than white Cosmo readers, obv.

Adios to the gossip section.

Despite the repeated assertion throughout the magazine that all Latina women are curvy (actual quotes: “you don’t want to be skinny”, “in Colombia everybody’s very voluptuous, and you’re supposed to be”), the section dubiously dubbed “Fashion” seems to be devoted to ways to cover up your curvas, including top ten dresses for disguising your implicitly unsightly “panchito”*, and ways to get around the – quote – “tough” feat of looking nice if you “have junk in the trunk” (that’s “a large bottom” in normal speak). Are you comfortable in your body? Do you like the way it looks in clothes? Well you shouldn’t. Move over, gordita*.

The next fashion feature is on dressing for the office. This can’t go too wrong, right? Wrong. The article begins with the tale of a banker who was sacked for being “too sexy” after having been forbidden by her employers (Citibank) from wearing turtlenecks, pencil skirts, heels, or fitted suits, as her colleagues, reportedly, could not concentrate on their work. I expected the article to continue in an outraged fashion calling out sexism and discrimination in the workplace, providing useful advice on how to deal with such issues and information on legal rights (OK, I didn’t. But if the context had been anything other than a Cosmo magazine, I would have) but sadly, C-La decides to side with Citibank on this one, and decides to offer some tips for other women “with curves” who work in offices and don’t want to be sacked because their colleagues are pervertidos:

“you want to blend in”

“If you have to, go up a size” with the sympathetic caveat “we know how daunting it can be to have to go up a size–especially if you’re already feeling some sort of way about the size you typically wear”

“When it comes to pants, a wider leg can be more flattering particularly for those of us with lovely lady lumps. Save anything remotely tight for after 5 drinks or on the weekend.”

“in the case of hemlines, always err on having the hem as close to the knee (or longer) as possible.”

“Under no circumstances should there be any cleavage in a conservative work environment.”

C-La, this victim-blaming path you are going down is a dark, dangerous and turd-ridden one. Tears are falling on my un-moisturised hands as I write. I’m crying because this article was written IN 2013. IN A WOMEN’S MAGAZINE. FOR WOMEN. NOT FOR SELF-JUSTIFYING OFFICE PERVERTS. And C-La, for the record, I have what you would probably call curvy boobs and bum, and actually the “some sort of way” I feel about my body is that I like it. That’s despite all your hard work to make me hate it. Soz.

Over to the “Love and Sex” section. (Corgasmo! See what I did there?!) As hard as it was to resist headlines such as “The Best Position for his Sign”, “Should You Break Up if your Suegra* is a Bitch?” and “The Absolute Best Ugly Cries in History” (complete with a devastated Britney Spears looking “ugly” whilst sobbing her heart out), it was the How to Seduce Men feature that drew me in. Having a Latino partner myself, I thought I could do with a few tips on how to keep him interested:

“Style in stilettos: High heels always rate number one on men’s fave accessory—and this is a look we Latinas can pull off while running to the grocery store. Forgo comfy flats and trainers, as every Latina worth her salt should have one pair of killer take-this tacones ready to go. These fun multi-colored snakeskin pair from Carlos Santana are super fun and boner producing ($78.99, carlosshoes.com).”

Funny that: I never knew that (Carlos Santana-designed?) stilettos were the keystone of Latina identity (wait, what’s that faint rumbling? Ah, sorry – just Frida Kahlo turning in her grave). Anyway, when I’m getting ready to go to the supermarket I often stop to ponder what the best footwear option would be. But, like a true Cosmo girl, my choice always comes down to that one crucial factor: no, not comfort, not that. When going to the supermarket, I always ensure that my shoes are “boner producing.” Cos what every real (latina) lady wants is a man getting una ereción whilst perving on her in the meat aisle.

“Whisper papi in his ear: The next time your man is lost in his computer, sidle up behind him and softly ask, “You seem stressed, can I help you with anything, papi?” Ears are super erogenous zones, so his motor will be running. Plus, hearing such a familiar term delivered in a naughty way is total turn on.”

Despite my better judgement, I decided to road test this one. Turns out that light references to incest whilst playing internet chess is not a turn on for my hombre (if it is for you and your partner, then great, I just wish Cosmo would include a tip based on ask your partner what s/he likes amongst their monthly smorgasbord of sexy advice, and that they wouldn’t depict their advice as guaranteed to work. Not everyone likes the same thing, and by implying that they do, Cosmo also implies that you are a sexual failure if their “fullproof” tips don’t work for you).

“Show some skin: Gorgeous Cubana Eva Mendes, who’s dating Hollywood’s hottest actor, Ryan Gosling, shows off her tanned glowing cuerpo every chance she gets, saying, “I’m not at all ashamed or frightened about showing my body.” Choose a strapless dress, one-shouldered number, sexy shorts, or rock a mini to drive him wild.”

