Monday, 14 May 2007

When I am old I shall wear PVC

I do yoga 3 times a week.
Good for you. You're 47.

I wear denim minis
and wedges. I shop in Topshop.
But you're 47.

I am a mother of 2 but I
want the body I had
at 30.

But you're 47. And you have two children.

I will be 50 in 3 years time.
Yes, we know.

I am obsessed by age.
Yes, we know.

But admit it. aren't you too?

Well not really. And what's more, we really don't think you should be either. Christa, you look fantastic. You are 47 years of age and you are stunning. We looked at the woman in the photo on the cover and we saw an attractive middle-aged woman. That's what you are. And that does not mean you have failed.

"Indeed, if you were to look at the photograph on the previous page and tell me you see an attractive middle-aged woman (for that technically is what I am at 46) I'd not be merely insulted, I'd feel, on some level, that I had failed."

(Oops. But is someone fibbing about their age again?)

Christa you are not only attractive, you are extremely successful. But - and we say this with not only your best interests at heart, but personal experience too - you are psychotic. We are not psychiatrists (and would kill ourselves out of duty if we were) but body dysmorphia would probably be the diagnosis. This article is celebrating and justifying mental illness. And not in a good way. You are 47 years old. You cannot have the appearance of a 23 year old any more than you can turn a Netto bag into Prada.

We really aren't in the habit of attacking people for their mental health problems (although dolly has been known to attack herself), so we are not going to condemn or criticise you for the way you feel. But please don't try to normalise this delusion. Don't tell us that it is OK to want to feel like this:

"where one cannot seem to pick up a newspaper or magazine without reading about some granny who has just been vaginally rejuvenated, and where, furthermore, every aspect of life, including politics, is beginning to feel more and more virtual, the decision of a fortyplusser to dress like Peaches Geldof isn't so much a decision she makes as a cultural imperative that has been imposed on her. Be the schlumpy granny at the school gates whom none of the other dads fancy by all means, but only if you don't mind being perceived as something of a freak, or at a socioeconomic disadvantage."

A cultural imperative imposed on her? Imposed on her by whom exactly? By magazines like OWM and Vogue, you crazy, beautiful wingbat. You've just swallowed your own tail. The feeling you describe is called 'gagging.'

So lets talk instead about who, at OWM, decided that 'we all' feel like this and commissioned this exploitative, voyeuristic poison?

Who is this Observer Woman who does yoga 3 times a week, shops at Topshop and is obsessed by age? While we're about it, who is the 'we' in 'We know it's common but we love it anyway'? When you say 'Everybody' is park benching (In Manchester we call it dogging) or customising our dialling tones, who do you mean exactly?

The last time we checked, 'we' don't all live in Notting Hill and surround ourselves with media workers. Last time we looked there were women living and even working in places like Doncaster. And Birmingham. And you know what? Quite a few of them read the Observer. If you caught a train from Euston you might meet some of them. They won't bite.

You're a fashion magazine and we know the game. One percent inspiration and 99% aspiration, but that is no excuse. Just once or twice, at least acknowledge that not all your readers live your insipid, vacuous, cynical (where are the organic T-shirts this month, eh?), superfluous, spoiled, priviliged lives.

Maybe we're just bitter. Or more likely it's not us, it's you.


Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you're there to report back as I can't bring myself to pick up that disgrace of an 'intelligent' paper anymore!


cinnamon.mcbadger said...

Holy mother of Jebus, I'm quite glad I completely forgot to get the observer yesterday. It would appear my day was made all the better for not violating my sensibilites with that tripe.

Paul said...

wonderful. i have just come across your blog for the first time. i couldn't agree more. i am a man and it has long puzzled me that i am overwhelmed with an attack of radical feminism whenever i pick up this disgrace of a magazine (not that i do any more. it is vile, and so is everybody associated with it and the newspaper that spawned it. together we can bring this idiocracy down. keep up the excellent work!

Jude said...


(sorry, getting a little over-excited there)

ShinyScalp said...

You're quite right, the Observer Woman magazine is utter tosh, and this week's example was especially toshy.

