Greedy Goblin

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Our sister

Blog update: don't miss tomorrow's post. Very closely WoW-related and directly gold-related post incoming!

I checked out older Daily Blink comics and found the "Our sister" an WoW-version of Cosmopolitan magazine, which is targeting young and single women. The sections of the magazine are "hair ideas", "makeup tips", "fashion" and "relationship advice".

Of course it's not the only magazine that does it, there are dozens of clones in several languages. In my young years I was a busy reader, because I believed it holds women's secrets, stuff that can be used to understand their thinking. Well, all I found is nonsense with photos that could go to Playboy too and lot of advertisements of terribly overpriced useless crap.

But the weirdest part wasn't the simply useless gossip about "celebrities". It was the "relationship advice" part. The advices seemed totally wrong, but to be sure I asked several guys and they all agreed that they wouldn't even think of dating with a "cosmo-girl" besides for fast one-night-stands.

OK several magazines give silly or useless tips, but these cosmo-like magazines seem to give pinpointed bad advices. Their suggestions were all very effective in one thing: making even medium-term relationships impossible, however creating lot of one-night-stands. For long I believed that "relationship" is just a politically correct term for "sex", and simply discarded the magazine as "women's Playboy", something that targets people who want easy sex.

The surprise came when I found this magazine at a "decent" woman's flat. I was a bit upset that she reads such shit and dismissed her original "I read it for interesting the articles" the same way as a woman would dismiss a man claiming the same for Playboy. It took some time until she convinced me that she, and many of her friends really believe that this magazine help them find what they really want: successful long-term relationships. She was honestly shocked when I asked her to accompany me to a geeky Counter-strike party where I asked clanmates to read the relationship-part of the last issue and tell her what they think about a woman who acts this way: "bitch" and "whore" were the common comments.

I became really interested in this business paradox: there is a magazine that is obviously financially successful, despite being totally useless, strike that, harmful. Took some months (and lot of money to get old magazines) to figure out the key point in the strategy: most women believe that sex is connected to love, while every men (and some women) know better.
  1. The magazine promises relationship to the customers so they give it a shot
  2. The magazine delivers sex to the customers
  3. The customer is amazed by the quick success and gets faith in the magazine
  4. The "relationship" breaks, as the guy never even thought of it as a relationship
  5. The customer believes that the later failure happened because she wasn't good enough cosmo-girl
  6. She tries harder by following more advices, and buying the advertised goods
  7. GOTO 2
Please note that the advices must be bad, as if the customer would get a successful long-term relationship, she would no longer need advices and no longer have disposable income to buy the advertised crap.

I forgot the damn magazine long ago, and was pretty upset when I found the Daily Blink version. It shows that this magazine is well-known in the WoW community (no point making a joke on something no one understands). I hoped that at least geeks know better. Of course it was a stupid hope, after all big part of the "community" can't even outdamage the tank. So, take a good goblinish advice: if something wants to sell you overpriced crap, it's not your friend. This magazine has no other good use than making fire. Its paper is not soft enough to be used in toilets. And its contents make it very-very bad for reading.

PS to feminists who would comment "women has the same right for easy sex as men": of course. But the magazine is not subtitled as "for young sex-hungry singles-for-life". Also, before you comment "you imply that a woman who lives that way is indecent": I do, but I use the same standards to men.


Anonymous said...

The Wow magazine is a spoof. It's meant to be taken ironically, not literally.

Anonymous said...

wait, you think a relationship is better than just casual sex? or rather look down on those that choose the latter over the first?

how social of you, and how unexpected.

Yaggle said...

I think that the reason that young women make the mistake connecting sex and love is that the connection that they are imagining actually takes years to form. They want to make their fantasy come true right away and the magazine seems to give them ways to make this happen. When they cannot make this fantasy come true, often they decide then that the men have been taking advantage of them. The problem is that they were never in touch with reality to begin with, no thanks to such magazines.

Anonymous said...

Several years ago I've read a couple of Cosmo issues and marked it as a "total useless crap". But I've caught main ideas like "style advices", "interview with a celebrity" and so on, and then made a Warhammer40k version of a Cosmopolitan cover.

My point is: laughing at a Cosmopolitan cover parody does not imply reading the original magazine regularly and liking it.

Andru said...

Am I missing something? It's very unlike you to get angry at stuff on principle.

Now then, Cosmo is well-known. No seriously, you'd have to be living in a wartorn thrid-world country to not at least have heard of it. Since people playing WoW have at the very least an internet connection, I assume this is not so.

Thus, a humorous spoof on it is pretty much understandable. In fact, had it not been for its reputation for stupid advice, a spoof on it would have become an in-joke among the enlightened, and hardly suited to a large-audience strip like TDB.