I’ve been trying to digest this one. I keep on trying, but it won’t go down. It just keeps coming back up soaked in the bile of hypocrisy. Perhaps if we hadn’t been exposed to women’s mags, with their monthly doses of body dismorphia-enducing weight-loss tips, air-brushed, white-washed models, cosmetic surgery adverts, and tips on how to look better, dress better, be less fat, be more man-pleasing and be less everything-that-we-are-naturally, many women would be less ashamed of their bodies.

After returning from the kitchen where I stood next to the open fridge door for 5 minutes until the burning anger in my head had calmed down, I attempted to lighten things up by reading the sex horoscope. Mine says:

“Nothing like a little danger to heighten your senses, which is why you’ll want to hit up seedier pursuits to find your orgasm now. Yes, toys, swinger parties and porn will be all ways to explore your sexuality, as it’ll be the great unknown that you’ll want to come for.

Single: Straight-up and pure lust is addicting now. Let it be a habit you want more of.

Hooked-up: If your man gets too pushy, push back even harder. Tension is your aphrodisiac now.”

That last bit. I can’t… I just can’t… It’s too much. All I’ll say is that men pushing their partners to do things that they don’t want to (including things they perceive as dangerous, swinger parties or “seedier pursuits,” whatever that’s supposed to mean) = good reason to end your relationship/massive consent fail/possible sexual assault rather than a reason to “play your aphrodisiac card and withhold sex”

Next up: The Best Places to Have Public Sex without Getting Caught (Note to C-La: “public sex” (dogging?) has a rather different connotation to “sex in public places,” (not necessarily dogging?) but anyway…)

“At the park: The park is common place—it’s as sexy as doing it in the wild but eliminates the risk of getting bitten in the a** by something weird. Just make sure the timing is right. Go into the gazebo or a shady area by a tree that’s blocked off from street view. The last thing you want is a little kid to catch you mid-act.”

Getting bitten in the ass by something weird… you’ve underestimated my partner C-La. I’m baffled by the almost philosophical-sounding observation that “the park is a common place,” (is that a Yoda quote?) and what is meant by “the wild”? If they mean the countryside, then their readers should beware angry farmers in lambing season. The thought of sex in my local park “in a shady area by a tree” just makes me sad and brings to mind teenagers and supermarket own-brand cider. Surely this is not spicy, sassy and caliente enough for sexy latinas? On the other hand, I’m pleased C-La reminded its audience that sex in front of child strangers is not advisable.

“in a utility closet: people almost never go in those old utility closets. We believe they were strictly put there for people to um, bone. Just be careful for all the dust mites that are probably floating around in there. You’ll want to make this one a quickie.”

Actually C-La, I think utility closets were strictly put there for cleaners (you know, those people who do one of the most socially useful jobs but get paid a poverty wage, who you might have seen cleaning up your mess when you stayed late at the office that time?) to store their cleaning stuff. Just sayin’.

Sorry, but I’ve had to skip the rest of the content, which, besides from the sexism and racismo (check out the they must be joking …oh god… they’re not joking are they, could-they-be-more-racially-stereotyped recipes sponsored by Unilever, the wonderful makers of Fair and Lovely skin lightening cream: two types of enchiladas, two varieties of salsa, Mexicano casserole and … get ready for it… TEQUILA salmon) has the charisma-black-hole effect most often associated with the character of Sergeant Brody’s wife in Homeland. Besides, I need to go and get my bikini line brasileñoed before my macho gets home.

C-La seems no different to standard Cosmo: it’s the same old heterosexist rag convincing women of all their flaws and providing them with the (pricey) “solutions,” but with added use of racist clichés of the sexy, sensual, curvy Latina, who is a slave to her “fierce”, uncontrollable temper. Why does Cosmo feel it has the right to assign these traits to an entire group of women? Why does Cosmo assume that Latina is a homogenous group? Why did Hearst (the owners of Cosmo) decide to create this spin-off targeting a specific ethnic group? Did they feel bad that their standard mag is generally white-washed? If so, would it have been preferable to have tried to address the racism and white-centrism within the initial magazine instead of creating a patronising offshoot? Who knows. At the end of the day, this new magazine is just another attempt by Hearst to sell shit to what they see as an emerging and lucrative market.

Oh well. Back it is to regular Cosmo, welcoming me with open arms and 16 “ovary-tickling” pictures of “DILFS and their cute babies”. Fuck it. I’m suffering from overexposure to racist exoticism and The Patriarchy. If anyone needs me, I’ll be in the recovery position in my clamshell.

