There is a well-known picture that represents our humane society both past and present. It is of a man sitting at a bus stop holding a newspaper from roughly the 1940s and a pictures of a man sitting at a bus stop holding a cell phone from the 2000s. Such a picture shows that no matter the era, the actions of humans are still the same. Whether it is a newspaper or a cell phone, humans are engulfed in the entertainment and simplicity brought by the technology in front of them. Having something to read or scroll through allows an individual to be secluded from others while still being present. It is a distraction and an escape from reality. Magazines are a unique example to explore through this mindset of distraction and seclusion from the everyday world. Throughout the years, magazines have developed into such a wide range of categories and are individualized for a specific target. As children, many of us have probably had fundraisers for our school by selling magazines to family and friends. My elementary school did this, along with other sales, to raise funds for things such as donations, projects, damages, etc. We would be given a catalog with every magazine that a customer could purchase, and the options seemed endless. It was amazing how much money our school raised through such an easy fundraiser. Everyone was willing to purchase a magazine because they knew they would get their money’s worth based on how often they would turn to their magazine. With there being so many different magazine themes and targeted groups, there is literally something for everyone to be interested in or intrigued by.
Once people have a magazine, they are submerged in it’s contents. Whether sitting at home on a Sunday evening, or hanging out in the waiting area at the doctor’s office, people are amused by magazines. They sit there and read the gossip, the latest in sports, the new gardening style, the latest fashion, etc. When sitting in the waiting area, many individuals are frightened at the sound of their name being called to go into the exam room after being so in-tune with the paper product sitting in their lap.
In Sherry Turkle’s Alone Together, she states, “We are lonely but fearful of intimacy…We are psychologically programmed not only to nurture what we love but to love what we nurture. So even simple artificial creatures can provoke heartfelt attachment.” This leads to a controversial topic: pornography. One of the most well-known examples of pornographic imagery is Playboy Magazine. Although Hugh leads a very successful lifestyle, there is a potential underlying meaning to the use of such magazines. Society relies on technology for companionship and acceptance with one’s self.
Many people who read magazines are reading to be in tune with the lives of others. Ann states, “They read to find out about other people’s lives. We are all-nearly all- curious about other people, about our neighbors, about the people in the next street, about the workmen on the building site around the corner, or about the other children playing in the park” (1). Humans have a desire to know what is going on and want to feel like a part of something else, because they themselves are never good enough. Some people even feel like the life they see through a magazine is better than their own. They want to be the character they are reading about. Turkle states, “He scanned in pictures from magazines and wrote profiles for imaginary people. Then, he used their identities to begin conversations about himself.” This is just one example of the potential use of a magazine to make an individual feel a part of something better.
Magazines truly are a medium of information that is used to evoke feelings that are not present in an everyday lifestyle for some.