Tuesday Go Ponder: Redbook’s Bevy of False Claims, Misleading Ads, and Shaming Women

I got an issue of Redbook in the mail last month, a magazine that used to be a pretty decent read for women and not just a bevy of advertisements for makeup and hair and weight loss. Umm, notsomuch anymore. They’ve redesigned and it looks more like an issue of Lucky (the only magazine that admits it’s all about buying stuff unlike most other “women’s” magazines that write stories under the guises of health and/or sisterhood and/or confidence). And I just got fed up. I wrote down every single page in the magazine where they tell us that we are not good enough as we are.  Ads and articles telling us that aging is bad, to look our age is bad, our real skin without makeup is bad, that it’s okay to tell us we need makeup products with carcinogens, that we are nothing without these products.  Redbook profits from advertising. Most of the ads in this magazine are for products that profit off our insecurities, that profit off of dangerous toxins, that profit off of telling us we are not okay just as we are. You may not end up reading this all the way through, but the fact is, you’ll see how intensely full just one issue of one magazine is loaded down with telling women of all the ways we are not okay to be our natural selves.
p. 4 Cover Girl “younger looking skin” old is not okay
p. 7 Roc “visibly improve the 5 signs of aging” old is not okay
p. 10 Editor’s intro “I slapped up my makeup and heels and pumped up my confidence” then “I looked past my crow’s feet…and decided that things were good” then right back to “after my deep thoughts, however, I raced home with a newly personal interest in…our anti-aging issue.”  looking our age is not OK
p. 15 L’oreal “perfects skin at pixel level” your skin is not okay as it is
p. 20 article on wearing gold cuffs “you’ll feel confident” you need to buy a product to feel confident
p. 22 article “brush away years with pretty blush” – it “makes you look young and refreshed” and “she looks like she got eight hours of sleep, ate her veggies, exercised, and just had sex!” looking your age is not a good thing, looking your age is a bad thing, wear makeup rather than get that sleep, eat that food, get that exercise, and have that sex
p. 23 “you really can have it all, and radiate a more youthful, rested appearance” if you don’t look young, you don’t have it all…old is not OK
p. 27 Iams “100% wholesome ingredients”  – Iams does animal testing and keeps 700+ animals locked up for invasive testing (there are videos showing how they’ve done horrendous things including pull chunks of muscles from them and left them to die), has had 27+ food inspection violations, get their meat from the (unregulated) rendering industry, and have repeatedly been shown by PETA and others that their foods do not meet basic nutritional values for dogs and cats.
p. 32-3 article “get head to toe gorgeous” promoting eyeshadows and body sprays you’re not gorgeous unless you use products
p. 35 L’oreal “because you’re worth it” preying on the lack of confidence in women, you need this product because you’re a good person
p. 36 article “but you look so young!” and “compliments like that can make your day” followed by makeup advice to look younger and therefore prettier – being told you look younger is the ultimate compliment, if someone knows your actual age and recognizes it, that’s bad
p. 40 L’oreal “erases the look of lines, pores and wrinkles in seconds”, “perfecting finish” you are not perfect just as you are
p. 42 article “our readers look gorgeous leaving our photo shoot” they were not gorgeous when they arrived
p. 43 L’oreal “perfects in seconds” as andie mcdowell says “it’s my new best friend” your best friend is a product, you are not perfect just as you are
p. 45 L’oreal “because you’re worth it” preying on the lack of confidence once again
p. 47 O.P.I. “wear it to show your support for all those challenged by breast cancer (go to the EWG database and find that their products contain endocrine disruptors, formaldehyde – a known carcinogen, phthalates, reproductive toxins and organ system toxins)
p. 48 article “derms shop the drugstore” – “you don’t have to blow your budget to get younger looking skin” including the following products (and many many more)
 – Klorane makup remover – includes polaxamer, an organ system toxin
 – Roc night cream – “high hazard” product for its endocrine disruptors, reproductive toxins and carcinogens, among others.
 – Dove body wash – includes organ system toxins, carcinogens from BHT and formaldehyde in the ingredients
 – Ducerin ointment – includes reproductive toxins in the ingredients, among the usual suspects
 – Burt’s Bees eye cream – includes two carcinogens and numerous organ toxins
 – Cetaphil cleanser – high hazard scores due to its parabens and more
 – Neutrogena sunscreen spray – “high hazard” with numerous carcinogens, allergens, endocrine disruptors and toxic ingredients
p. 49 Cover Girl “clean, fresh, natural formula” – top ingredients are carcinogens and 3 different parabens (endocrine disruptors)
