Are you a secret feminist?

Stylist magazine continues to puzzle me. I am infuriated by its constant promotion of assorted ‘on-trend’ fashion, home and beauty items that are way out of the price range of someone who reads a free magazine, and am often astounded by the poor choice of photography and headlines that can accompany even their most well thought out articles. Yet some of the content is great and so I continue to pick up a copy every week in order to while away some time and support a growing publication. Today they did something that infuriated me but, the more I think about it, the more I wonder if it was actually really quite clever.

The cover of the magazine I was handed looked like the cover of any women’s glossy, with a dead-eyed vacant looking model showing off her airbrush perfect skin and long blonde hair. However, on closer inspection, this is merely an advert for John Frieda hair products and was concealing the real Stylist cover which asked, “Are you a secret feminist?” No, I’m not a secret feminist at all! I was so outraged at the idea of covering up the first overtly feminist magazine cover I have ever seen in the mainstream, that I ripped the ad wrap off and proudly sat on the tube flaunting the real cover for all to see as I read.

Now I’ve had a chance to calm down, I’ve started wondering if this was actually all a clever plan, or if they have even just inadvertantly done something good. After all, if you were a secret feminist, you might not be be too comfortable sitting reading a magazine whose cover shouted that fact. Inside Stylist this week are six pages of feminist thoughts and ideas (well, four if you discount the huge images), with a full page introduction, an attempt at rebranding the movement and a discussion with four ‘new wave’ feminists. If wrapping a haircare advert and several pages of mindless consumerism around that means some women who would say “I’m not a feminist but…” will read that article and perhaps start using the f-word for themselves, well, perhaps it’s not such a bad thing after all.

UPDATE: I have heard that some magazines get little or no say as to when an advertising wrap appears on their publication, so I apologise for initially getting so cross with Stylist. I’m extremely impressed that they devoted so many pages to feminism this week and hope they keep up the good work!

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