token girl: like a girl, but better

Wednesday, 7 September 2005


when grazia launched i was as cynical as ever about what purpose ANOTHER glossy mag could serve in a market saturated with rags peddling the same merchandise, the same trends, the same faces and the same stories written by the same people who've been propping up emap/ipc/natmags for the past two decades.

since then they've splashed with exclusive after exclusive, the most sensational (because it happened, not cos it actually was sensational) of which was madonna's only UK magazine interview to promote her latest children's book in june. this week brought another exclusive UK-only interview with another style icon - the inimitable, acronym-only SJP. so far i can't help but like grazia - and judging from their abcs i'm not the only one.

being a weekly, they're obliged to mix the kind of content which is a staple of the traditional monthly - expensive fashion shoots, in depth designer profiles etc with having a go at current affairs and 'real-life' stories. this week it was the news section that bothered me. they could hardly ignore the past week's events in america, but their coverage was somehow inappropriate. it's hard for any magazine of this nature to deal with serious current affairs and it's brave if slightly pretentious of them to even try. they chose to illustrate the news with the now familiar photograph of a group of five or six new orleanos carrying armfuls of sportswear and boxes of sneakers from a clothes shop spectacularly spread across two pages.

in a magazine that gleefully promotes wanton object-lust after everything you can never have(key cover line 'you can't live this week without a pink cropped gap blazer!!!'), why choose to illustrate a serious story with such an ambiguous photograph as this? i AM NOT disgusted by the stealing/surviving/interpret as you wish. i WAS disgusted to read in the first days after the flood that walmart, by my rough estimates the richest retailer IN THE WORLD was donating $2million (yes dollars) to the recovery operation. gives a whole new meaning to bargain hunting.

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