One of my New Years resolutions was to purchase magazine subscriptions. Consumerism wasn’t my resolution, but staying educated and up-to-date was. I chose two magazine subscriptions, Vogue and The Economist, and am back-and-forth about a third, Women’s Health. The first two just made sense, Vogue because I’m a woman and The Economist because I’m passionate about history and politics.
Vogue was an obvious choice because it’s the seminal fashion magazine, but I’d go even further than that: it’s the women’s magazine in any subject. Apart from being a monthly accumulation of fashion photographs and current trends, Vogue helps shape our modern (North American) culture and shapes feminine identity around the world. On a less serious but more personal level, I’ve been living in my apartment for two months now and the decor in this twenty square-foot space is still exceedingly sparse so I’ve taken to taping up Vogue spreads to add colour to the place. Anyways, to commit to a Vogue subscription was a no-brainer, and today I received my second copy! Here’s what I thought:
Leslie Jamison, an American novelist and essayist, wrote a personal and almost-too-easy-to-identify-with article about her experiences as a shy and awkward girl in high school. In “The Escape Artist” Jamison discusses how she constantly felt out-of-place, at a lack of words and thus invisible in high school, and how drinking and running were the two activities in which she sought refuge and felt safe. I’ve loved running for a while, it’s been the only physical activity I can perform well in and I love that you can be isolated yet feel as part of a group when running. Drinking helped release parts of Jamison’s inhibited personality, just as running did, which is so cool to think about because they’re such different things: one’s communal yet degrading to your health and wellbeing, while the other offers community in an individual pursuit and fosters mental and physical wellbeing. It was an interesting take on the awkwardness of adolescence, and how different people come to terms with themselves in different ways.
”At a time of year when we’ve got love on our minds, we thought it worthwhile to look beyond the hearts and flowers at what’s behind this emotional pull. More than ever, we’re all seeking connection with the world—as as we’re discovering more and more with each passing day, family means more than simply genetics. It’s about whom we’ve chosen to spend our time with, and why. There are as many ways to express this as there are ways to express your individuality: It’s about who’s advancing a forward-thinking way of life, from people changing the world around them for the better to a model mom—or a Grand Slam mom. What’s not to love about that?”
I absolutely love and vibe with this quote. For me my family has always been the people I surround myself with. Friends have always been my family and I’m a firm believer that you choose your family, and family bonds extend past your immediate, blood-related family. It’s not about keeping your circle small per say, but it’s about intentionally choosing who you spend your time with and why you surround yourself with those people. Moving to a new city has especially made me think about who I want to include in my circle and why I’ve chosen those people: they inspire me, they’re good-natured and hard-working individuals who carry themselves with integrity and live healthy lives, and at their core they respect themselves and those around them. In the piece “Stronger Together” Vogue looked at a few people, including Minnesota House Representative Ilhan Omar who said that, for her, family includes “the constituents of her Minneapolis district and the many marginalized groups with whom she identifies as a black female Muslim immigrant.” I loved that because family is not just a group, but its a sense of connection and identification. Those who you identify with are part of that familial sense of bond, trust, and kinship.
The February edition of Vogue included a long piece about Tony Kushner’s play “Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes.” I haven’t seen the play nor had I heard about it before reading the article but here’s what I gleaned: it’s a play about AIDS in America circa the 1980s, sexual relations and the themes around being gay, conceptions of masculinity and femininity, and coming to terms with one’s self-identification. According to the article, “American Beauty”, “Angels in America” is “an intimate portrayal of isolated people struggling to change and grow and connect. At its heart is the drama of two unhappy couples.” Each individual represents issues wider than themselves that are salient on a broad level, both micro and macro. “The play speaks urgently to the moment in which we live—not least in its warmings about climate change and the angels’ anti-imigration rhetoric.” As a lover of politics and history, and the political issues and themes in our age, I can safely say I’ve added this play to my “Must Watch” list. If you’ve seen the play tell me about your thoughts in the comments!
Have you read this month’s edition of Vogue? If so, what did you think? Share your thoughts below 🙂