Why Do We Hate Women’s Magazines? They Gave Us Our First Lesson in Feminism After All

Gender

Why Do We Hate Women’s Magazines? They Gave Us Our First Lesson in Feminism After All

Illustration: Shruti Yatam

I

still remember the first time I fell in love. I was walking to my 10th-grade Hindi tuition when a sexy woman stared back at me from the cover of a women’s magazine in a second-hand book store. It wasn’t just any old desi women’s magazine with recipes of sarson ka saag and sage advice on how to be a sanskari bahu – it was a glossy, sophisticated, “imported” magazine.

“10 Ways to Make a Man Weak in Bed,” it screamed on the cover, next to a model wearing a red evening gown with a thigh-high slit and seven-inch heels that made her look impossibly tall and commanding. My Lady in Red looked like she had a million dollars in the bank and had men falling at her feet wherever she went. Immediately, the 15-year old me knew that I wanted to be like her because she looked like she never worried about boring things like conjugating verbs and remembering the difference between rabi and kharif crops. She’d probably flick a middle finger at anyone who told her she wasn’t right.

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