Fuck You Frankie I Don’t Want To Bake

Image

By Rosa Sottile, 

So, Frankie.

I would say I am disappointed, but I’m not. Unfortunately I’ve come to expect this sort of thing.

You, like most media that touts itself as “alternative”, “different” or “independent” from mainstream pop culture is so often just the same stuff wrapped up in hand dyed fabric in front of a soft-focus photograph of a field.

I bought your most recent issue for some plane reading, but I couldn’t even stomach reading most of your articles (apart from Benjamin Law’s) due to the bubbling volcano of impotent rage I felt every time I turned a page.

It’s not just the fact that the only pictures of people (out of 130+ pages) that weren’t straight, thin and white were in one photo of a band, a sexist ad, an article by a fashion designer who said that “traditional feminine clothing” needed to be revived, and some photos of people in Aleppo, Syria, pre-war, photographed by and described by a photographer from London.

(This article, about a woman who took a holiday to Syria, took up 3 pages without a word from anyone actually from there or anything why would you need that guys I mean really this white lady has all the answers.)

So there’s that. Let’s call it what it is guys, straight up racism via total erasure.

The second big, huge, weird oppressive thing this magazine, and so many other parts of this “indie” culture bullshit does: patriarchal gender norms are cool!!!!

Yep, articles about (straight white ladies and dudes) crafting, cooking, about making appropriately “feminine” clothing, home decoration, running clothing and cake shops, fashion and being married (SO MANY ABOUT MARRIAGE OH LORD) and buying accessories to these activities are literally the ENTIRE MAGAZINE.

That and ads.

I have nothing against cooking, crafting, preserving – whatever, you want to do that, that’s fine.

But when an entire magazine, marketed at young women, as an “alternative” culture magazine contains only articles celebrating straight white women doing domestic tasks, you can consider my eyebrows well and truly raised.

Rosa is the National Education Officer for NUS. She’s currently working on the NUS Quality Survey, which she’d sure like you to fill out here. You can follow Rosa on twitter with @nus_education. Rosa is actually an excellent cook and quite likes to bake – but not because Frankie tells her to. 

Advertisements

24 thoughts on “Fuck You Frankie I Don’t Want To Bake

  1. Emma

    I think it’s great that this article encourages women to deconstruct magazines but maybe it’s a little harsh? Personally I try to avoid buying magazines, but I do catch glimpses of them on newsstands and do enjoy reading the captions on some of the covers. I am aware that Frankie is marketed toward an alternative crowd and at least Frankie can be congratulated for not showcasing a photoshopped female celebrity, or advertising a weight loss or sex-skills advice column every month on their front cover. Cleo *cough cough* Cosmo *cough cough*. We can look at these magazines and get angry sure, or we can be honest and see ourselves as the perpetrators. So much money is invested towards market research for advertisements and magazines that in some ways these publications are reflections of buyers. It reminds me of Nine Inch Nail’s Right where it belongs lyrics, “See the animal in his cage that you built, Are you sure what side you’re on?” I just think it’s going a bit far to suggest that Frankie is encouraging patriarchal gender norms by showing pictures of baking, when if I was to log into Facebook right now my newsfeed will show me pictures of baking bought to me by a number of my female friends which has been a bit of a craze lately. I just think it’s going too far to suggest that Frankie is straight-up racist by showing pictures of straight, thin and white people, when these models are hired by modelling agencies because they have a popular look. In some ways isn’t looking through a magazine trying to point out someone with a different cultural background a form of racism as well? Anyway, if you want to support a publication and it doesn’t meet your expectations then either stop supporting it or find out where you can leave your feedback.

    Reply
    1. Rosa Sottile

      critical thinking about media is part of being a feminist. when the only picture of womanhood you get is either the blatantly oppressive cleo or the sneakily oppressive gender roles of frankie that is part of the patriarchy.

      Reply
    2. Sarah

      Hmm. I am white and I don’t think looking through a magazine trying to find someone who looks like you personally when you are not white is “a form of racism”. It sounds perfectly reasonable to me, and probably something you would just *notice* without having to look for it. The fact that I (for example) may not immediately notice a dearth of non-white models in a magazine I’m flipping through is a factor of my white privilege. And I do think that publications which hold themselves up as “alternative” should be held to high standards. It’s not at all impossible to find signed, professional models who are not white. Or thin, for that matter. As a fat woman I am consistently disappointed that all Frankie’s models, while not “airbrushed”, are still very thin and represent a very narrow ideal of a beautiful body type; I can only imagine how much more excluded I would feel if I were also not white.