Now then, what can I say? It seems odd you had to buy a lot of them to figure out it's stupid. I mean, I've had my doubts when seeing that half of it is advertisments despite the magazine costing a ton. I admit I was baffled at its success, but I just dismissed it as some kind of time-space continuum weirdness.

As for the writers deliberately writing in bad advice? Uh... well.
"Never attribute to malice what can be attributed to stupidity." Maybe the CFO and the CEO, and some other top guns know that they sell an useless, detrimental magazine, but they keep it to themselves.

In fact, I bet that the writers/editors genuinely believe the crap that they write. I am reasonably sure that the average age of the writer is somewhere in the 20's hardly any life experience under them, and wanting to work for Cosmo out of love for their favourite magazine.

Well, I forgot where I was going with this.

Perhaps the advent of the internet would enlighten the people, but with the growth of Facebook and equally idiotic behaviour that can be found therein, I have my doubts about that.

Anonymous said...

What do you think about the equivalent mens magazines?

Jumina said...

"it shows that this magazine is well-known in the WoW community"

Geeks like TV comedy series. This reminds me the one from a fashion magazine office. Anyway its a good joke and men often make jokes about women magazines.

What surprises me is a goblin would call somebody "indecent". And I don't think guys calling women "bitch" or "whore" are good advisers.

My married friends usually don't talk about love and don't call women "whore". They talk about sex and how they love their children.

chewy said...

I did a quick search and found this article that shows in the UK sales of "Good Housekeeping" and "Women and Home" increased by 3% and 5.5% in the same period that Cosmopolitan declined by 9%.

Obviously I can't tell if this a trend or simply a blip but it would suggest that the magazine doesn't influence lifestyle rather that lifestyle influences the sales of the magazine.

If this is true, which I believe it is, then most women will make informed decisions about what they read based on their own feelings and lifestyle choices. You seem to be suggesting that women are so gullible they'll simply buy it, believe every word and act accordingly. If that is what you're suggesting it's a very condescending point of view.

Rades said...

You relating a Cosmo-style magazine to players at a Counterstrike party isn't a valid comparison. You are comparing two completely different demographics. The audience a magazine like Cosmopolitan is aimed towards is not generally the type of reader who would commonly hang out with/associate with/date people at a Counterstrike party, and vice versa. I think most readers of Cosmo wouldn't care at all what Counterstrike players thought of the articles in the magazine, because they're not interested in the players to begin with.

Gevlon said...

@Andru: I'm not claiming that random slave in the box has any idea about anything. I'm not even claiming that the CEO knows it, it could happen completely evolutionary: someone wrote such crap because she was a moron, the magazine sold well, she got promoted, spreading her culture.

@Spinks: there are no male equivalents. No man READS Playboy. They just open the centerfold and jerk off.

@Chewy: recession does that. In the same time in men's eyes the values of "keeping household" and even "having own job" increased when seeking female partner while "be beautiful" decreased.

Gevlon said...

@Rades: if the magazine implies that wide segment of women has a chance to date a millioner, isn't it equally liar? By definition the average woman can date the average man.

chewy said...

@Gevlon - I can't see how you can resolve those two arguments. Women that are looking for easy sex ("whore" & "bitches" as described by your clan) are now turning to housework and homekeeping in a recession in order to achieve the same ?

Sorry, but that smacks of a misogynistic attitude to women rather than a logical argument.

Anonymous said...

Mm, I'd say there are male equivalents.

I saw something like Men's Health being adverstised a while back and it looked exactly like cosmo for men. Then there's all sorts of fitness etc. magazines and if you ask me, the advice for men on how to build up muscle is pretty much serving the exact same purpose as advice on losing weight or doing the perfect makeup is for a woman.

And you definetely can't say cosmo is women's playboy - that's romance novels.

In any case while you can say a lot of the advice in cosmo is aimed at getting aboyfriend etc., at least at much of it is aimed at making you compete better in a social hierarchy based on what you're wearing/accesorizing. After all, I really doubt any guy ever got interested in a woman because she had a nice handbag... but I bet if you go get a random mamgazine it will have lovingly spared some pages to the subject.

Rohan said...

@Gevlon, there are male equivalents. Men's Health Magazine, for example.

Andru said...

@ Gevlon and the "Playboy" reading comment.

Heh. Well, while not technical an untrue characterization of Playboy, it still boggles the mind. There's free porn on the internet of higher quality.

Therefore, there's the same question that arises. Why is it being sold? Surely, the centerfold can't carry a whole magazine, especially since traditional media keeps taking hit after hit in the groin from digital media.