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* vagina
* belly
* fatty
*mother-in-law

For more delicious cosmocking try the dedicated thread on the Pervocracy blog

What your favourite crisp flavour says about your bedroom personality

11 Sep
Hello, I’m a feminazi and my hobbies do not include women’s magazines. Here are my top five reasons why:

1) They made puberty about 100% worse than it had to be
2) They create insecurities in readers in order to  sell them the useless, expensive “must-have” “solutions”. Their enormous readership of women deserve better.
3) Their covers (and the models inside too) are generally white-washed,  air-brushed, soaked in make-up and digitally “improved” with computer-aided artistry.
4) The content is designed to reinforce sexist but classic stereotypes of (white, capitalist, able-bodied and minded, heterosexual, middle-class) women such as the bitchy, jealous girlfriend who constantly compares herself to other bitchy, jealous, power-and-male-approval-hungry women, the high-powered, sex-and-the-city-style thirty-something obsessed with Gucci handbags and £1k shoes, or the ultra-feminine angel who has a secret “sexy, sassy” side to her personality, which can be evidenced by the shape of her bikini line. In short, they present an ideal for women which is white, material-rich, cosmetically enhanced  and centred around man-pleasing (by which I mean being sexy for men, cleaning up after them and making them feel “manly”) and imply we are failing if we do not fit within these ideals.
5) They are so boring that people have been known to weep by the time they reach the second page.

As Jezebel have pointed out, one of the most hilarious aspects of women’s magazines are the monthly quizzes, which consistently  reiterate sexist stereotypes and tired clichés. Below is a quiz created by me for your pleasure and personal growth. I have used a list of quizzes and “personality tests” available at the time of writing on Cosmopolitan’s website (http://www.cosmopolitan.com/sitemap/section_5339) as a muse.

Are you female enough to entrap a man?/What does your favourite crisp flavour say about your bedroom style?/Is your sock choice sending him mixed signals?/What’s your leg hair personality?

1) Body Dilemma! It’s that time of the month. Disgusting!!! Cringe! What do you do???

A) You disguise your tampons as sweets and hide in your room, wallowing in shame, until your womb has finished menstruating. God forbid you ask him to buy you some tampons, since, according to Cosmo, this will make him feel emasculated and he will most likely dump you.
B) You tell him all his faults and demand that he take you shoe shopping/turn into a mad, irrational shewolf and howl at the moon
C) You choose a sexy, sassy tampon to match your personality such as a Tampax Pearl with its own cute mini skirt, scented sanitary pads and/or a girly sanitary-ware holder with a totes hilaire logo such as “If only two wrongs made a Mr Right”
D) You wonder why it’s blue

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 Via hellogiggles.com
2) What’s your ideal job?

A) Unpaid Domestic Labourer
B) A PR Executive/Glossy Mag Editor/Interior Designer/Online Vintage Jewellery Emporium Owner/Pejazzle Consultant
C) Doctor’s Assistant (no.4 best job in the world “for women”, according to Cosmo)
D) A Cat

3) What makes you feel euphoric?

A) Wearing pink/buying shoes. Shoes!!!!!!!!
B) Eating probiotic yoghurt
C) Being skinnier than your best friend/Slimming World
D) Fantasizing about the Miliband twins

4) What will be top of your cosmetic surgery wish-list when you snag your dream job (see question 2) and become a shemillionairess?

A) Bigger breasts
B) Cellulite reduction
C) Botox-face
D) I want a My Little Pony tail of pink and purple and sparkly glitter/enough surgery to become an actual sexy centaur

5) Dating Dilemma! You’re going on a date and the guy is really hot. You might be tempted to sleep with him but don’t want to as he will then know what a total skank you are. What do you do?

A) Follow Cosmo’s advice and wear a “fake chastity belt”
B) Don’t wax your bikini line/Wear granny pants. If the worst comes to the worst and the slut inside you overrules your good sense and you go back to his place, do as Cosmo says and hide the pants “under his bath mat” lest he sees the big pants and recoils in horror
C) “Holding out” will definitely make a man commit, and prevents shameful additions to your “sex number”, so if you feel the urge, just think: “his wang could be gross
D) You only date gay men

6) (This question is sponsored by Helena Frith Powell) At home with your man, you do the majority of the housework because

A) of cavemen. Evolution blah blah. Whilst man (more specifically your white, middle-class boyfriend) is better suited to the higher-paid, socially useless professions and having free time when he is not at work, woman prefers and is well-adapted to unpaid (but useful) tedium. Besides, you are the Chief Executive of the house
B) Men are necessary but stupid. They have specific disabilities that prevent them from realising domestic activities
C) You love to clean surfaces. The pleasant scent of your cleaning products make them fun to use and eliminating odours is your hobby. You feel that the cleanliness of your surfaces – in particular your skirting boards and kitchen island with its faux-marble worktop – is a personal statement about you and your personality. You tend to view women with unclean surfaces in a negative light.
D) You sacked your maid. You now do all the housework yourself whilst dressed in a varied array of Ann Summers outfits.