      Reply
    3. adelaide

      NINE INCH NAILS LYRICS IN RESPONSE TO AN ARTICLE ABOUT FRANKIE. i am actually kind of impressed. aside from that, naaaaah. modeling agencies have models of colour, nobody pushes frankie to use white kids, it is their choice. the fact is that they cater to a lifestyle – various keywords to that being retro, 1950s, twee, heteronormative – a lot of people that live it aren’t white & while i don’t really care for frankie, i get that it sucks to have your favourite magazine not represent you in any way (my favourite magazine is monocle. i am not a rich european male).

      Reply
  2. Maddy

    Occasionally it has really good articals on disability and sex work and stuff like that. also I really like that it’s about 1950’s housewife stuff, it’s cute. And isn’t that what hipster culture is all about anyway? subverting norms by adhering to them?

    Reply
    1. Rosa Sottile

      this article had literally no rep on queer people. there was one article on a woman with chronic pain which was quite good. but i don’t see any evidence of them subverting the gender norms! they just reinforce them. girls should be pretty and feminine! the 1950s was not a cute time. it was a drastically oppressive time.

      Reply
    2. Jessica

      Yeah Maddy, it often does. Also, I remember a couple of kids from Brisbane (where I live) had an article in there about their organisation ‘The Schoolbag’, which provides learning resources to underprivileged children in countries like East Timor and Haiti. Hardly racism.

      Reply
      1. Sarah

        Just because they have articles on underprivileged children in other countries doesn’t mean it’s NOT racist. the lack of diversity among the models is commen. As an Aboriginal woman it is rare that in any publication I see anyone who I can identify with, that is a form of non-representation which is a form of racism.

    3. Samual B

      I didn’t realise hipsters had a culture, beyond using irony as a way to justify their complete disregard for aethetic.

      Keep adhering to the trope, friends.

      Reply
      1. Carminamaria

        How do you ‘subvert’ norms by adhering to them? Wh…what could you possibly be trying to say other than ‘the good ol’ days when men were men, women were women, coloured people weren’t in our house and queer people just straight up didn’t exist’. Sure, sure, I know Frankie doesn’t say this outright, but dammit who has to when you got an aesthetic like that magazine right? At least glossy celeb magazines have a couple of non-white celebrities dispersed through their pages. Frankie doesn’t even take that risk … although they do hire all the same photoshopped models (yes, they do photoshop their models – why do people think otherwise? Coz they have instagram to make everything look more ‘genuine’ for us savvy youth?).

        And Rosa, just listen to Jessica sis – Frankie ONCE had one article about underprivileged kids in East Timor. OBVIOUSLY this lone example derails any conversation you wish to have regarding the unrelentingly white image the magazine has. THOSE KIDS WEREN’T WHITE AND THEY WERE IN OUR MAGAZINE!!! THAT MEANS WE’RE NOT EURO-CENTRIC! WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT? Regular, positive and visible representation for people of difference so they can feel included in Australian youth culture??? Pfft. Quit dreaming! ‘Alternative’ youth doesn’t extend to your minority interests! Quit being ‘negative’, get your own magazine, and leave us alone.

  3. Jessica

    I agree with Emma, but I think it is important to realise that not everything is going to reflect the radical feminist line that you think it should. Constantly waging war on media and other aspects of life you do not agree with is not really a productive way of going about things.

    Perhaps, instead of trying to isolate people who you think don’t fit the feminist mould, or who hate women, you should engage them in positive dialogue instead. This works much better than “I hate this, I hate that, fuck patriarchal norms.”

    Make women want to change, not run in the opposite direction.

    P.S. I also like to bake. Magazines that ‘encourage’ baking often have good recipes. I like them.

    Reply
    1. Rosa Sottile

      critically thinking about media and how it reinforces oppressive gender norms, white washing and heterosexual privilege is not trying to isolate anybody. this blog has gotten extremely positive responses from a lot of people who feel very alienated by the feminine girliness, whiteness etc of frankie. why can’t frankie stop alienating me.

      Reply
      1. Jessica

        It does isolate. By telling people not to read Frankie because it ‘reinforces the patriarchy’ is essentially telling them what they like or believe it wrong. And that women who like baking, crafting and getting married are not real feminists. Last time I checked, that is quite isolating.

        Furthermore, if people feel so alienated by Frankie, they should stop reading it. I thought that was as much common sense as anything else.

