“I’ve stopped reading the Daily Mail”, my friend declared in a casual tone. She’s a celebrity gossip addict, a connoisseur in knowing when a reality star has toppled a London dirty street drunk. We both know her words lack meaning; she will soon educate her brain on the latest star scandals. My eyes roll, but I cannot blame her, because there’s a decline in content worth reading.
My Female Empowerment series last year, covered the post: Why I celebrate the Decline of Women’s Magazines. Amongst my points for why I celebrate, I mentioned the annoying clichés, divide in print diversity, and articles which entice a reader to feel worse about themselves – despite the pretence that magazines act as women’s go-to guide. Minus a couple, there’s hardly a magazine valuable enough to part £4.50 away from your purse. Unless you are in high-school and need print advertisements to put together a mood board – just me?
Almost every big publication targeting young women, is creating a rush to read useless information. Websites aiming for continual clicks, have substituted content for click-bait headlines. ‘This lipstick has changed my entire life’, ‘This one secret has changed my beauty routine’; ‘Do this before you go on a date’. I use to love reading articles which divulged conversation on date-night outfits and beauty routines. Today I just find them disappointing.
Especially when I have dealt with acne for 16 years and know that an inexpensive tub of cream is not going to create miracles – unless you classify a spot or two as acne. We fill our brains with miniscule content worth reading, go on social-media and read captions, then wonder why we feel mundane and insecure at the lives we lead. I’m thankful the blogging world has more to say.
As a writer – an actual one who gets paid – 2017 sprouted poor living, I’m asked what books I’m reading and what my favourites are. I began making them up, pretending a novel bought years ago has recently appeared on my bookshelf. Truth was, I wasn’t reading. My nights were spent scrolling social-media. Only when work permitted me to produce a book review, did I find the time.
Are young women reading?
I read Life Happens to Us by Guru Ashta-Deb, the auto-biography of Old Hollywood icon Lauren Bacall, and most current, a fun book called The Rise & Fall of Becky Sharp – a witty retelling of Vanity Fair. And finally, I thought, something has made me think, added depth and meaning to my life. If you’re a book-worm, this experience is natural. How many of us are reading books routinely?
Why We Don’t Read Revisited, is a fascinating piece by Caleb Crain exploring American reading habits. Without scientific data, from my personal accounts and from others, many young women are avoiding books and storing information arguably based on trivial and petite matters. I find there’s no middle ground.
There’s the news – filled with sad and terrorising stories, the ‘intellectual’ papers – filled with complex terminology on economics and health, and then the laid-back, how to make a man fall for you pieces. Women need better content worth reading. Books alone are not enough. Where are the relaxing articles that also offer a provoking thought? The pieces that challenge the sturdiest of minds, whilst being humorous and somewhat playful?
Content worth reading – Joan Didion
Collectively, where are the Joan Didion pieces? I stumbled upon her work and ashamedly waited until 26 to realise she’s one of the greatest female writers – certainly the woman I wish my work could resemble. Her career began at Vogue in 1956, moving to books in 1963 with periodical essays. Didion has an artistic style; a natural ability to make any topic fascinating.
If you are heading to 2019 with goals and aspirations, wishing to ‘improve’ yourself and work on your self-care, question where your thoughts are expanding from. Are you enjoying content worth reading?
Do you feel there is not enough content worth reading? Do you read more books or articles?