7) What’s your worst personality flaw?
A) You are tight-fisted, buying only supermarket own-brand creams to correct your aging face
B) You are lazy. You probably only shave your legs in summer and don’t remove your eye make-up properly
C) Your breasts are different sizes
D) You’re not human. You’re a playboy bunny rabbit and have no flaws to speak of.

8) Dinner Party Dilemma! You’ve heard there’s a crisis in Syria, but you don’t have any views ready for tonight’s social occasion. What do you consult to inform your opinion-development?
A) Kim Kardashian’s twitter-feed
B) Justin Bieber’s T-shirt
C) Nothing: it is unladylike to voice opinions on international geopolitics, so you pursue your latest Bag-Crush via Ebay instead
D) Whatever. You think the late Osama Bin Laden may have been hot if he’d have shaved his beard (See September 2013 UK Glamour magazine for more celebrities you should secretly fancy)

9) Totes fashion nightmare! On the way home from town on the peasant waggon, some benefit scrounging, teenage mother’s vile offspring vommed in the bag containing your best frenemy’s new dress. It’s  her work “Winter Festival” party tonight, and although she has plenty of other dresses, they’ve all been worn before. What do you advise your frenemy to do?
A) You offer to lend her a dress, which you know will be far too small for her. She’ll look totes trashy and it will be a major fashion-fail so you high five your inner green monster 😉
B) Tell her not to go: nothing’s worth the risk of being tagged in the same Facebook-look twice.
C) Advise that she uses the money she’d been saving up for a flat deposit to purchase the latest haute-couture look featured in this month’s Grazia
D) You create her a Gok-Wan-inspired high-end look, by fashioning a dress from lavender-scented bin liners and the sanitary towels left over from the periods you are pretending you’ve never had (see question 1).

What your answers reveal about your secret bubbly personality

If your answered mostly As, you could potentially bag a guy if you lose some weight and go on a spa day.

If you answered mostly Bs, your favourite crisp flavour is salt and vinegar and your shoe personality is kitten heels, but bear in mind that eating too much protein is resulting in unattractive acne all over your forehead: try MaxFactor Ageless Elixir Beige Foundation to cover it up if you are thinking of leaving the house.

If you answered mostly Cs, you are probably a lesbian and your celebrity personality match is Karl Lagerfeld’s Chihuahua. You are destined to professional and romantic failure unless you devote more of your budget to fashion and beauty.

If you answered mostly Ds, you are clearly insane and should seek medical help. You probably do your own DIY and your ideal age for marriage is 26.

If you answered mostly As but one D, you are a Pisces who enjoys long walks with dogs and bikram yoga. Burlesque is your recommended sexercise, and the patterns of Uranus say your boyfriend is probably cheating on you because you ate more than your share of cheese fondue.

Top Tips for a Disappointing Sex Life

15 Jun

Favourite headline: “So you ate a cupcake? Fast moves to burn it off!”

Women’s magazines serve an important role for those who wish to be better females. With their narrow views of what constitutes fashion, beauty and feminine behaviour, magazines promote a one-dimensional image of how a “proper” woman should be, thereby making “woman” a simple, un-nuanced target for capitalist corporations to market to. Of course, a key aspect of magazine womanhood is knowing how to please your man (women’s magazines don’t do gay, polyamory, bi or any other non-heterosexual inclination), including (as the endless “mindblowing”, “dynamite”, utterly ridiculous, boringly choreographed and repetitive sex tips every week indicate) physically. The likes of Cosmo and Glamour help us to realise how disappointing we are in the bedroom and highlight the danger of our significant others straying as a result.  Best, then, to follow the magazines “tips” (normally sponsored by a consultant “sexpert” who invariably has a new book out) no matter how, odd, shall we say, they may seem. They are guaranteed to “make your man go wild” (although, I sometimes worry, “wild” in what sense?). Below are fifteen of the best, with some added advice from moi!

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Via mookychick.co.uk

1) “Press a fork (firmly, but don’t break the skin or anything) into different parts of his body — his butt cheeks, his pecs, his thighs.” As my colleague noted, you could also use the fork to wake him up if he falls asleep on top of you. Incidentally, it’s lucky Cosmo clarified that one shouldn’t “break the skin”. Many females that don’t read Cosmo probably still think that is a legitimate pulling technique, no doubt.

