Comedy Editorial : The Devil Wears Marchesa

Zahra Barri loathes womens’ magazines. Despite this, she tells you why we should all be reading Vogue (and Closer magazine) right now.

So, I read ‘That’ article in Vogue magazine interviewing the soon to be ex Mrs Harvey Weinstein, Georgina Chapman. I don’t normally read women’s’ magazines as they make me want to vomit. This is common- a lot of readers are bulimic. That’s why women’s’ magazines come with a free nail polish, after you’ve been sticking your fingers down your throat you don’t half need a manicure. Further more, I read in Cosmo, that vomiting not only helps you lose weight, it also exercises your gag reflexes, which helps you please your man in the bedroom.

However now that I’m no longer brainwashed by the Patriarchy, I do not seek to read feminine publications where the only thing they encourage you to eat is your boyfriend’s dick. So, I gave up (women’s magazines, not dick).

I suppose not all women’s magazines perpetuate such anti-feminist ideologies. Grazia magazine for example pretends that its’ readers take an avid interest in the socio-political and philanthropic work of the prestigious humanitarian lawyer Amal Clooney. Yet under the guise of an essay on her almost Nobel winning enterprises, Grazia understands that the reader is really skimming the article to find what they really want to know; where the Clooneys are holidaying and what Amal wore to Meghan’s wedding.

Another pro-feminist publication that I endorse is Bride magazine. I like reading this not because I’m getting married but because it passes the Bechdel test. It never mentions men, all it talks about is wedding cake, wedding dresses and wedding venues. It promotes the feminist ideology that men are not everything. You don’t need to find your dream man to be happy, if you have your dream wedding.

Some are also uplifting. When I walk into my newsagent and catch the front cover of Closer I feel so much better about my life. Things never seem as bad as Kerry Katona’s or Katie Price’s. I never walk down the street looking painfully thin, pensive; troubled and forlorn and plagued with grievances about my 5th husband’s infidelity. I walk down the street feeling smugly empowered with the knowledge that underneath my coat I’m wearing my onesie because I’m too hungover to get dressed. Closer shrewdly administers the cathartic benefits of schadenfreude via the medium of unashamed voyeurism, all the while knowing it is a winning formula for women’s self-esteem. Just not on the woman’s self-esteem that they are photographing.

If you want to feel good about your life I urge you never to read ‘OK’. Everyone in there is saccharine happy because they’re rich and famous. Well, they’re all rich. By about page 26 for a bit of filler they’ll do a random spread featuring someone we’ve no idea who the hell they are, they’ll be distantly related to the King of Sweden or something. ‘Princess Isabella of Milmo marries the Earl of Sussex,12th in line to the thrown twice removed’ or something. Just there as interior design porn and leaves the reader baffled thinking, ‘they might be Swedish but there’s nothing Ikea about that arabesque Art Deco chaise langue.’

And so to Vogue…

Vogue has the weight of the bible and the prestige of it too. Literally speaking, Vogue is the War and Peace of magazines. It’s a classic, an epic piece of work. Like Tolstoy’s quintessential masterpiece you know you should read it, so you buy it and mean to, but really you just have it on display on the coffee table to make you look like you’re on trend and cultured. Let’s be honest the reason you never actually read it, is that well forgive me Meryl Streep/Anna Wintour (?!), but it’s so boring. I love clothes, I love fashion and I love couture (no idea what couture is but I know I like it) but even I draw the line at spending £3.99 to essentially view Kendall Jenner and Cara Delavigne’s modelling portfolio.

Yet, the idea of an interview with Harvey Weinstein’s Mrs seemed to be worth the £3.99 alone. I am, also partial to a free sample whiff of Lancôme perfume and it’s always nice to see Victoria Beckham blossom. She’s finally in an industry where she fits in because everyone in Fashion also omits carbohydrates.

So for these reasons I found myself buying a copy. What an interview it was!

A lot of cynics will say it was engineered to create empathy towards her whilst at the same time plugging her clothing line, ‘Marchesa’. I did think reading it that perhaps, Chapman could use the recent bad publicity surrounding her husband and make the proverbial lemonade? The new branding of ‘Marchesa’ could be as brash and as cutting as, ‘Material so durable, not even Weinstein will be able to tear the dress of you’. I’m sorry, too soon?

The interview did make me feel for her. I caould totally empathise. Women shouldn’t be judged on the wrong doings of their partners. I get judged by my boyfriend’s bad behaviour all the time and it sucks. The other day I got told off by my neighbour, who said that my boyfriend’s voice is too loud and keeps her up at night. Have a go at him not me! So, I’m with ya, Chappers.

This was the crotch of the article for me. Vogue manifested the loaded question of:

‘Does she deserve to be judged on the crimes and misdemeanours of her partner?’
Does any woman in fact?

And if a woman’s magazine is asking such pivotal, loaded and central questions, well then maybe I will vomit less and read more.

Albeit at the same time my empathy towards her was outshone by the way the article was written, in such classic Vogue style; evocative long form, over- descriptive, rather twee prose, I did end up feeling more visceral about Chapman’s interior design and bespoke jewellery rather than her predicament. Then again it is a women’s magazine after all.

Zahra Barri is at Reading Fringe Festival on 26th July with her new show Zahra: Warrior Not Princess, for tickets: http://readingfringefestival.co.uk/whats-on/zahra-barri-is-zahra-warrior-not-princess