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HSG
10th January 2006, 20:12
<br>Let's examine a "current issue" that pertains directly to the topic of this forum.

But to get the proper perspective on it, let's approach it by way of an analogy.

. . . . . .

What would you make of a magazine cover blurb that reads:

<strong>"Why America Hates Outdated Values"</strong>?

Does such a title imply that the corresponding article will be a <i>defense</i> of "outdated values"? Or perhaps, that it will offer a suggestion about how to curb this "hatred"?

Maybe. Undoubtedly, many readers (particularly those who are concerned about said values) are meant to think so--and to buy the magazine, as a result.

However--as is often the case in the world of the mass media--what "seems" and what "is" are two very different things.

First, let's consider that specific phrase, "outdated values." This is not a neutral, impartial description of "values," is it? Rather, by characterizing the values as "outdated," the title imposes a modifier on them--an unambiguously negative one.

After all, the magazine could have dubbed them "historic values," which is more neutral; or better yet, "traditional values." In the latter case, a reader's overall attitude towards "tradition" would determine whether he regarded the modifier "traditional" as positive, negative, or neutral.

But as a modifier of "values," the word "outdated" is an unqualified attack, a one-word denunciation. It asserts that the values which the story will be addressing <i>are,</i> de facto, "outdated," rather than letting readers appraise their currency for themselves.

Furthermore, such a cover blurb implies that values <i>can</i> become outdated in the first place (which is hardly a matter of general consent), and that assessing values based on how "up-to-date" they supposedly are is a valid practice.

But the idea that values are (or can be) "outdated" is merely the contention of the magazine that features this kind of cover line--and it is a highly questionable contention, to say the least.

Indeed, the only individuals who are likely to describe "values" in this manner are those who "hate" them, to begin with.

Far from being just a descriptive cover line about a magazine story that appraises America's attitude to "values," then, a cover blurb such as this is an insidious <i>attack</i> on those values.

But even once we amend the spurious term "outdated" to a more neutral term, such as "traditional," the rest of the cover line remains extremely pejorative.

Let's consider the first part of the phrase: "<strong>Why</strong> America <strong>Hates</strong> Traditional Values."

But . . . does it? Does America actually "hate" such values? Or is the magazine simply contending that it does?

Note how the blurb doesn't frame this as a query, e.g., "<i>Does</i> America Hate Traditional Values?" but rather, overleaps this initial question, and asks <i>why it does</i>--thus creating the illusion that this "hatred" is a self-evident truth.

But it is not.

The magazine could just as easily proclaim, "Why America Hates Foreign Cars," or "Why America Hates iPods." But simply making such claims does not make them real. (In fact, both foreign cards and iPods are more popular than ever.)

The cover line, therefore, attempts to present a spurious claim as an established "fact."

And in an even more sinister way, it helps to <i>produce</i> the situation that it claims already exists (but doesn't).

Who knows how many people who have no particular opinion on the matter will glance at a cover such as this, internalize the premise of the cover blurb, and think to themselves, <i>"Oh, if America 'hates' traditional values, then I suppose that I, as an American, should hate them, too."</i>

Or worse, who knows how many people who are already inclined towards a hatred of traditional values will notice the cover line, and think, <i>"Well, I see that my 'hatred' of traditional values is warranted, since America obviously shares this hatred."</i>

The cover blurb can therefore generate "hatred" where no such hatred existed before, and, in effect, can sanction and bolster any hatred that already exists.

And finally, let's consider the subject of that cover line: "Why <strong>America</strong> Hates Traditional Values."

"America"? Who is this "America" that the magazine so casually lumps together as an indistinguishable mass?

The United States possesses as many divergent opinions as it has citizens, and much of the population--perhaps even a majority--adores, reveres, cherishes, and defends traditional values, and doesn't consider them "outdated" at all.

The premise of the cover blurb is faulty, rendering the corresponding article meaningless.

