It's OK for intellectual feminists to like fashion

Blog title from Hadley Freeman's book The Meaning of Sunglasses : "Prada styles itself as the label it's OK for intellectual feminists to like".

The author is a bilingual fashion editor, writer and translator with a serious blog, cinema and magazine habit.

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Dear ELLE,

I take to my keypad with a heavy heart to record the end of our decade-old story. Receiving you in the post, unwrapping you has long stopped stirring any feeling in me. Page after page, all I felt was boredom, sometimes replaced by annoyance. The small defaults I used to find endearing, the inadvertent spelling mistake, the press release impersonating a feature have become an absolute pain. I’m no relationship expert but, according to the tips I’ve gathered from your pages over the past decade, it’s time to call it a day.

It had started well though. For years you were my favourite magazine, a glossy I would never imagine starting the week without (yes, you’re weekly in France). When I moved to London, you became a monthly must, a reassuring routine in a foreign land. No matter where I went, which country I visited, Great-Britain, Italy or Germany, you were here and I could count on you for a dose of feminism, current affairs and fashion.

You shaped many of my views of the world. To this day, I thank you for imparting in me, from a very young age, that the pill and abortion are not givens, that, as a woman, I’d always be treated according to double standards at work and that fashion doesn’t make sense considered as a stand-alone. I owe you partially responsible for deciding to pursue a career in fashion, and definitely responsible for all my journalistic ambitions.

Yet, for the first time in over a decade, every woman in my family has cancelled her subscription. My sister was the first to take this radical step. I can’t pinpoint when exactly I decided to cancel mine. There’s been a couple of issues so uninteresting I barely went further than a flick through, debate articles which left me feeling less knowledgeable than when I started, not to mention the never renewed tendency for sugar styling.

This might be a temporary break. I’ve loved you so much and for so long I don’t expect this to be an easy break. In fact, I still have a peak at both your French and British editions at work while weaning myself off. I’ll keep trying your ELLE Collection, which has an art direction and writing in a class of its own. For the past two years, this bi-yearly has been the only thing which kept me coming back, which maintained my hope and trust in the magazine.

I don’t wish you any harm, and I selfishly hope you’ll keep being printed for many decades. I already know you’ll be top of my present list when the next generation of women in my family comes of age. You’ll be my goddaughter’s birthday present, the day she turns 12. Even though you’ve disappointed me lately, I remember fondly how you were a great support to parental education at that age, how many embarrassing mother-daughter discussions you spared me. It’s better we split while the good memories still outweigh the bad ones.

It’ been emotional,


Picture: ELLEmagazine, Flickr user Howtedious

Posted at 12:08pm and tagged with: ELLE, magazine, first person, open letter,.

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