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August 13, 2007

Racy Redbook

Redbook
When one thinks of racy articles and bedroom tips, Redbook isn’t the first magazine to come to mind. But a writer at a Christian website finds recent reading in the July issue of the women’s magazine a little too titillating to take:

I’ve referred in the past to modern-day women’s magazines as a
bellweather of cultural decline, but I think it’s worth repeating.
Sitting in a doctor’s waiting room leafing through magazines, as I was
recently, can end up being an eye-opening experience. And even if you
can handle it … or just decide to stop reading … imagine your young
teenage daughter picking up that innocent-looking women’s magazine.
What behavior will she end up believing society condones?

When I was a child, I remember looking through the magazines my
mother had around the house. I don’t think she ever gave a second
thought to what I might come across, nor should she have. My, how
things have changed.

But back to Redbook‘s July issue …

In a section titled "Handbook: Your Sex Life," there are 56
suggestions for how to "feel sexy in a flash!" Here’s the subheading:
"Whether you’ve got a free hour and a hot partner in crime to share it
with or just a precious few moments to yourself, it’s a snap to unleash
your inner vixen with these steamy to-do’s."

I contacted the PR person at Redbook asking whether they’d like to make any comment about my contention that women’s magazines have shifted dramatically toward more graphic adult-oriented material, and that so much of it is non-kid-friendly. After inquiring where this column would appear, she pulled up the website while I waited. I can honestly and without exaggeration say that her voice dripped with disdain when she asked if this were some kind of "Christian activist website." I explained that it was, indeed, a Christian website … and I was, indeed, a Christian. As of this writing, I haven’t heard back.

Sex, titillation, and yawning at immoral behavior have always sold magazines. But they used to be the kind that came in brown wrappers, not the kind that sit on kitchen tables and in doctors’ waiting rooms.

So beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing — or in this case, vulgarity and immorality all wrapped up as "great news and information you need," to quote Redbook’s editor-in-chief.

Have women’s magazines–even the not-so-sexy ones like Redbook–gotten more and more salacious with time? Has it gotten so bad that you wouldn’t allow your young ones to flip through an issue? Or is this writer’s concern much ado about nothing?

The estimable Mr. Magazine recently noted that Redbook subscribers got a different cover than readers who bought their July issue on the newsstand. Single copy buyers got a "sex tip" from the ever-perky Kelly Ripa, but subscribers got a "love tip." Perhaps Redbook is sexing up their image after all. I’ve heard that sells.



About the Author

Michelle Ryan
Michelle Ryan
Michelle Ryan is obsessed with good food, great shoes and Alabama football way down South in Savannah, Georgia. She hasn’t met a kitchen gadget she hasn’t at least thought about buying (trying them is another story) and devotes her time to Bikram Yoga, baking and trying to overcome long-held finicky eating habits.