2) “Want to make oral sex a sweet treat for him? Mashed banana or peaches inside your vajayjay is a great way to tempt him downstairs for dessert! It’ll drive him wild!” (Via Vagenda: road-tesing Cosmo’s sex tips). If you must train your man to pleasure you by using foodstuffs, in the same way you might train your pet to fetch with dog biscuits, I wonder if you might be better off getting yourself a new man. Besides, I’m not sure if storing fruit in your genitals would cause mould. In any case, if you decide to go ahead, and your man meets the mashed yield he finds in your vagina with a bemused or scared expression, just moan his name or something… that will make it normal again.

3) “Finger-Food Foreplay: Have a romantic dinner without utensils so you can feed each other. There’s something sensual about placing food in your partner’s mouth. It’s such fun — especially when you serve stuff that’s not supposed to be eaten with your hands, like salads or pasta. After a meal like this, serve yourself for dessert.” (Via Cosmo favourite sex tips) Tried this with a Big Mac  in Macdonald’s on Sunday. No one wanted desert.  

4) “Mix one tablespoon of saliva (the kind deep in your throat works best — its viscosity makes it a good substitute for lube) with one tablespoon of water to stretch the spit.” (Via nerve.com) Cosmo leaves it up to us what to do with this delicious concoction. But be warned, if mixing one part phlegm to one part water ignites your passions, it is possible that you have found a new low amongst the mucus-lined depths of erotic boredom.

5) “Dip your breasts in edible body paint, and use them to ‘sponge paint’ his entire body. Then lick it off.” (Via Cosmo’s 50 ways to be boobilicious) Interesting. If this much body paint proves a little costly, you could always take inspiration from tip 3 and blend your favourite dinner (be it steak and chips, roast chicken, whatever tickles your fancy!) in the food processor, slop it all over yourself, and launch yourself at him like the erotic trooper that you are.  Then lick it off.  

6) “A little nip: Try a little playful bite or nibble when you’re giving your man all-over kisses. Hot spots for nibbling include his neck, stomach, inner thigh and bum.” (Via Cosmo kissing tips). If you are tired of nibbling your man’s bottom (it can become quite laborious, I find), you could always enlist the help of an obliging rodent.

hamster 7) “Sexpert” Henry, 25, says, “If we’re somewhere semi-public and can’t go at each other, press your hips against mine and massage me with your pelvis.” (via Cosmo’s sex tips from guys). Nope. No danger of that going wrong. No one will notice that. But, just in case, maybe don’t try this on public beaches in Dubai.

8) “Sprinkle a little pepper under his nose right before he climaxes. Sneezing can feel similar to an orgasm and amplify the feel-good effects.” (Via Cosmo Blow His Mind Moves) You could also try to get Bird Flu and pass it to him, to heighten the sneezing pleasure for both of you.

9) “Blow hot air from your mouth through his underwear” (Via Cosmo Blow His Mind Moves) I’m glad Cosmo specified “from your mouth”! I was just about to go to the shops and stock up on baked beans! Phew! That could have been embarrassing!

10) To get into the festive mood, Glamour magazines “The Reindeer”, which is “your basic doggie style position. But with one or both parties using their hands to mime antlers. Festive! Also, great for testing your balance!” (Via Glamour magazine). I always like a good excuse to test my balance. Nothing else to add here really, other than do make sure you save this one for a special evening over Christmas. There’s nothing sadder than doing “The Reindeer” on a work night in January, and I should know. But you could always design your own “fun specials” for different times of the year or other religious festivals: do send in any ideas!

11) “Hold his penis in one hand and lightly slap it with the other… you can tap it back and forth like you’re volleying a tennis ball and lightly pinch the skin on his shaft and testicles. Many women make the mistake of being too gentle.” (Via The best of Cosmo ridiculous tips at Nerve.com). Perhaps I have misunderstood the extent of the sensitivities of the male glands, but my gut instinct is that, should you try this tip, your man may wonder what he has done to make you so angry with him that you would perform this ritual. But then again, my forehand volley is more powerful than most – perhaps I’m just too tame. An alternative would be to lay some peach stones (left over from tip 2) on the bed, lay his “member” on top of them, and stomp down hard.

12) “Give him a beer facial — the combination of the egg white and the yeast in the hops hydrates and improves skin elasticity… but you can just tell him that your lips can’t resist his delicious, beer-flavored face.” (Via Nerve.com). I’m not sure what this means. I have thrown beer in the face of a man before, but I’m not sure that either of us regarded it as foreplay. Nevertheless, best blindly trust the sooth-saying words of Cosmopolitan magazine and massage your man with egg white and hops.

13) “Use the back of a brush to swat his thighs when he steps out of the shower – wet skin is more sensitive” (Via buzzfeed.com). This works best if you do it as a surprise, and, as one of my twitter followers recommended, if you use a toilet brush. 