p. 51 Listerine “no other mouthwash is more complete” – top ingredients contain reproductive toxins…that’s complete for what?
p. 52 article “Want skin secrets? Ask a Japanese woman” and recommends Hada Labo Tokyo skincare brand – first ingredient is an immunotoxin – THEN has the gall to show a white girl sitting next to a geisha, the worst stereotype of a Japanese woman. Creepy.
p. 55 Bare Minerals “hides every imperfection” you’re not good enough if you don’t have flawless skin, you’re not perfect as you are
p. 56 article “31 days of anti aging ideas” will “roll back the years” if you’re not looking young, you’re not OK – products include nail polish, skin cream, mascara, eyeliner…..and red wine WTF
p. 57 Aveeno “naturally beautiful skin begins with soy” – includes multiple toxins and carcinogens….and GMO soy
p. 61 article touting sulfate free shampoos recommends L’oreal’s evercurl shampoo – includes immunotoxins and carcinogens
p. 62 Maybelline ad touting “mega plush” lashes...in very fine print at the bottom, however, it says “lashes styled with lash inserts”.
p. 63 article touting “great prices” on handbags with prices up to $148.  i don’t care what they say, $148 is not affordable
p. 64 Mary Kay “fountain of youth” lipstick it’s not okay to be old
p. 70 article “the best jeans of your life” saying “the right pair can make you look…even younger” looking your actual age is bad
p. 71 article cont’d “shocker, she’s 46 “and she looks this good thanks to…great jeans” without this product you don’t look good.
p. 78 article cont’d jeans “ideal for extra womanly figures” so someone without curves are less womanly?
p. 80 article “everyday animal print” say that these products “make you look frisky and confident” is that what really projects confidence, what you wear?
p. 81 Essie nail polish “breast cancer awareness collection” – includes carcinogens & reproductive toxins
p. 85 Slimfast ad “get what you really want” – the #1 ingredient in Slimfast shakes? sugar.
p. 89 Abilify “may help with depressive symptoms” but you could end up suicidal, with the fatal neuroleptic malignant syndrome, seizures, motor skill impairment, or dead.
p. 94 article “go team chic” says “this time you don’t have to pretend to like the football captain to get a varsity jacket” – um, women have been getting varsity letters in sports without fucking the QB for decades…
p. 95 Advair “may help you breathe better” – but can result in more severe breathing problems, heat problems, tremors, osteoporosis, cataracts, slowed growth, thrush, pneumonia and more
p. 98 Hormel rev wraps “relentless drive deserves relentless energy” – and each wrap has just under 1,000 mg of sodium
p. 102 Special K “size sassy, you’re so much more than a number” then “110 calories or less” clearly you’ve got to lose weight, and your number DOES matter…
p. 105 Colgate where Kelly Ripa promotes “improves the health of your mouth” – “high hazard” due to triclosan, the antibacterial, as the main ingredient being a hormone disruptor
p. 108 article “three minutes to slimmer hips” –  leg lifts do not shrink your hips, sorry.
p. 111 Fiber choice fruity bites “100% natural” – 2nd ingredient is sugar
p. 119 Lyrica “can provide significant relief from fibromyalgia” – but can cause allergic swelling, suicidal thoughts, panic attacks, irritation, dizziness, and more.
p. 122 Purina dog chow light & healthy – corn the #1 ingredient, has no nutritional value to dogs, soybean hulls #2 are fillers, and #3 meat and bone meal, a dry “rendered product from mammal tissues, including bone, exclusive of any added blood, hair, hoof, horn, hide trimmings, manure, stomach and rumen contents”
p. 127 interview with “real housewife” “back on the market makeover” telling women to ge rid of giant purses because men see them as a symbol that the woman has baggage.  every single person has baggage. who gives a shit what your purse looks like if you like it.
p. 128 Enbrel “helps stop joint pain” – or can give you hepatitis b, infections, blood problems, heat failture, psoriasis, and more!
p. 138 article “do a weekend vacay for less” suggests Savannah’s Westin for $194/night.  I don’t know bout you but 200 bucks a night is not a discount rate for me
p. 141 Friskies “the grill is calling” –  Friskies Cat Food contains little animal protein. In fact, much of the protein in these formulas comes from animal by-products and meat and bone meal. By-products could contain beaks, feet, bones, or other undesirable parts of animals.
p. 173 Simply Potatoes shredded potatoes “who has time to make homemade potatoes?” really? looked up the ingredients and they are: potatoes, plus preservatives and dextrose.  hmm, can’t use a shredder?.
p. 175 Sara Lee snack cakes “everything you love” – really? top 3 ingredients are: Sugar, Hydrogenated Vegetable Shortening  and High Fructose Corn Syrup.
p. 177 Belviq “for weight loss” – but can result in painful erections, mental problems, suicidal thoughts, and heart disease. hmm.
p. 182 Ephed “ephedrine is back!” omg…meth is back!