What's more, last week's Observer Sports magazine gave us... "the women's issue".

All about women's sports. Now there's nothign especially wrongin that, except that it claimed to be trying to "raise awareness".

Okay. The core sports audience for ALL sports is currently men, and men generally choose to watch sports in which other men compete (which is why women's sports don't get the same audience size; they appeal to women sports fans, and there are fewer of them).

So I sat there readin the Sports Magazine "Women's Issue" last week, and this particularly shoddy issue of the Observer Woman, thinking "surely, if they wanted to expand the audience for women's sports, they should not be doing a in issue of Observer Sport that focused on women, but an issue of Observer Woman that focused on Sport?"

But clearly, the metropolitan hyper elite who commission and write for Observer Woman wouldn't think of such an idea. Far too divorced from their reality of yoga 3 times a week, blah blah blah.

liz said...

Thank goodness I’m not alone in being thoroughly disappointed by the simpering bilge that The Observer thinks will interest its female readership. If I wanted to read vacuous drivel like this I would go out and buy Grazia. I can almost forgive publications like Grazia for serving up this type of hackneyed nonsense as they are stand alone publications that have to appeal to the broadest possible market to return a profit and appease their advertisers. But as a supplement, OWM is not in this position, and sadly they seem to have wasted an opportunity to do something different, rather than publish yet more unimaginative, bandwagon-jumping articles about overpriced shoes, clothes and cosmetics. And what was that “Agyness Deyn” thing they kept going on about?

Spitting Mad said...

Thanks for your comments everyone.

We've still got more to say about this month's issue. We've barely got started on Kathryn Flett's ladygardening habits.


Today we have learned exactly what you need to say on the Guardian's Comment is Free site to get yourself edited by the Moderators.

Apparently referring to their colleagues at OWM as a bunch of vacuous, simpering pin-tellects is considered beyond the pale.

Oh, and Jude - nice Meg Ryan impression!

We'll have whatever she's having

Jim Jay said...

"Today we have learned exactly what you need to say on the Guardian's Comment is Free site to get yourself edited by the Moderators."

Tell us more!

Spitting Mad said...

Bizarre. First of all I posted a rant on the (excellent) Angela Philips article about Christa d'Souza. It was quite tame and gentle really. By our standards.

I went back an hour later and they'd edited all the insults out.

I went back a couple of hours after that and it had been deleted entirely! Methinks someone had a word with someone...

Awww, sensitive little souls that they are.

minxy said...

Keep on pissing off those Guardian moderators! Comment Is Free? Pah!

Christa D'Souza, like Liz Jones and her tossy ex, are not actually journalists at all, just people who largely write about their own neuroses for cash. The more neuroses they reveal, the more money they make, and the more neuroses they stir up in others.

Anonymous said...

This is a fantastic blog. I encountered OWM for the first time at the weekend and was utterly bemused by it. I remember thinking precisely "Surely this is some kind of joke?"

Interval Drinks said...

'Tis not a joke sadly. I couldn't make up my mind whether to laugh or groan in despair when I saw the cover of this month's issue.

Anonymous said...

Glad you liked my blog on Comment is Free. Sorry you were edited. I think they are trying to be even handed - most of the offensive stuff to date has been men adding their thoughts to all the women bloggers - rather like dogs pissing on lamposts to indicate that they 'own' the territory. It was great to see yoy there - hope you will keep it up.
Angela Phillips

Spitting Mad said...

Thanks everyone. Angela - we're honoured! My final word on the CiF biz is that whoever works as moderators on the Guardian/Observer online site should be really, really, really grateful that they don't have to moderate comments on OWM.

Then again, if they allowed comments on OWM we probably wouldn't be here at all. That'll learn 'em.

Belle de Jure said...

Fab blog!

I had expected better from The Observer than to give credibility to such regressive nonsense. Quite apart from anything else, it is a sensible sales strategy? I suppose if it winds people up then it is, but women who think like this are surely more likely to be reading the tawdry mags mentioned here, and not broadsheets.

Complete lack of imagination in my view...

Eden said...

love reading this -- it so confirms my feelings about fashion mags in general and this one in particular.