14) “Want to experience new sensations that will literally blow his mind? Get him to cover his penis in bicarbonate of soda and secretly fill your vagina with vinegar. Get ready for an explosive time!” (via… OK, I made that one up.)

15) “While it’s essential that you’re comfortable with each other and to be yourself with your partner, there are certain things your lover never need witness. Remember, whilst he may know that we aren’t entirely hairless beings, he doesn’t need to see the actual shaving of the underarms…” (via Glamour’s G-Spot Blog). This tip strikes me as especially problematic. If only they’d stopped writing at the first comma. Will making the reader feel she should be ashamed of (parts of) her body improve her sex life? Or rather, is feeling completely comfortable and free of shame, and trusting that your partner will not be disgusted by your body a precursor to more pleasure? Perhaps Glamour magazine should go f*** itself, as it were. 

Finally, let’s end with some classic Glamour imperative DOs and DON’Ts! DON’T let Glamour, Cosmo etc. make you feel anxious, insecure and that only he matters (of course, if this isn’t the case and this parallel cosmos of mostly food-related sex tips turns you on, fine). But isn’t it a shame that, given that Cosmopolitan alone has a readership of 3 million (made up of many teenage girls for whom tips like this  constitute sex education) that women’s magazines don’t offer something better? Actually, it’s not a shame. It’s a feminist issue. DO (really do!) read these: http://blog.museumofsex.com/the-internal-clitoris/ http://www.crunkfeministcollective.com/2011/05/16/it-gets-wetter-a-message-to-women-who-frequently-have-horrible-rushed-sex-nsfw/

An Open Letter to the Editor of the Sunday Times’ Style Magazine: to encourage one’s child daughter to become a sexual, fasting object, or not?

18 Jan

Dear Ms Long,

Whilst waiting for my tea to brew in the kitchen at work yesterday, I came across an abandoned issue of the Sunday Times Style magazine (dated 13 January 2013). I often turn to publications such as your own in order to learn how to be a proper woman. As such, conflicting messages about how women should behave are very distressing to me. It is with a recent highly confusing experience in mind, in which one article contradicted the messages given by the rest of the magazine, that I write to you.

Let us first analyse the article that jars with the rest of your publication’s content, Freedom to Choose. This piece intelligently highlights the damage the mainstream media causes to young girls. It argues that the media teaches young girls that they are sexual objects, causes insecurity amongst girls by making “how they look, and their “hotness”… an obsession”, and that they are “products” whose worth is determined by how others evaluate theirs looks.

The piece describes how very young girls are constantly: “hammered by the media by the need to be sexy” and taught, above all else, that “(their) looks are the most important things about (them).”

The article helpfully highlights for the reader how to avoid the sexualisation of their young daughters, and how to help girls to have their own space and security to become women at their own pace. To jog your mind, here are three top strategies and tips that your article recommends:

1) “Because (the sexualisation) starts very young … we can choose which magazines and other media to buy”;

2) “Girls’ magazines generally do more harm than good”; and

3) “shared meals at fixed times, where everyone is at the table” can help.

My confusion lies in the juxtaposition of these sensible messages with the general philosophy offered by your publication. Pray, why does the rest of your magazine blatantly contradict all three of these messages?

For the benefit of my blog readers who may not have a copy of your magazine to hand (I will post this letter on my blog), let me now give a brief overview of the contents of your publication:

  • Cover: Photo of a skinny woman who is posing as if she is expecting to be penetrated from behind, penetrated orally and penetrated in her visible cleavage, and who, implicitly, is presently on “the fasting diet”
  • Inner cover: advert for make-up that gives a “face lift” effect
  • p.1: contents
  • p.2: advert for low-fat ready meal
  • p.3: editor’s update featuring JLO’s dressing habits
  • p.4: perfume advert with skinny model posing as if she is about to perform fellatio
  • p.5: photos of expensive clothes and jewellery to buy (prices range from £70 to £775)
  • p.6: advert for low-fat ready meal
  • p.7: photos of kids clothes, furniture and cooking utensils to buy
  • pp. 8-9: car advert
  • pp. 10-14: article and photos entitled, West End Girl: She’s Bisexual, Boho and Brilliant
  • p. 15-18: article about a model and her naked photo shoot, featuring photo in which the female model appears to be being raped (note distressed facial expression) by the male model
  • p. 19: competition featuring ticket to catwalk show as prize
  • p. 20: tips on what you should wear
  • pp. 21-25: photos of skinny models who appear to be about to perform fellatio
  • pp. 26-27: 4 tips on how to make your face look better
  • pp.28-36: your cover story: the fasting diet and why it is brilliant
  • p. 37: advert for a car whose seats mimic the curves of an attractive woman
  • p. 38: dilemmas page
  • pp.39 -43: article on what furniture one should buy
  • pp. 44-45: article on restaurants that sell low fat food
  • p. 46: advertisement for the Sunday Times
  • p. 47: star signs
  • p. 48: problem page
  • Inside cover: competition to win a makeover
  • Back cover: advert for anti-ageing cream

