VOGUE, India and 'real life'

Hanging around in the train station last Friday, a bunch of us were looking at the magazines and newspapers. I really wanted some reading material for the train (despite the fact my backpack was crammed full of school work I had to study). And then I saw it: Vogue India. I didn’t even know India had it’s own Vogue.

If you don’t know, Vogue is one of best (if not the top), fashion magazines. I rarely read Vogue back home, but sometimes I do and many of my friends read Teen Vogue. I was incredibly interested to see what it was like =) One of the reasons I don’t really read Vogue back home (despite the fact that it’s expensive), is due to the insane amount of ridiculous advertisements and lack of substantial reading material. But in terms of the fashion industry it’s probably the most influential magazine. I never knew this side of India existed!

I haven’t travelled yet to any largely influential cities, and so I haven’t witnessed a large disparity between the rich and the poor. For the most part, I’ve witnessed quite a bit of poverty in India, and the lives of the middle class. Often its common to come across zero infrastructure, urban and rural poverty, mangy animals, and even half dead people laying on the sides of the road. But there’s also so much beauty to the country like flowers on the roadside, amazing night skies, rice paddies and silk saris. That’s the India that I’ve come to know and adapt to. But reading Vogue India, I was painted a much different story. Elitists, parties, and designers in India. The rich and famous, and their glamorous lifestyles. Most of the Indian models and people looked so fair they barely looked Indian. The articles are similar to the ones back home, and the clothes are just as beautiful. Although there are less advertisements and more interesting articles which is a bonus. But where is this India? It’s not the one that I’ve been experiencing at all.

It makes me think back to Vogue back home, and other similar magazines. Girls read them and are drawn to the pictures painted, parties and fashions. But it seems more like a fantasy world than real life. I’m not saying Vogue is evil =) Whenever I read it I find it invokes my creative side, it makes me want to work on my photography, and it inspires me to wear my wardrobe in new ways. But the lives of the people who are displayed in those pages are not realistic. We can’t all have lives like Emma Watson or attend the parties of the social elite.

I think reading magazines such as Vogue can be ok once in a while as a treat, but its important to understand what the magazine is representing. It’s usually not a healthy body image, contentment or a sustainable mind frame. And in the case of India, it doesn’t represent the true country at all.