20 years ago in May issue of the National Geographic magazine, I read an article about Robyn Davidson, a 28 years young woman who, accompanied by four camiles and a dog, crossed 1.700 miles of australian desert. Alone, facing day`s high and night`s low temperatures, loneliness, fear, doubts and wild animals....That day I realized that my efforts to fit in the generally accepted image of a woman-doll, whose only life motivation and preoccupation lay in an ambition to "catch" a husband, wasn`t necessary. It was useless and impossible, it made us unhappy, giving us nothing and taking away the most precious thing we had, our own selves. Women were and are being taught to accept to be a type, a trade mark, the latest model of the season.

From 1977 till today almost nothing has changed except that the number of cosmetics ads and more straight forward articles on sex has increased. The message is always the same: to be beautiful is the ultimate goal of every woman because only beauty can bring satisfaction and fulfilment; no sacrifice is to big for trying to be beautiful, every other interest is valueless when compared to a physical appeal, all wishes and ambitions should be forgotten because beauty ensures attractivness, love and wedding bells without which no woman can be happy or her life meaningful; career is for those who can not hope for anything else due to their looks, and those who fight for a woman as a complete person are not "genuine" women but "frustrated feminists with hairy legs". Almost desperately, the majority of women fights against being put into any category of those who insist on equality. Consequently they are making a grave mistake their daugthers will be paying for many more decades.

Leafing through the magazines for women one can not but be "amazed" how the vastness of human interest can be narrowed to a few subjects, mostly entertaining in character, from which none leads to personal growth, maturity, knowledge or fulfillment. Wherefrom springs this need for always new titles of the magazines which can copy each other`s articles as far as the quality or originality is concerned, articles which cover the same irrelevancies: diets that don`t function since we never keep them, fitness programs that we never follow, products against cellulites that don`t work, recipes that we do not try out, clothes we can`t afford or advices on love matters we do not listen to or can live by. And on top of it all, sexy, distasteful scandals from the bedrooms of the rich and the famous. What is it that we learn or gain from such texts that we are willing to waste our money and time reading the same nonsense, over and over again, hypnotized into the magical circle of dependence on trivialities as the escape from reality. If women would take the responsible and independent approach to their lives and fulfillment, the escape from reality would become unneccesary.

The offer of "glamour" magazines abroad is almost unbelievable.In circulations of several thousands to several million copies, on graphically impeccable pages, they all feature almost exclusively the subjects linked with looks: Mademoiselle, Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, Lady's Home Journal, Redbook, McCall, New Woman, Complete Woman and others. It isn`t hard to figure out the influence these magazines have daily on millions of women worldwide: the pictures of models and ads (face lifting, breasts lift, miraculous diet pills, anti-cellulites products, astrology and physchic readings) on two thirds of the magazine pages; the articles about scandals, or provocative details from lives of the celebrities; advices how to get a successful partner or maintain a happy relationship. All of them, however, are nothing but guidelines how to make your man satisfied. Not one of the magazines for women writes about the necessity for a woman to discover who she is, what are her personal values, what are her virtues and talents, possibilities and abilities, what she can become by herslef, how can she follow her ambitions and dreams, how can she find out what she can achieve by herslef, independently and with self-confidence, and finally what she as a complete human being has to offer to her partner and society and therefore has right to expect from them in return.

Can men have different opinion of women if women behave in a way to make them see how essential for their happiness in life it is that men find them attractive and for that they would unreasonably spend time, effort and money. Women are "guilty" for accepting the image of themselves as totally dependent on men, emphasizing how their lives are empty and meaningless without them, regardless of how much they accomplish and how far they`ve come. Women themselves must show that they want to be who they are, and not who they are forced to be. There are hopes in forms of new woman magazines as in: "Hues", "Mother Jones", "Ms." and many on-line magazines that started to blossom lately. They provide the oportunity of choice, regardless whether we agree with everything they write about or stand for. Unfortunately the voice of reason is usually deafned by the shouting of the vanities

Recently, my attention was drawn to the "fact" that "Cosmopolitan" had an important role in "sexual liberation" of women and that it should be recognized for that. Let us go through a couple of many similar artilces featured in this magazine: How can you make sex so good that he would be groveling, Making it good can save your life, What kind of sex men love, 7 days to sexier you, Erotic fantasies, etc.etc. According to these and many alike titles the liberation of women lies in mastering the sex techniques in order to better manipulate with partners instead of loving them. To be liberated as a complete human being means entirely to be liberated in your sexuality?

Let us accept as positive that such articles can lead to sexual liberation since they enable freedom of speech on the subjects that have been supressed for centuries and they contribute to lifting the veil of mystery and taboo from the natural physical need of all people. However, isn`t this newly conquered freedom only an illusion hidden behind the so called liberated speeches and advices, but truthfully only a hook for the naive so that the products dedicated to the "improvement" of looks could be sold? While the alleged "liberators" of women sexuality are proud of their achievements, the results are only a new market for cosmetics and status quo in mental and emotional dependence of women on their looks. I suspect that the main intention of this "freedom" from the beginning was to ensure the customers and buyers of all kinds of useful and unuseful products that bring youth, beauty and sexual appeal. Isn`t it almost tragicomical when each time a Miss of this or that is being chosen we listen to the slogans like "the inner beauty is the most important" uttered by the half-naked girls whose only goal is to be valued and priced on the basis of their physical measurments?

Thorugh a shrewd campaign of media, women are in a position to constantly worry about their looks and how they can satisfy their partners. That way they are harmless and without any influence, left in front of the mirror where the world wants them to be, scrutinizing their skin or figures. Everyday worry drains them of energy and time. Women are obsessed with their looks because they are bombarded with messages that emphasize only one aspect of human existance, sexy looks, making it paramount crown of human relationships. Therefore when you walk through the streets you will see young girls and women trying to look the same. Unfortunately there are no magazines or not enough, to show them different paths through life toward happiness and fulfilment, those that do not lead through the cosmetics shop. The magazines that will at least give them the freedom of choice.

20 years ago one single article was enough for an eighteen years old to give her hope and show her that she didn`t have to be what she didn`t feel she was. Not to follow fashion doesn`t mean not to be pretty, on the contrary, in your uniqueness it means to be irreplacable.

It isn`t necessary to walk through the desert to prove yourself. Courage and strength of spirit can be tested every day by defending your individuality. To be beautiful means to be different, to be what you are and can be, cause there is only one you in this world. If you waste your time and energy, efforts and money on tiresome and useless attempts to look like a cover girl , never once asking yourself why would you want to be somebody else, you are losing the most precious thing in the world: your life and what you could have become.

(c) NS

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