By fabricating a nonexistent single entity--"America"--which is <i>not</i> an undifferentiated whole, and does <i>not</i> hold a single opinion on this or any topic--the premise of the cover line prevents the corresponding article from arriving at the correct conclusion, which is that while <i>some</i> factions in America may "hate" traditional values, many others do not--and that many Americans actually love, and honour, and cherish such values.

On the other hand, there <i>is</i> an identifiable group that is broadly opposed to these values, and undermines them at every turn. This group is not "America," but rather, the American <i>media</i>--and women's magazines in particular.

Therefore, a more truthful rephrasing of the cover blurb in question would yield a title such as,

<strong>"Why the Media Hates Traditional Values,"</strong>

or, even more precisely,

<strong>"Why <strong>This Magazine</strong> Hates Traditional Values."</strong><p><center>* * *</center><p>As we initially suggested, this is simply an analogy.

There is no magazine currently on the news-stands with a cover line such as the one stated above.

But there <i>is</i> a magazine on the news-stands that bears an equally pernicious cover blurb:

<strong>"Why America Hates F-- Women"</strong>

And, for the reasons that we have just discussed, this assertion is spurious in every detail--and harmful, rather than beneficial.

First of all, the "women" in question are <i>not</i> "f--," and are only judged to be such by the magazine that printed this cover blurb in the first place, as an expression of its own hostility towards them. A neutral term would be "full-figured," and a positive term would be "beautiful."

Second, for the reasons stated in our analogy, this assertion can generate hatred where none existed before, and can validate any hatred that already exists.

Third, asking "Why America Hates" such women is a false proposition, because "America" does not consist of a single, united consciousness, but of millions of individuals. And by their actions, we can deduce that a majority of these individuals <i>love</i> full-figured women, inasmuch as they befriend them, date them, marry them--and yes, defend them from unjust attacks.

And fouth, if there <i>is</i> any "hatred" towards full-figured women, it is not shared by "America," but by one group in particular--i.e., by the American media, and more specifically, by any magazine that would have the temerity to print such a pernicious cover line in the first place.

Therefore, once we amend the title to remove the magazine's own bias, and to frame the question in a way that is more honest and revealing, we are left with possibilities such as:

<strong>"Why the Media Hates Full-Figured Women"</strong>

or

<strong>"Why This Magazine Hates Full-Figured Women"</strong>

or, to describe the situation most accurately,

<strong>"Why the American Media Hates Full-Figured Women (Even Though So Many Americans Love Them)"</strong>

And those questions are, without a doubt, well worth exploring . . .

Yanderis (Dorothy Combs Models, size 14) modelling for Aurora Formals, Spring 2006:<p><center><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/yanderis/aurora01.jpg"></center>

Emily
11th January 2006, 13:47
I saw the cover blurb that you mention, and was sickened by it. Can you imagine how much damage such a message must do to a plus-size woman who is borderline confident, and then suddenly is told that "America hates" her?

All that this can do is take away a young woman's vixen mentality, and replace it with a victim mentality.

The only kind of thinking that could produce such an insidiously anti-plus message is diet-industry thinking, which is trying to say to plus-size women, "Starve yourself, torture yourself, and then you won't be 'hated' anymore." (Whereas they never were "hated" in the first place -- except by the curve-o-phobes who devise covers blurbs like this.)

jonesey
17th January 2006, 23:59
I've read excerpts of this article online and the really insidious thing about it is that it's written from a supposed position of sympathy for larger women - and yet it's so negative that it can only serve to perpetuate the "hatred" it supposedly condemns. It's written like an exposť of the "terrible" way larger women are regarded/treated in our society and I think that it's quite exaggerated. It's full of statistics - and yet the stats were mostly pulled from a sample of the magazine's readers... not exactly representative of the US at large - and probably of very few men.

It's the same kind of stunt that Tyra Banks pulled. She was shocked - shocked! by the way she was treated when she didn't look like a supermodel anymore. Normal folks of all sizes are quite familiar with not always being treated with kindness.