Your eight-page-long cover story, entitled The Fasting Diet deserves special attention, I believe. It advocates the new intermittent fasting diet, in which participants should starve themselves for two 24-hour periods per week. The piece disperses text with photos of the skinny, scantily clad cover model in various sexually suggestive poses.  Without boring you further with the content of an article of which you are already, no doubt, familiar, let me enlighten my blog readers with a few choice quotes from the piece:

  • “Fasting teaches you what it means to be hungry”
  • on “feed days”, “be very careful about measuring exactly what you eat. Don’t guess.”
  • “you must learn not to be afraid of hunger”
  • “what you need to do is set up a system of immediate rewards. For example, if I get through the next two fast days, I can buy a new lipstick… obviously do not use food as a reward. (Buy) a pack of gold stars and put a …reward chart up on the wall”
  • “I know nutritionists bang on about the importance of breakfast… but why wake up Annie Appetite before you need to?”
  • “If you’re feeling faint, 70 calories of low-fat yoghurt takes the edge off”
  • “There is something addictive about waking up feeling hungry”
  • “Last Sunday… I had a slice of chocolate and walnut cake. But it was fine, because I knew I was fasting the next day”
  • “(when fasting), people tend… to raise their intake of tea and coffee, though obviously if you add milk, you’ll have to keep a close eye on that.”

I think my blog readers will get the idea.

Let me summarise the problem for you. If I pay attention to the three tips from the Freedom to Choose article, I would NEVER, EVER GO ANYWHERE NEAR STYLE MAGAZINE, given its use of highly sexualised images of women, tips on how to look better and younger, and strategies on how to cope with daily life when you are starving yourself for aesthetic reasons (as, you imply, all proper women should).

I therefore ask, Ms Long, was the anomaly of an article on how to empower young girls by promoting healthy eating habits and encouraging them to realise that their looks are not their only source of self-worth published in your magazine by mistake? Am I right to judge the rest of your magazine as a pile of worthless, sexist hypocrisy that makes women feel insecure and inadequate, and which I should probably shove up my objectified, fasting, and perpetually-ready-for-sex bottom?

Please advise.

In anticipation,

Joanna Allan

How to make him love you: top tips from women’s magazines

22 Nov

Look at the redhead on the front of this week’s TV Choice magazine. Look at her expression of barely-masked grief at the pain of unrequited love. Many of us have asked the question that’s on her mind countless times before: darling, why don’t you love me? I would say that he probably doesn’t love you because of your innumerable physical and behavioural flaws. Nevertheless, there are ways to make him love you, and I will reveal them today.

I must admit that I have had to draw heavily from trusted secondary sources in putting together the guidance that you will find below. In particular, my gratitude goes out to Cosmopolitan magazine, that pillar of enlightened modern femininity, and therulesrevisited.com website (thank you Naomi for making me aware of this gem), written by, in his own words, a “ridiculously good looking, extremely intelligent” young man, which has a whole range of tips on how women can better their looks and behaviour in order to attract a mate.

As they say, practice makes perfect. I have therefore decided to trial some top tips selected from the best of The Rules Revisited and Cosmopolitan in the worthy endeavour of trying to woo my latest crush, BBC4’s fictional character, Inspector Montalbano, who can be spotted starring in his own series anytime you like on BBC Iplayer.

Mr Montalbano, why don’t you love me?

Spend 75% of your day staring at him

Says Cosmo,

“locking eyes with a guy doesn’t just tell him you’re interested, it can even make him feel like he’s falling in love with you … A study by Zick Rubin, former associate professor at Harvard University, US, found that lovers spent 75% of their time looking at each other … By encouraging him to gaze into your eyes by maintaining eye contact with him, you can lead his brain towards the idea of love. “The last time he stared into someone eyes for long periods of time, he was in love,” says sexpert Dr Pam Spurr … “So in theory, that could trigger his brain to recall feelings of love again”” (from Cosmo UK’s 12 steps to make him fall in love with you).

Biting logic there from Cosmo’s “sexpert” Dr Spurr. As advised, I have spent 75% of my day, that’s 12 of my waking hours, staring at Inspector Montalbano on screen, yet I’m not sure that he’s in love with me yet. Is it because he’s not looking directly at the camera? Will he arrest me for sexual harassment? What to do?

