Things I learned on my flight to Atlanta

Here I am on a goddamned plane again, deprived of internet access and thus stuck reading whatever drivel I’ve brought with me or been able to buy at the airport candy/bad book/stupid “I heart New York” souvenir store. I’m avoiding reading a book about German militarism during World War I, so New York Magazine it is. The store had a fairly huge selection of magazines, but this was somehow the best thing I could find, which I think means that magazines suck in general. The store’s magazine displays, which mirrored those in most magazine shops, had some interesting ideas to communicate, though. There are two sections in any magazine store, the one for women and the one for men. The women’s section includes about 75 varieties of Urban Sexbot and 15 or 20 versions of Drudgery and Self-Doubt, also known as Cosmopolitan and Good Housekeeping, respectively. Then there are the decorating and cooking magazines, and of course bridal mags. The men’s section, where I did my shopping (fucking gender rebel, I am), includes a rather more diverse collection of titles. Apparently men are into stuff besides cosmetics, dieting, sexual subservience, and housework. They get to read about politics, economics, science, sports, architecture, cars, technology, music, surfing, skateboarding, and whatever woman is the chick-everyone-wants-to-bang du jour.

This (pseudo) literary segregation isn’t exactly a major discovery, but rather a reminder of the fact that women are here to look good, get porked, and wait on men. Men, on the other hand, are here to run shit and do all the interesting stuff.  This copy of New York — an ostensibly unisex publication — that I’ve just suffered through went ahead and poked me in the eye with that message, too. Besides the plethora of ads for obscenely expensive straight-outta-the-Hanoi-sweatshop clothing, tasteless faux-imported home decor, and overpriced midtown condos, the magazine also contains a wealth of information on enhancing one’s femininity… er… vagina.  The back section, as is the case with nearly every locally-focused publication, has several ads for plastic surgeons offering “vaginal tightening” surgery (a scientific term, I’m sure), something called uterine resuspension (you don’t want that fucker sagging, do you?), and perineum reconstruction (what is going on with our femme-bonches that they need to be reconstructed?). One surgeon’s office also claims to specialize in “building a Brazilian butt without the scars,” as well as calf augmentation. 

It’s a good thing these services are on offer, because from the looks of the dating services’ ads sharing the page with the plastic surgeons, women are going to need youthful vaginas, uteruses, and calves just to get in the door.  One agency, Model Quality Introductions, Inc., claims, “The most beautiful single women in the nation want to meet you!” But only if “you” are rich, because Model Quality Introductions, Inc. is an agency that only serves “affluent men seeking serious relationships.”  Amy Laurent International, another dating service with an ad on the same page, is run by “Amy Laurent & Fashion Model [sic] Alysia Ellin” and serves “successful men and the most beautiful women in the country.” If that wording is a little too subtle for you, there’s always American High Society Asian Match, “A place where affluent generous older men can be introduced to beautiful intelligent younger ladies for a caring loving relationship [emphasis in original].” These guys may be averse to comma use, but at least they’re (sort of) honest about the kinds of relationships they’re looking to create. Well, except for that shit about “caring” and “loving.”  What about men who aren’t successful or affluent? Or who don’t want to take on the burden of a long-term prostitute’s financial upkeep? I mean, who wants to commit to bankrolling a woman until she hits 27? Not to worry. The next page can steer you to a wealth of Asian women who can’t wait to give you a happy-ending rubdown for $100 or so, and you don’t even have to ask their names.

Write this down: for women, success is defined by being fuckable, and that means having a designer vagina, an appropriately-positioned uterus, an imported Brazilian culo, and a driver’s license that says you’ve yet to pass 27. For men, success is defined by being successful, which means having enough money to afford to pay someone who would never give you the time of day to let you touch them.   Write this down too: in the future, avoid magazines that aren’t Bitch.

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11 thoughts on “Things I learned on my flight to Atlanta

  1. God, I wish they sold Bitch at airport newsstands. As it is, if I want a magazine to read on the plane, I buy Glamour or Marie Claire or Elle and ignore all the beauty/fashion crap (and also often any interview with any male star–the guys they interview tend to espouse either gender essentialism or ‘old-fashioned chivalry’ at least once). It works, I guess.


  2. The articles. Interviews with female celebrities are usually good, and Glamour has their monthly Marianne Pearl article where she goes to some other country and writes about a woman who’s trying to improve something in that country. Eve Ensler shows up in various magazines, as does Katha Pollitt.


  3. I was at the bookstore a few months ago at the checkout stand. They had a magazine display with, side by side, Modern Bride and Sports Illustrated the swimsuit issue. How fucked up is that! It was sad to me, the simple disparity of what women and men are encouraged to care about. She is fantasizing about her perfect wedding and how pretty she’ll be and he’s looking at other chicks in swimsuits.


  4. Not that I disagree with the overall message here (and I understand that you DO make sweeping generalisations in order to make a point! I’m really enjoying them for the most part!) but uterine re-pinning is actually an important procedure that has very little to do with cosmetics. Post-childbirth, women sometimes experience internal-organ prolapse – where parts of their internals become, well, externals. I’m given to understand that its effects range from being mildly uncomfortable to outright painful. Whilst one could reinterpret the desire to have their uterus repinned as a desire to be aesthetically pleasing to their sexual partner, I prefer (perhaps a bit romantically!) to believe that its because of the discomfort.


  5. When I read the words for the cunt mutilation, I had to cover my happy place. Icky! No no no bad touch! Who wants to stab their Palace of Fun for some guy who cares more about how your Pretty Cabbage looks than you?


  6. Magazines are a big part of the problem. Men’s magazines, no doubt, but women’s are all poisonous filth as well. And like the story says, women can’t catch a break reading a general mag or the news paper without little, isnidious reminders eveywhere.


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