The Olympics according to the Glossies – Part 1.

One of the main reasons this blog came into being was because we were so fed up with the way women’s sport was portrayed in the media.  Not just through the general lack of reporting, but in the way that when stories did appear in the press, they seemed more focused on the female athlete’s social life or fashion decision than what they had achieved on the field.

In the same way, women’s glossy magazines, where the reality star rules the pages, barely acknowledge female sports stars so we here thought it would be interesting to see what they magazine’s managed to feature over the high profile Olympic Games.

First up : Cosmopolitan

Cosmopolitan, for the fun, fearless female. To give Cosmo it’s due, in the run up to the Olympics this was the only glossy landing on my desk with an actual real live Olympian on the front cover. The beautiful Jess Ennis grins out, accompanied by the title ‘Jessica Ennis: On fighting for her dreams’ and surrounded by other story headlines such as ‘Fashionista! Get Celebrity style on a high-street budget’, ‘Bodylicious! 24 REAL women dare to bare!’ and ‘Men’s secret desires: get inside his sex brain.’   Because yes, as I open the magazine and begin to read the interview with Jess I am told that this is Cosmo’s ‘Body Confidence Issue’ and therefore who better to front it than someone healthy, strong and beautiful.  Cosmo’s target audience are 18-30 year old women who, with images of perfect air brushed celebrities greeting them every way they turn could use some good positive body image role models so credit where credit is due.

The interview itself is pretty generic, with Jess giving her be-the-best-you-can-be tips and backing up with bits about her life, followed up with the regular ‘Cosmo quiz’ where the interviewed star fills out a quiz sheet, answering such challenging questions as ‘My underwear drawer is full of:…’ .  Also there’s an interesting editorial choice in this feature by the way where they decide not to finish the interview and instead cut if off mid-sentence.

The interview is then followed by ‘The Real Olympic Spirit’ where female Olympic and Paralympic athletes share their stories of how they became involved in their sport or how it has given them confidence in themselves.  And then that’s it for the Olympic feature in Cosmo, eight pages out of 210…

Next up: Grazia Magazine

Grazia astonished us all with  having five pages dedicated to the Olympics and the opening ceremony.  There’s a feature on The Duchess of Cambridge’s outfits worn for all pre-Olympic outings, a piece about the rich and famous coming to town to throw Olympic parties in their Olympic sized Yachts, there’s even a low down on the opening ceremony, describing the majority of the performance right up until David Beckham’s entrance. Because anything that happened after that i.e. the lighting of the Torch (the symbol of the games for over 3000 years) and the messaging of inspiring a generation isn’t really worth the column inches is it.  Who needs inspiration when we have David Beckham on a boat and celebs throwing parties.  And talking of column inches, the ever focused Grazia even goes as far as to allow the female ‘Olympic Heroes’ of the games a whole 7cms of space with little descriptions of the brightest stars of Team GB, such as Rebecca Adlington and Victoria Pendleton.

Of course this isn’t the magazine’s only mention of the athletes taking part at the games, don’t be silly, it’s the Olympics, so Grazia dedicates a whole other page to our sporting stars.  This section is a wonderful take on the usual ‘Chart of Lust’, which, for those who are not familiar with the workings of Grazia, is, in their own words, a list of the top 10 celebs Grazia staff ‘love, want to tweet and, yes, even ACTUALLY be.’  Renamed for the honour of the Olympics, ‘Chart of Lust’ has become ‘Chart of OLYMPIC lust’ and features their view of the top 10 athletes for London 2012.  You’ll be pleased to know that David Beckham took the top spot, despite not actually being an Olympian, whilst position no.2 showed Grazia’s charitable side by being awarded to Brazilian diver Hugo Parisi as an alternative specimen for all the poor readers ‘who find letching after 18-year-old Daley a little uncomfortable’ (their words, not mine.)  Interestingly Daley is in 4th place and is apparently already a regular feature on ‘Chart of Lust’ because, well divers have fit bodies right?  The list basically runs between hot men and sports women who, whilst being good on the track/pitch/field also happen to be really pretty and into fashion too, such as USA football’s Alex Morgan or Maria Sharapova.  It doesn’t even matter whether they’re actually competing at London 2012 or not to make the list, so long as they are pretty.  Aussie hurdler Michelle Jenneke is in at no.7 because although she’s not competing, she has a sexy warm up routine that made her a YouTube sensation. That spot could have been filled by the eventual twice gold medal winning Laura Trott, Judo sensation Jade Jones or history making Nicola Adams who were all competing at the games, but well, they haven’t been filmed doing a sexy warm up routine.  Next time girls, next time.


Image from (thanks!)


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