Okay fine! I confess! I enjoy crappy magazines. In fact, during the summer I have been known to read everything from Allure to Ladies Home Journal to Redbook. The only place I draw the line is at purely gossip mags (those are only for reading at the gym or the doctor's office so I don't actually contribute any money or subscriber numbers to that yucky business) and those which focus entirely on sex (Cosmo, I used to love you, but then you became so single-minded!). Otherwise, most titles are fair game.
What is it about these magazines that is so satisfying? There is something about content that speaks to an old-fashioned part of my personality. Perhaps the articles address my insecurities. It's as if they are saying "you too can be a better wife/housekeeper/fashion plate/decorator/fitness/nut/friend/community member/etc in only ten easy steps!" My rational mind knows perfectly well what is going on, but that doesn't seem to matter. I still read all ten steps. I can hear the serious-minded women out there scoffing right now, but that is the best explanation I can offer.
I must not be alone. My grandmother, a PhD sociologist, was also a great reader of women's magazines. My father remembers her have stacks of them (a practice they would abhor) alongside her academic journals. Lest you think I might be in danger of growing soft-headed, I must defend myself by pointing out that I enjoy many serious reads such as Harpers, Discover, and The Atlantic. However, that is beside the point.
Therefore, scoff all you like, but I'll keep reading. There is nothing so summery as taking your glass of iced tea and your terrible magazine and sitting in the backyard. Also, while you are there, you might just learn some incredibly useful information about how to clean your grill, decorate with throw pillows, or be at peace with your in-laws. Who could resist wisdom like that?