Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Hiatus over

BrambleDirt is back. I don't know if it needs me or not, but I need it.

So, what brought me out of semi-retirement? Some of you know that during the hiatus, I adopted newborn twins. They keep me a little busy. Sometimes, on our way out of Wegmans, as I'm grasping their hands so they don't fling wine bottles to the floor, I manage to grab some free reading material from the racks for later (Washington Parent, usually). This type of material is handy for quick stolen moments, but usually only makes me feel anxious. Is it too late for my kids to master Chinese if they didn't start with prenatal classes at Jabberu? How am I going to get my children into the best preschool in Bethesda? (Note: obviously I don't even live in Maryland.) Then I come to my senses and chuck it in the recycling.

Occasionally the magazine I grab is the glossy local quarterly I Am Modern. Started three years ago, it is billed as "Health - Beauty - Lifestyle for Modern Women." Interestingly, it also bills itself as "100% Reader Generated," and anyone is welcome to submit content.

Now, I consider myself pretty modern (I'm wearing a Metafilter t-shirt right now), but not by the definition of this magazine, with its ads for aesthetic dentistry, adult orthodontics, and plastic surgery. Sometimes, the profiles of local women are interesting, but the copyediting is poor, and I honestly don't care about integrating my holiday decorations with my established decor so that (God forbid) my overall personal style isn't compromised. It's not really a magazine for me, but someone must read and enjoy it, because it's lasted this long and has advertising support. (Let us not forget Ranganathan's Third Law of Library Science: Every book its reader.)

I picked up the Holiday 2010 issue a few weeks ago, and it was sitting on my nightstand with some other magazines. I read every night before I go to sleep, and I've been cranking through the complete Sherlock Holmes - all four novels and 50+ short stories. Once I finished those a couple of days ago, I started working through the magazines, and last night was I Am Modern's turn. I went to bed mad, and I woke up still mad.

The article that bothers me is Chic New Mom: Simple Tips for Always Looking Fashionable. If you go read it online, you'll note that the publisher has added a disclaimer. Apparently they've gotten a lot of comments about it. She writes, "I want to remind everyone, we do not endorse any of our contributors." Publishing them isn't an endorsement? Hmm.

I've never been a fashionable person, and I'm not a new mom anymore. I would have skipped the article, except the photo of the hipster-ish mom with accessorized baby caught my eye. She did not look like the usual target demographic for this magazine. I started reading, and came across this little gem:

You gained weight because you brought a little baby angel to the world, not because you ate too much cheese. There's no shame in that at all.

So I guess I should be ashamed because I'm fat and I didn't give birth. Okay, whatever. But then there's this:

Here are some of my basic fashion tips for new moms:

- Don't breast feed in public. I am sorry and feel awful saying it, but, to me, it really is unacceptable. I am glad that I don't see that very often, but when I do it makes me queasy. There is absolutely nothing beautiful or stylish about breast feeding in public.

This is terrible advice for new moms, I Am Modern. In my opinion, what makes it even worse is that this magazine is subsidized by lots of ads. Advertisers in this issue include Capital Area Pediatrics (my kids' doctor), Women Physicians of Northern Virginia (my OB-GYN), NOVA Pediatric Dentistry (my kids' dentist, who also has a paid advertorial about being an entrepreneur). I will be letting my medical professionals know that they may want to consider a better outlet for their advertising dollars.

Oh, and Brambleton is also an advertiser.