13 Jun 2010

CIRCA Magazine: Loyalty at any price

Behind the scenes 10 Comments


Circa’s Premier Edition hit the streets and drop locations around Durham Region this past May. Polling all women: did you read it? What do you think? Does it appeal to the femme fatale, the super-mom, the sex kitten, the driven corporate climber in you? Well, after reading some snippets, I too can say… I’m not afraid of storms, but I certainly am afraid for the future of feminism.  Is this journalistic fluff honestly what women want to read? I’ll let you decide for yourselves.

It certainly is…pretty. Glossy like the nail polish that can help women off the road of worry. If your nails are done, Circa supports that the rest of your life will run smoothly too. Back to the cosmetic reference; at first glance I had a kind of  ‘Avon Calling‘ feel, or maybe the journals that drug companies pay hospitals to put in the waiting rooms, but I guess as ‘retail-magazine-disguised-as-lifestyle-journals go what else are you expecting? Oprah? Come on.

Circa Magazine: Loyalty at any price is a second glance at the marketing of these types of magazines’ to the public and the image they portray. By no means am I trying to complicate the simplistic message associated with the publication by exuding any negative energy; but turning the pages on this sugary confection is an act that leaves your teeth coated long after you’ve finished digesting the contents.

Editorially speaking Circa is well-written in an easy-to-understand kind of way. The encouraging tales, whimsical adventures, and subtle endorsements could, I suppose, captivate some readers. It successfully depicts a segment of our diverse community and I say hey – ‘Let’s do lunch.’ If you are lifestyle-focused then look no further. Circa is a veritable field guide for women looking to present themselves in a certain way, and who lack the true originality to forge forward in life making their own rules and steering their own ship.

If content is King, Circa’s attempt at dispelling the ‘myth’ surrounding fibromyalgia (which many professionals dismiss as a psychosomatic condition that allows a woman who does not want to be a productive member of society a kind of ‘catch all’ diagnosis); even the list of symptoms and the coy Marie Curie quote that ‘sound bite’ the article hint at the basic simplicity of the premise of the article. Did I read the whole thing? I didn’t have to. The handy checklist of symptoms and the “Nothing in life is to be feared” quote summed it up for me.

“Haha yeah but a lot of women are like that!…its not generalizing women it’s just fun. If we made a show about business women with knowledgeable things to say all the time it wouldn’t be a hit!… It just shows what women want… drama, fashion and sex… every girl likes it because they want girl friends like that!” – CP

The institutionalizing of “One is not born a woman, one/she becomes one” by  Simone de Beauvoir (adapted) who was known as the “Spirit of Seriousness”, and was one of the most pre-eminent French existentialist philosophers and writers of her generation. Simone de Beauvoir is considered the mother of the post-1968 feminism movement, and most notably as a leader in fighting the oppression of women through liberation. By choice, she never married or had children. She died in 1986 and became as complicit through her writing as the women she herself criticized in society as a whole. She sought to radically overturn the perceptions of women but never lived up to the promise of her aim. Simone de Beauvoir’s best-known work: The Second Sex.

“As a woman (with an IQ over 130) I too was angered. Is this what my age-box gets? Jesus Christ. It’s like reading “Elevate” another horrendous lifestyle magazine about feeling and looking good–on the surface.” – CB

She would probably be rolling over in her grave today if she only knew she’d be quoted to inspire sales as a figurehead for the mantra, “CIRCA’s reader has an obsession with shopping and shoes.” Hmm, a stereotype in itself, isn’t that denigrating woman and equating misogynistic views? Or at least making the assumption that all woman, on some level, are poorly-read-sex-and-the-city-heads with little thought goings-on other than the colour of their next lip-gloss. But, I guess that is why third wave feminism (1990 until recently), embraces contradictions and conflict. – aren’t we all ‘Humanists’?

On a personal note I spent this past summer reading the writings of Pema Chödrön. Pema Chödrön is an ordained Buddhist nun, and has been touted as the modern day equivalent to Simone de Beauvoir. The goal of Pema Chödrön’s, work is the ability to apply Buddhist teachings in everyday life. Watch YouTube Video.

