Writer, illustrator, collagist, and all-around witty contributor Margaret Finan pulled out all the stops for her Brief Encounters column in Issue 31: Quality/Quantity.
Finan’s take on the theme brings us to the world of magazines (a familiar territory here), specifically the feminist/post-feminist/post-post-feminist/pre-post-feminist/pre-pre-post-feme-yougettheidea genre.
Hey Girl magazine is her ode to all the editors and writers, most of whom are professional, pre-millennial women, who are getting feminism wrong in their female-empowered publications. She uses flippant language that imposes a routine belittlement and self-degradation on readers who are looking for everything from makeup tips to workplace ambition to dating tutorials. Her headlines work beautifully, not only for laughs but for the truth in their editors’ ignorance. You’ll wonder if these headlines are jokes or not.
Finan’s collage work is also telling, hitting a perfect note on the ongoing (and likely always-to-be ongoing) Photoshop debate. Why even use real models, one could ask, if photos of real women are going to be distorted to the point of disbelief. The quality of body image is subjective, of course, but you wouldn’t know that based on how the ideal is being sold to the masses.
Pictured above are five of Finan’s drafts for what ultimately made it to the page. Each one captures elements on this dialogue in entertaining and intellectual ways. Great work, Margaret!