BLTP said...

This page is great labour saving device. It saves me ranting and is jolly entertaining as well. When OWM doesn't come in plastic bag I try to leave it in the shop or re-cycle it on the way home. Keep up the good work.

Urban Chick said...

oh gawd, did i miss it again?

when i say 'miss', i mean 'fail to buy and feel retrospectively very happy'

Jude said...

I have banged on about the horrible irony of this cover being a copy of a classic Nova cover here - It's so depressing that OWM thinks it's Nova for the 21st century.

And by the way, all women and men here – I'm working on a magazine project at the moment that hopefully will render all your frustrations with women's mags history...if you're interested pop along to my blog and introduce yourself.

And I can't wait for more, Spittingmad!

Anonymous said...

Ha ha ha, just been directed to your very funny blog. I am 45, I shop on ebay and in primark, have no kids, and never do yoga. Fortunately I'm not bothered by any of these because I've given up reading The Observer. Mind you they have a track record - I know several people who stopped reading it way back when they featured a couple who were moaning they couldn't afford champagne because of high house prices. And how about all those articles about how burlesque/bisexuality/etc etc blah blah are the latest trendy thing? Oh and the short lived sex column? How about a magazine for intelligent human beings Observer?

anon1 said...

What a relief to find this site. When Observer Woman first came out I thought I was the only woman in the world to hate it. Then I found another, and another...and now this site! Even accepting that it will be about fashion and lifestyle (as these things invariably are) I don't understand why there isn't a more imaginative spin on these things - or a playfulness and humour - or the other side of the story. But no. It is just more of the same old same old you get in every other lifestyle and celebrity mag. Except blander. It is like being trapped with a particularly vacuuous self-obsessed female friend who isn't even an entertaining gossip.

I am fed up of the media not representing older woman in positive terms. I am fed up with women being told they must aspire to nothing but youth and beauty rather than being interested in things outside one's own appearance. I am fed up with women being told youth is beauty for that matter.

Nothing against sex articles or burlesque. I would have nothing against an article about women's obsession with age either if it actually explored the issue in a more interesting way and did not always confirm the usual. There is nothing that challenges or questions in that magazine.

charliegrrl said...

I love this site- thanks for doing this. The OWM is so patronising thinking that all us women care about is makeup, diets and fashion.

Anonymous said...

Thank you - I couldn't even buy the paper when I saw this..

rivergirlie said...

that article was skin-crawlingly awful - as it the 1661 column in the s times. can't this kind of claptrap be restricted to just one paper at a time? i'm suffering a surfeit of de souza

Anonymous said...

I love this site. I don't think that I've ever been made so angry by a magazine as I was when I found that travesty of an issue with the 50 misogynists who know how to exploit women bullshit in my copy of the Observer.

I'm never buying the Observer again. They must hate their female readers to try and palm us off with this fembot brainwashing.

Gemma said...

Body Dysmorphic Disorder = a living nightmare of delusions, hysteria, depression, and inability to objectively assess one's appearance. A label not to be applied lightly to someone on the grounds that they want to look younger than their age. Thank you.

falldownquick said...

I've been disturbed by that Christa d'Souza article for months - what the fuck was it about? BEING COMPELTELY BONKERS! Good to hear I am not alone.

Anonymous said...

Just stumbled on this article and the Christa D'Souza one. Interesting to read that vanity is global. I thought it was just the women of the OC who are Botox addicts lol.

To hear D'Souza talk, 47 was ancient. When one considers that people are living past 100 nowaday, if you ask me either being ashamed or overly self-congratulatory about turning 47, 48,49, 50 is really self indulgent. I'll keep taking my beauty "tips" from Proverbs 31:30-31 over the Observer or beauty rags any day of the week.

Also, i think she looks ridiculous in that outfit. Terribly out of style and actually ages her more IMO.

Buy Cialis said...

I really don't care this, my wife and I have two children, when I met her she was so beautiful in this moment she is 44 years-old, and look as a 25 years-old women, still beauty as the first day. said...

Really effective info, lots of thanks for the article.