There's got to be an explanation other than that.

Camiel said...

If you haven't seen it already, see that movie "how to lose a guy in 10 days". It's plot is almost identical to your topic of today: the best way for a woman to catch a guy for a night and lose him again in a couple more is trusting on the women's magazines for advice.

As far as I can judge the magazine: its fashion and make-up advice (and the advertisements too for that matter) are leagues above what the typical reader can afford, so it should not be expected that the relationship advice is aimed at your average Jane.

I would say I lolled at the blink parody, but you wouldn't approve.

Anonymous said...

Plenty of male equivalents out there: FHM, Arena, Esquire, GQ, Maxim, Men's Health. I suspect their readership is at least as large as the number of people who attend CounterStrike parties.

Venosaur said...

The goblinish focus of this issue should be the incredible facility people have to create needs that are viciously never satisfy, and the profit you can make of it.

You said "Be careful, magazines are trying to scam you on relationship-sex theme". You should said "Be careful, magazines are trying to scam you on relationship-sex theme. They're making money: BE LIKE THEM".

Liore said...

Sooo wait. You're complaining because you think Cosmo magazine turns women into "bitches and whores". Uh huh.

Do you think men who read Maxim turn into sluts?

Riptor said...

@ Chewy: It could also imply that a lot of the Cosmo Girls got knocked up
@ Venosaur: True indeed. If one creates the need himself (like paying some rogues to corpsecamp the Dust of Disappearance Vendor while selling the whole Powder in the AH at a horrendous price) and thus creates a customer base, I find that admirable. Also great, Cosmopolitan is owned by a bunch of guys….

Lisandra said...

Playboy for fapping? No, thanks. I actually have some Playboys at home (like 5 or so?), and yes, I actually bought them for the articles (that includes articles about good looking women). I wouldn't ever fap to this kind of pictures, I just find it aesthetically pleasing to read as a magazine. That doesn't mean it is a cheap excuse a la "no, I would never ever fap, only pervs do" - but I wouldn't consider Playboy good, uhm, source material for that. Not in a world of internet porn. And I know others like me.

Anonymous said...

Lots of magazines follow this scheme. I happen to be into electronic music production as a hobby and did read magazines like "computer music" for a short while, since i expected them to deliver good skill basics.
However, the tips those magazines give are completely counterproductive. For example, they go on about how great of an addition it would be to everybodies music to incorporate some dodecaphonic or serialist tone lines, since it is "cutting edge", which is completely wrong and will never lead to music people will listen to. Other advice are so shallow, that they simply advice people to buy the "right" software and use presets. Right next to all those really bad advice is the usual ads, and lots of them. In fact, its really hard to spot the difference between ad and article.

Magazines live by catering for the inexperienced newcomers and tailor their content so that those are full of hope and have very little success in their chosen field of action. They will continue buying their mag and above all make the industry happy by buying all the new crap.

Anonymous said...

reminded me of the 'why you should never pay for a dating site' article on the okcupid blog.
same reason: you having success means they lose the customer.

Anonymous said...

To the very first anonymous. The only way that the WoW magazine is a spoof is in the way that it adds the WoW elements. The actual topics ("how to get sex, lose weight, how to look good" etc.) are very much real.

I fucking HATE those types of magazines, both the men's and women's. They are only badly disguised advertisements ("buy this to feel better about yourself, you ugly skank!").

Emmanuel ISSALY said...

Interesting. You suggest that if i buy my wife a cosmo subscription, i might finally manage to get rid of her?

Squishalot said...

What an amusing blog post today.

Gevlon: it's not about whether a woman is 'decent'. You yourself said it - many women associate love and sex incorrectly. All women are looking for love. Some of them think that sex is one way of obtaining love. Those people will follow the tips in Cosmopolitan. The fact that they do associate it is simply because they're ignorant, not because they're indecent. They haven't been educated appropriately.

I'm curious how your female friend reacted after being told what geeky men think about the women in such articles / magazines.

In any event, you can easily argue that guys propogate such behaviour. If males wouldn't act indecently, then women wouldn't find 'success' with such trashy advice, and thus, the cycle would end. The problem is, males are part of the cause of the cycle, by both simultaneously encouraging the behaviour when it benefits them and disparaging the behaviour when they're not the beneficiaries.

Leifo of Kargath said...

Cosmo and Playboy aren't selling the advice or the articles. They're selling a *lifestyle.*

If Playboy doesn't exactly say "you too can be Hugh Hefner and romp with beautiful young women no matter how old and ugly you are," then it gives you a vicarious thrill. The articles in Playboy espouse a certain "playboy" devil-may-care attitude toward life, women, money, toys...

