The unreasonable proportions.
The photo-shopped limbs.
The ‘What it takes to get a supermodel’s body’ solution.
The ‘Even I don’t wake up looking like Cindy Crawford’ statement.
The new lunchtime facelift in 15 mins!
The ‘Love at 39. How to find it – and make it last!’ possibilities.
The ‘promote me’ heel purchase.
The ‘Can you live without mascara?’ challenge.
The ‘Change your life. Now!’ command.
Tasked with conceiving a cover that would complement a table of contents featuring stories of lived feminism by real women, I thought about the formulas presented in popular media. Formulas set to govern our choices and behaviour. Our templates for ‘successful’ living are rigid and do little to advance gender stereotypes. Nor is there any respite in the virtual world: video games provide us with a language of gender and behaviour that seemingly ignores any advancement towards gender equality. Somehow, the archetypal but physically impossible Barbie remains the ideal.
The cover of ‘The F Word’ acknowledges all this. A DIY identikit magazine cover. Make yourself the woman you want to be. You can do it yourself. We all can. ?
‘Then by flame-light I see: I am burning/ his old easel’: read a new poem by National Book Critics Circle Award-winner Sharon Olds.