Faking It

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A panel discussion on the state of women’s magazines was being covered last fall by Liza
Featherstone, a writer living in New York City and author of “Faking It: Sex, Lies, and Women’s
Magazines” for the CJR. When the topic of what ails women’s magazines came up, senior editors
from women’s publications as well as writers were present. The most aggravating issue facing
women’s magazines, according to one editor, is not their reed-thin models or their dwindling
advertising income, but rather how much they “lie about sex.” Everyone nodded in accord when
the disclosure was made.
The book investigates how idealized portrayals of sex and relationships can be found in the
glossy pages of women’s magazines, which can be at variance with actual realities. It explores
how these periodicals’ content is shaped by marketing tactics, cultural norms, and societal
pressures. Readers are urged by Lee’s work to critically evaluate the ideas and imagery they
come across in women’s magazines and to take into account how these ideas may affect how
they see themselves and the people in their lives.
Overall, “Faking It” is a provocative examination of the nuanced connection between media
portrayal and women’s lived experiences, particularly in the areas of sexuality and relationships.
For anyone with an interest in media studies, gender studies, or cultural critique, it is still a
worthwhile read.
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