    2. Sarah

      I am white and femme, love craft baking, and have quite enjoyed reading Frankie sometimes because it seems to cater to my personal interests (body size notwithstanding), and I am not having a hostile reaction to this blog post at all. It is a *good thing* to be made aware of the ways in which media that you personally enjoy can be harmful or problematic for other people.

      I completely disagree. Constantly waging war on media and other aspects of life I do not agree with is a totally productive way of going about things, and I have encountered many people who have changed their perspective on various issues through listening to me rant, and are happy to tell me so. I am likewise happy to have my perspective changed by other people’s rants, especially if they have a different experience to me. In my opinion, that’s what feminism is – or should be – all about.

      Reply
  4. Tiara

    Sometimes it shits me that someone like me would never ever be featured in Frankie because I’m not hipster twee for them, even if I too am “alternative” (hell any which way you cut it I will ALWAYS be “alternative” to the norm, yay minority status) and probably share similar ideals about life.

    I don’t see the typically-feminine projects being featured as necessarily a bad thing; that way lies femme-shaming. But my frustration is that it’s a certain *look* of person. a certain *lifestyle*, a privilege to be able to tell other people’s stories but not have to deal with the source of the stiory itself (like your Syria example).

    Reply
  5. Tiara

    Sorry if this gets posted a gazillion times; I had to log in and then WordPress got all weird.

    Sometimes it shits me that someone like me would never ever be featured in Frankie because I’m not hipster twee for them, even if I too am “alternative” (hell any which way you cut it I will ALWAYS be “alternative” to the norm, yay minority status) and probably share similar ideals about life. Last year there was a post on Tumblr about Frankie’s subtle racism (how you hardly ever see POC on the cover or within) and one of my friends, who writes for Frankie, talked about how Frankie caters to a certain kind of person with certain attributes. None of those attributes are solely the domain of White people.

    I don’t see the typically-feminine projects being featured as necessarily a bad thing; that way lies femme-shaming. But my frustration is that it’s a certain *look* of person. a certain *lifestyle*, a privilege to be able to tell other people’s stories but not have to deal with the source of the stiory itself (like your Syria example).

    Frankie’s really just representing hipster indie Australia. I feel similar alienation in person. I remember going to Next Wave as one of the Text Camp participants 2 years ago and feeling REALLY LEFT OUT by all the freakin’ hipsters that all LOOK THE SAME. A week later I returned to perform at POC the MIC and ZOMG the inclusivity and wellbeing, SO DIFFERENT. It’s not just Frankie, it’s the whole hipster/indie scene in general, as seen in universities and arts festivals and queer circles (I never look “queer enough” for anyone) and anybody who claims to reject “mainstream culture”.

    How is it that it was far easier for a mainstream fashion celeb gossip mag (Grazia) to feature someone like me, who doesn’t have much in common with them except an article about jobhunting (I got a 2-page photo feature, no stock photos or anything), than it is for a mag like Frankie who supposedly is for people like me – so long as they look the part?

    Reply
    1. Rosa Sottile

      exactly! i am not trying to say that the gendered tasks are bad, or that women shouldn’t do feminine-gendered tasks. But also, offering that domestic idea of womanhood as the only one is classically oppressive.

      Reply
  6. threecorneredvoid

    ‘You, like most media that touts itself as “alternative”, “different” or “independent” from mainstream pop culture is so often just the same stuff wrapped up in hand dyed fabric in front of a soft-focus photograph of a field.’

    Great article!

    The one weakness is the lack of a conclusive statement-rather than the implicit one above-that Frankie is not ‘resistant’ or ‘independent’. A couple of links show Frankie’s circulation as consistently fast-growing, having taken it in two or three years to a level of circulation comparable to top Australian magazines (a marketplace dominated by publications targeting women).

    Today it’s probably in the top 10 Australian magazines by circulation, significantly exceeded only by giants like Australian Women’s Weekly.

    The ‘hipster’ youth culture of Frankie is well and truly mainstreamed and reinforces more or less the same norms of beauty, race and gender roles as all other popular mainstream media, modulated by factors such as audience age and level of education.

    In short, when you open Frankie, you should realistically expect to find yourself reading Cosmo or AWW.

    Reply
  7. Ruby Velour

    This was hilarious! I have never been a fan of Frankie because I find it so contrived and pretentious and BORING. I can only imagine the boiling rage I too would have felt if I’d attempted to read this issue.

    “Oh look I’m skinny, white and like “indie” brads that are both over-priced and reminiscent of what my grandma used to wear in the late 80s”. WONDERFUL!

    Reply

Comments are moderated by the 2014 Women's Officer Georgia Kennelly. Abuse will not be tolerated.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s