As women increase their purchasing power throughout the world, they’re unleashing a major change in society starting with the way they learn about and consume products. Women are the primary users of social media and while there are women out there using social media to really challenge the boundaries of what women are ‘supposed’ to do/be/make; others are using it as a soapbox to spout off beliefs about women that would make Sarah Palin proud.  Even the editors’ greeting and picture have a certain Palin-esque ideal–that glossy, made-up surface that hints to depth within. In reality, there is no ‘within’.

Funny story; I once told the Editor of Circa the story of “The Lotus Flower” during lunch. She was so taken with the story that while on vacation she had a Henna symbol of a Lotus flower tattooed on her right hip-buttocks. Now reading Circa she’s probably had it covered over with a smiley face which reads “Have A Nice Day!

Circa stacks up to what it’s supposed to be–advertising that will have you chasing the ideals and values that make you work to spend your hard earned dollars on lip-gloss, anti-aging products, shoes and accessories.

This is what a ‘Humanist Looks Like’

CIRCA Magazine: Local Magazine publishing industry is fierce in Durham

Note: Download the original rate card and you will see not only did they misquote Simone de Beauvoir, they even spelled her name wrong. If they intentionally adapted it from “One is not born a woman, ‘one/she’ becomes one” they should have still accredited her. File Created 02/09/10

What do you think about the these types of magazines? Any comments? Please add your voice in the box below.

10 Responses to “CIRCA Magazine: Loyalty at any price”

  1. Lisa Azzopardi says:

    I wasn’t aware of this magazine but as a stay at home mom I have to say that I don’t have the time to read about the latest fashion craze. I would much rather read about parenting advice or fun things to do with my children during the summer. As a mother of 2, I am lucky if I brush my teeth let alone do my nails!!

  2. Craig Waterfield says:

    I’ll have a friend get you a copy of this great local Parenting publication.

  3. Carolyn Bignell says:

    I’m too busy reading actual books to read how-to-guides to dumb myself down for the masses. Great blog Craig. Great graphics and info.

  4. Karen Sullvan says:

    I have never picked up a copy of Circa Magazine, but if it is in fact some sort of marketing vehicle, then quite honestly have no interest in reading it. I am a self-employed mother of 3. Like most Moms, I find there is not a lot of time to do the “day-to-day stuff” let alone lounging around, flipping pages to ensure I keep up with what shade of lipstick is “in”.

  5. Craig Waterfield says:

    If you click the link “Circa’s Premier Edition” it will take you to the online version. Have a good read!

  6. Paula Sparks says:

    I found this interesting. I’m a mother of 3 and currently in school getting my BA in Social Service work. I have always been a girly girly (but can still knock a ball out of the park). Going to the spa, getting my nails and hair done only empowers me more. I’d much rather leave the dishes in the sink and go shopping :)

  7. Nicole Bafaro says:

    Hmm….. As a business owner, mother and wife but most of all a WOMAN I always find that the focus is on the outside, I’d love a magazine that would focus on our oops moments and maybe some more challenges. I would love to sit down with a magazine that doesn’t make you feel like you have to be spit and polished (inside and out) in order to be a “woman”… basically, let all of us know no matter what, you are ok – even if you’re imperfect

  8. Chris says:

    Didn’t read the content, that is of no interest to me. From a pure design aspect it sure does look like another magazine this same publishing company puts out quarterly. Glad to see everything is still a cookie cutter design template. Where is the creativity?

  9. Marcy Hill says:

    We have preteens wearing thongs and crash dieting to be like “the woman” these mags tell us is the REAL WOMAN!!! However its us that bring these into our homes and put them on our coffee tables. Elenore Roosevelt said “it is not fair to ask of others what you are unwilling to do yourselves”. We as mothers want our daughters to be confident individuals who can be unique and proud. If we did not buy them, they would not make them.
    Marcy – Youth Program facilitator

  10. Circa Magazine: What DO Women Want? says:

    [...] CIRCA Magazine: Loyalty at any cost [...]

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