Women's Magazines – A man's thoughts from the 1980s

I was reading recently about how the sale of men’s and women’s magazines is declining due to the changing media landscape. We must now click through on-line magazines, blogs and social media to keep ourselves in touch with news, fashion, lifestyle, technology, etc. That’s all well and good but I do enjoy the process of ‘flicking’ through something that isn’t a screen once in a while. Years ago, before men’s lifestyle magazines existed, I often couldn’t resist looking through my wife’s magazines, at least until my eyes glazed over and I realised I wasn’t much interested in the content – more the graphics and the clues as to what made women tick.

I was motivated to write a poem (something I never do) about Women’s Glossies around 1980 after it struck me just how glib and superficial they were, and that they seemed to demean women and undermine their self esteem. I’m sure they’ve improved since that time with more women editors taking a more politically and culturally correct approach.

I suppose another motivation was my interest in a performance poet called John Cooper-Clarke. He was born in Salford, England and often performed with punk bands of the time including the Sex Pistols and the Buzzcocks. If you google him and his poems you will see how his punk poetry style has influenced my poem. So for those of you who are familiar with a Salford/Manchester accent, can I suggest you read it out loud in that wonderful rough and acerbic common twang.

‘Women’s Glossies’ – a poem by Paul Simpson (1980-ish)

Fashion and passion,
Reviews and stews,
Exotic places and painted faces,
The ideal garden house and home,
Set up a business on your own.
Current affairs around the world
Like Simon le Bon’s latest girl.
Sex, all you wanted to know…
How to discover the great big Oh.. Oh.. Oohhh!
How to shake it,
How to fake it,
How to bonk your man,
How to cope with herpes,
How to get an all over tan.
Win a Fiat Panda
Or a weekend in Paree.
Match these cars with well known stars
And which one would suit me ….. (entries in no more than 12 words)
You need to know what drinks are ‘in’
And how to eat and still stay thin.
Use your brain, be emancipated,
Be successful and liberated.
Make your man the perfect meal,
Dress to show your sex appeal.
See the latest fashions in glossy sensurround,
See if you look like that
When you’ve spent £80.
The thinking women’s columnist amuses and provokes,
Gives you useless facts to quote at parties
And highbrow anecdotes.
Read the in depth interview with Koo Stark…
She ‘regrets the lesbian scenes’
What now for her and Andy?
Where did she buy those jeans?
The record reviews are priceless
Like those for classical buffs…
“Sibelius is alive and well”
Strewth, who writes and reads this stuff?
Models pumping iron and getting super fit,
You would join a fitness club but you can’t afford the kit.
Enter the world of showbiz
And hob nob with the rich
Find that image right for you,
Be a sophisticated bitch!
Learn how to pose and how to act
And how to face reality –
You’re really a bore,
You should socialise more
Read, “Improve your personality”.
Turn to the advertisements right at the back,
Sex aid catalogues in plain paper pack.
Don’t forget your contraceptives,
Which ones suit you best?
And if you find you’re wrong
You could try these pregnancy tests.
Computer dating might right for you
Or if you’re shy, you could always try
A pen friend in Peru.
If you want success, learn to pass GCE
If you want bigger breasts, get cosmetic surgery.
Did you know…… real men…
Don’t wear ‘Y’ fronts,
Don’t make scenes,
Don’t read women’s magazines
Don’t read problem pages too ,
They make these magazines for you!

Author: Paul

I am a retired, married bloke, dad and grandad - growing old with attitude.

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