Similarly, Cosmo sells a sort of "Sex in the City" lifestyle.

You (and your clan) are probably not the target audience for Playboy, nor the targets of the women who read Cosmo.

You might not even be the target audience of the WoW magazine, which from what I understand is pretty much dated by the time it's published. It's probably for M&S who dream of some day getting their own epics and seeing content highlighted in the magazine.

It doesn't invalidate it or make it stupid, dear goblin; nothing better than identifying your target market (PvPers refreshing gems for the new season; twinks; people rolling new DK or Worgen alts and needing to level tradeskills) and then exploiting it.

Horpner said...

These magazines are definitely disingenuous. The exposé program Penn & Teller's Bullshit revealed that the articles Cosmo claims are written by men, e.g., What He's Really Thinking The First Time You have Sex, are usually written by women or at best are commissioned from men with the article's actual substance pre-defined. In other words, if an actual man writes it, he's only writing what he's been told to write.

Mari said...

The difference between relationship and casual sex is that person you're in relationship with is reliable, dependable, helpful. Yes, it's "social" to the core, "family is the smallest cell of the society organism" as some classic philosopher said. We're in relationship in hope the other person will help us cope with the difficulties of life like rearing children, surviving through an illness or taking care of basic needs like food or shelter (house), offering the same repay in exchange (I will stay for good and bad, and won't dump you when first conflict or problem appears).

People who want casual sex don't ask for nor offer "responsibility", they ask for and offer physical and sensual pleasure of sex act.

Good relationships have good sex too of course, because it's pleasurable to both participants. Crap relationships have crap sex because they don't care of one another's needs, pleasures, don't understand each other and hold grudges, still they can be bonded together by responsibilities like financial ones, raising children, or just by habit. Delusional relationships are those where you cannot count on the other person helping you at all, they would leave you for a lover or put all responsibilities on you. Yet many people are in delusional relationships because they don't know any better or something and their recipe for life is "play the martyr, sacrifice more, complain and self-pity".

Starting looking for relationship from building a castle of lies "I can't show I'm desperate, so I won't phone today", "I will buy expensive crap and borrow luxury car to impress women", "I will pay for expensive make-up, cosmetics, stiletto heel shoes to appear more similar to photo-shopped playboy girls", "I will agree to have sex on a first date so I don't get dumped immediately" is a straight way to delusional relationships where people pretend to be someone else they really are and that's why we have all those rumours "he/she changed for the worse after wedding" and lots of divorces.

People look for perfect partner while pretending to be more "perfect" than possible themselves, and when all this photoshopped reality crumbles, they get heartbroken, then try more of the same, for the same results, but in silly hope "this time it will end well".

Anonymous said...

Gevlon wrote:
"Also, before you comment "you imply that a woman who lives that way is indecent": I do, but I use the same standards to men."

I am really curious how you would justify calling people who live for fast, easy sex "indecent". Morale?

Gregulator said...

A magazine being well-known does not mean it is widely read. Every one of my friends knows what Cosmopolitan magazine is. I think that very very few actually read it.

The Daily Blink could have easily spoofed a Wall Street Journal cover (say in reference to some AH stuff). Would you then assume that most of the WoW population are regular readers of the WSJ? Of course not: they simply recognize it.

Bristal said...

I wonder what that "decent" woman would say about you if she found this blog, and discovered your penchant for MMO gaming and your ideas on a-socialism?

Magazines like Cosmo are escapes. They allow people to dream of being someone different. Most women, and many men, enjoy fantasizing about bettering themselves, even (or especially) superficially.

Not at all unlike the fantasy of purple pixels in an fantasy world full of fantasy magic and monsters.

Have you ever heard the phrase "people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones"?

Anonymous said...

I don't suspect very many actually read the drivel these magazines produce. The "readership" used to promote advertisement sales is based on # of mags shipped, not actual sales. With the insane volume of advertisements in it, Cosmo would be profitable even if nobody bought a single issue. Same as with Billboard top songs, it is based on # of albums shipped, not sales. If you have a HUGE label shipping millions of copies of a crap song.. it will hit #1. Turn on the radio if you don't believe me.

Demonstrates the old adage... Figures don't lie, but liars can sure figure.

Azryu said...

I never once have read one of those magazines, but I have been to the grocery store enough times to recognize the cover they were parodying.

Skeddar said...

There's another reason the Cosmopolitan is so successful and it's a perfectly social one:
As Zazkadin mentioned, most of the advertised objects (of which there are a lot) are way to expensive for average Jane, but by buying that magazine she considers herself a sex and the city-girl.
Which, in turn, seems to be the best a woman can get nowadays.