“Pretend you need him”

Cosmo has enlisted the brainpower of Dr Ian Kerner, the author of such seminal works as Overcoming Premature Ejaculation and Passionista: the Empowered Woman’s Guide to Pleasuring her Man, for this one:

““In this day and age when women are fiercely independent, a man can feel less able to give her what she needs – other than sex, what does he have to offer?” says Kerner. “So by relying on him a little – and letting him rely on you too – you’re allowing the bond between you to deepen. A good step towards falling in love.”” (from Cosmo UK’s 12 steps to make him fall in love with you).

As Cosmo points out, I am not sure that Inspector Montalbano can offer much more than his insatiable virility. But, advises Cosmo, he will not fall in love with me if he thinks that. I have therefore emailed him to let him know that I require his help in solving a criminal case in which I am embroiled (solving mysteries is what he does best): someone in the office at work has stolen my mug and I simply cannot bring the culprit to justice without his assistance. I hope, whilst he inspects our work kitchen with yours truly looking needy and vulnerable in the corner, Montalbano will fall head over heels for me.

“Feed him grapes”

According to Cosmo, if you want a man to love you, “feed him grapes”. But “a steak sandwich or baguette with fried onion or mushroom toppings” along with “an ice cold beer” are also viable options for the lady looking to hook a husband. (from Cosmo UK’s 12 steps to make him fall in love with you).

Do not show too much decolletage…or do…?

Says Cosmo, “take off the low-cut crop top … swap it for a contour-hugging top, by all means, but just go easy on how much flesh is on show” (From Cosmo’s Don’t be desperate tips). This is confusing, since, according to The Rules Revisited, “the more a woman dresses like a s***, the more attractive she is” (apologies for the editing out words here, but there are some words used by The Rules author that are so desperately offensive that I cannot even bear to type them). Says The Rules, as long as we “act like good girls”, we are still more likely to find a husband if we “dress like a w****”. What to do? What will Inspector Montalbano prefer? More clothes or less? (From The Rules How to get the Right Kind of Attention article).

Date someone “below you league”

Says Cosmo, “get a date, but make sure it’s with someone several leagues below you in terms of attractiveness … it’ll provide you with invaluable experience of how not to behave like a desperado during a date.” (From Cosmo’s Don’t be desperate tips).

It is hard to say who is below and above me on the attractiveness scale (see The Rules for more on the ten point scale: ten point scale of attractiveness) but I sincerely hope I fall above our cherished leader David Cameron. Assuming that he is, in fact, below me on the scale, then, according to Cosmo, he would be a good target for a date whilst I’m trying to get experience in not acting desperate around Inspector Montalbano.

I have today written to Mr Cameron to ask him to take me for a drink sometime (I hear he’s partial to a whiskey now and then, especially whilst on UK Trade and Investment “missions” to visit the Saudi royals). I await a reply.

Try to look like him and copy his facial expressions

Says Cosmo and their “sexpert” Dr Spurr,

“We may not realise it, but we have a natural tendency to go for people who not only have similar interests and backgrounds to us, but also use similar facial expressions,” says Spurr. Researchers at the University of Liverpool found that we’re more likely to go for people who look similar to us” (from Cosmo UK’s 12 steps to make him fall in love with you).

Since I am now attempting to woo David Cameron (following Cosmo’s advice to date someone below my league in order to get experience for a later date with my target, Montalbano), I have been attempting to look, act and speak like our Prime Minister. This has also been a useful exercise for another reason: I know what our lovechild will look like, should David and I produce one.

Don’t have sex on the first date

Of course, when I do get a date with David Cameron, I will try my utmost to resist his passionate advances, since, if he thinks as The Rules Revisited suggests men do, he will be happy to make love to me but will consequently not wish to pursue a relationship with me due to my evident loose morals. Hypocritical of him? Yes, it would be. But men who maintain sexist double standards are surely the most desirable for natural women since they will encourage us in our mission to always to act in accordance with our strictly assigned gender role. (From The Rules, don’t f*** on a first date).

Put minty lip balm on your breasts

Says Cosmo, to entice your man, all you need to do is “trace your nipples with minty lip balm”. What an excellent idea. I will save this for when I am invited for dinner on Inspector Montalbano’s seaside veranda, or a meeting at Number 10. (From Cosmo’s 25 ways to be boobilicious). On another note, this tip also works well if your breasts have been eating garlic.

 Ignore him

Says Cosmo, “if you see a guy you like and he’s with a couple of other guys you know, say hello the others first (sic.). If you can, make out as though you haven’t noticed him, then suddenly give him a really warm smile hello (sic).” (From Cosmo’s Don’t be desperate tips).

I am going now. I need time to practice my “warm smile hello” in the mirror. They will love me. All of them.