Archive for October, 2009

Brown Paper Wrappers

October 13, 2009

I admit that I am a magazine junkie and have more magazine subscriptions than I probably need. Every month in the mail I receive Girlfriends, Lesbian Connection, Gay & Lesbian Review, Curve, and the Advocate. There are some magazines that I have to hide when my friends come over in fear of being accused of not being “lesbian enough”: Martha’s Living, Better Homes and Gardens, Vogue, and Shape.* All these magazines have glossy, inviting (and sometimes sexy) covers. The former magazines come disguised in envelopes or wrappers with vague sounding corporate names in the return address space, and the later are covered in sheer plastic so the covers show or show off. Any exposure helps sell magazines I would imagine.
I would like to think that LGBT publishers are more ecologically minded and so use recycled paper rather than plastic. I would like to think that LGBT publishers are concerned with having my magazines arrive clean, unripped and unbent. I do believe that the LGBT publishers are trying to protect my privacy, my identity from others who might judge me harshly. I know they are covered out of fear of exposure. I know they are covered out of shame.
Fear and shame grow the same anxiety: my neighbors and certainly the letter carrier may realize that I am a lesbian.
When I was a child, magazines like Hustler, Penthouse and Playboy arrived in brown wrappers or were kept behind the counter in the pharmacy. This was to protect children from pornography and any notion of sexuality or nudity. We found that in museums and art books. But as now these magazines are in full view in the places they are sold, I guess society isn’t as concerned about rampant male heterosexuality as it used to be. And those who decide what is socially acceptable still haven’t figured out that lesbians also browse Playboy and Penthouse when they are waiting to have their prescriptions filled.
However, society is still concerned about lesbian and gay politics, art, history, music, and film or my magazines wouldn’t be hidden behind brown paper wrappers. And my neighbors and letter carrier are safe for another month.
* I know that I am making more problems for the environment, but I really do read these magazines, share them with others, and I always recycle them.


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October 6, 2009

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