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Disappointing…. October 31, 2005

Posted by Winter in film, gender issues, media.
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By Naidies  

Ok so I’ve been away from this site for a while, due to a combination of being burgled, having loads of work to do and being at a conference over the weekend. by way of return i have a gentle rant to warm up to something a little more challenging. Here it is, enjoy…

When I went for lunch today I found, to my immediate discomfort and horror, I had no book with me. I spent a few minutes looking at the magazines in the union shop and, passing over the whipped cream pink fluff of the assorted woman’s magazines decided to pick up a copy of empire magazine. The tag line, in capitals “THE WORLD’S BEST MOVIE MAGAZINE” quite failed to deliver on its promise I’m afraid, which is all the more dissapointing as my father used to reguarly get this magazine when I was young and I remember it being quite good then. How times have changed. The Empire magazine I remember was pretty sexless if slightly blokey, but never the less provided intelligent articulate articles on films, directors, actors and the like. While the present incarnation does aim to do this, it lets itself down by fully embracing the lads mag rhetoric and style. Obviously women are too busy touching up their lipstick to read anything so sophisticated as intelligent film review and criticism, why even try to write in a way that would appeal. Awsome, mind-fuck, freaky shit are phrases that seem to appear fairly often, alongside regular apearances of hocky and shonky which I’m not entirley sure are actual words. Mixed in with a generous helping of masculinised metaphors featuring jewles such as ‘top guns’, and “has more to offer than your usual big-lunged, big- breasted thriller” and glib statements about female characters such as “she does proper stuff with serious haircuts” it’s clear which audience they are playing for.

On top of that it seems that any women interviewed have to be wearing pants and a bra and little else (although Cameron Diaz gets away with jeans and a T-shirt). If we are going to be superficial about things, why arn’t the pages also graced with the airbrushed images of buff actors in pants, because thats what I want to see. As a final crowing glory they pay particualr detail to superman’s cod piece. Any one reading this would infer from the style that its readers were a bunch of sweaty nerds who speant so much time gigling at pictures of breasts they don’t actually have time to watch the films they read about. I was always under the impression that film magazines were marketed at men and women, I now see my error as the language and imagery used is clearly directed at men. Is this because extensive market research shows that only men are interested in reading about films, or is it that film magazines like Empire put women of actually reading them? Another Chicken-egg scenario.

If you scrape through the lads mag varnish there are some real insights and comments of interest concealed underlayers of brill cream and shaving lotion. It’s just a shame you have to suspend any critical faculties to find it.