  One thought on “Tuesday Go Ponder: Redbook’s Bevy of False Claims, Misleading Ads, and Shaming Women

  1. October 15, 2013 at 8:02 am

    Isn’t it horrible the messages we receive in print these days? I did read through each one. Most I knew before but a couple were new to me. I sighed when I came to the mascara that in the fine print says model was wearing false lashes. It’s no wonder so many feel pressured to change how they look and have poor self esteem. You really did your homework on these products.

    Like

  2. October 15, 2013 at 8:40 am

    Okay, this is AWESOME! Thank you for sharing this!

    Like

    • October 15, 2013 at 8:42 am

      Thanks! I kept thinking of that blog post of yours way back where women weren’t wearing makeup 🙂

      Like

  3. October 15, 2013 at 10:26 am

    Corporate America peddles dissatisfaction. And women are the favorite targets. I stopped getting mainstream magazines years ago because they don’t give us anything substantial, other than making us feel bad about ourselves.

    Like

    • October 15, 2013 at 10:33 pm

      “Peddles dissatisfaction” – perfect summary.

      Like

  4. October 16, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    That is quite an onslaught! and it’s not just the mags or tv shows, commercials are now everywhere and quite insidiously embedded, e.g. in teaching materials distributed freely in schools. So: how to tell publications that we don’t want that sort of ads? Any creative suggestions?

    Like

  5. October 18, 2013 at 11:20 am

    I used to love women’s magazines, but I took a break for awhile. When I picked one up again, I was surprised at the amount of advertising. And we’re paying good money to get those ads! No, thanks.

    Like

  6. D.E.
    November 13, 2013 at 5:46 am

    This probably a reason why magazine subscriptions have been sinking and the publishing industry is in a constant state of panic. People (not just women) are no longer buying the hype (at least I think most of us no longer buy it). With greater education and acquisition of more knowledge about the food and drugs industries, people are more skeptical and grow wiser to these tricks and with this knowledge comes the realization that it all paints a pretty unsavory picture.

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    • November 13, 2013 at 9:49 am

      Unfortunately I doubt that’s the reason why sales have gone down in magazines – that’s primarily due to the Internet. Actually Redbook used to have a lot of pretty good articles in it but now they changed their format to focus more on cosmetics and fashion – so I’d say they’re doing this to get younger readers who are used to being force fed these messages, ya know? Thanks for your comment!

      Like

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