In which my opinionated Leo side comes out

4 Oct

It’s not really surprising that I am disgusted by this article in the latest issue of Marie Claire. I am nowhere near the first person to comment on it, and maybe nobody will read this – that doesn’t matter to me. I don’t claim to be a particularly opinionated person (although I am a Leo), but when something “chaps my ass”, as my dear friend Mak would say, I’m going to write about it.

I first got interested in food/healthy living blogs around this time last year. If you’ve been reading for awhile or know me in real life, you’ll know that I used to be a journalism major. The first blog of this “genre” that I read was Kailey’s, and to this day she is still one of my favorites. What I think is so wonderful about this community is that it is composed of people from all walks of life. I was able to relate to Kailey because we went to the same school and had the same major. The difference was that it was a good fit for her. Me? Not so much – and it was through her blog and others, including “The Big Six” (PS I had never heard that term before reading this article, which leads me to believe it might have been made up) that I discovered I was more in control of my life than I thought. So many of the people behind the blogs I read have made huge changes in their lives – bigger than simply changing a major or switching schools. They helped me realize I didn’t have to stick with something that made me unhappy. In December of 2009, I made the decision to switch from journalism to sociology with a minor in psychology because I was so interested in the way people worked. Some people told me I was making a big mistake leaving one of the top journalism programs in the country. These people are coincidentally the ones with whom I don’t associate anymore because they loved to pull me down. I wasn’t going to put up with that. Switching my major was the first step in a whirlwind of changes that were to come. Some of these changes weren’t easy – I left behind most of my friends when I transferred schools, and to say I miss them like crazy would be an understatement. But, I’m going off on a tangent. If you’re a new reader and want more details, you can find them here and here.

Now, onto the point I’m trying to make.

The women mentioned in this article, as well as many other members of this community, blog for themselves. What they do works for them, but it might not work for others. Each and every one of their stories is unique and inspirational and has no doubt had a positive impact on more than a handful of people’s lives, including mine. They bravely put themselves out there, and while a negative comment here and there isn’t a huge deal in the grand scheme of things, an article like this in a national magazine unfortunately has a much bigger impact.

I have a great deal of respect for journalists who enjoy the profession and fairly present the material. Katie Drummond did not do that. We all know the freedoms the First Amendment guarantees us  (if you don’t, that’s really sad and you should Google it pronto), and  libel is not a part of these freedoms. The quotes used in this article were taken out of context and were offensive to not only the women mentioned but those who admire them and enjoy what they write.

I was never a fan of Marie Claire in the first place – it just wasn’t my thing. I know that a lot of people who read this article, however, liked the magazine, and no longer wish to read and/or subscribe to it. Though I dropped my journalism major, I kept with me my appreciation of good journalism. This article doesn’t even come close to fitting into that category. I wouldn’t have called Marie Claire “great journalism” prior to reading this article, but it’s a solid reminder that you shouldn’t believe everything the media shove in your face.

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One Response to “In which my opinionated Leo side comes out”

  1. Nancy 10/05/2010 at 10:42 am #

    The older one becomes the more one realizes how much of what is in print is so very wrong.

    Unfortunately, because we are, more than ever, spending more time reading (i.e., text messages, emails, FB, Twitter, and yes (sorry) blogs) we are becoming victims of bad/inaccurate/STUPID writing [Impatient & Hungry’s is NONE of that, by the way]. I am not dissing the written word by any means. Rather, I am dissing the snippeted word that has become such a currency in our communication with the rest of the world. The not-well-thought-out word, the reactionary word, the didn’t-take-the-time-to-look-up-the-the-correct-definition/spelling/usage-of-the-word-before-you-tweet-it-to-the-galaxy word, the this-word-is-too-difficult-to-type-in-with-my-thumbs-so-I’ll-just-abbreviate-it word.

    I guess the point I’m trying to make is that we are being trained by our electronic communication shackles to cut to the chase, leave out details, grab a reader, any reader, shock, horrify, get more hits on YouTube than anyone else. When we do finally sit down and write something more than 140 characters, however, we are still in the “look at me” mode of thinking, and therefore leave out details that, had they been included, would change the whole timbre, maybe even the whole meaning of the article.

    Ah, but that is what the very definition of journalism is, isn’t it? Influencing the reader to see your point, to be on the same page with you. Yes, there is the initial objective of writing the ‘”news.” But what if the news isn’t something that will sell your rag? So, if you need to leave out a few details, facts, to make your point, then you do. Of course, even the best, most well written journalism cannot include every detail. It would otherwise take a lifetime to write just one article. We can’t know what we don’t know, right? But, come on, try to be as objective and respectful of the known facts as possible, and don’t leave out the deal-breaker words. But that’s exactly what Marie Claire did.

    This is what I think happened…. MC editor thinks “Hmmm. There are a lot of people out there really starting to pay attention to what they eat. Hmm. And they’re more concerned with nutrition than with whether or not this food will make them skinny so they can look like the skeletons modeling the clothes in our magazine. Hmmm. This could mean that they will no longer aspire to look like these skeletons, and therefore not be interested in buying our magazine anymore. Hmmmmmmm. We need to counter this ASAP and write something about how these freelance nutrition nuts aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. It’ll make us look like we really DO care about nutrition and it will gather back to the fold those straggler readers who were starting to smell the quinoa.

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