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Quote from Fox about frum magazines
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ShishKabob




 
 
 
 

Post  Mon, Jun 24 2019, 11:38 am
The worst underlying strain of all this, is that many people interpret these magazines as authentic Judaism, when it's the farthest thing from it. The thing that gets me is that people look towards these magazines with such respect as if this is the highest bar that we can measure up to.
People reading it sincerely believe that there is Daas Torah behind all of this. It's Baloney, plain and simple.
It is a money making business just like the stores on Main Street. They just go under the false banner of religion.
Disclaimer: There may have been a few times when these magazines actually wrote something that was true and of substance. I'll give them that much credit. Other than that, you can figure out the rest.
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amother




Firebrick
 

Post  Mon, Jun 24 2019, 11:43 am
I love to read and I love relaxing on my couch with the Mishpacha on Friday nights.
The fiction is my favorite, it's good clean light reading.
I ignore the ads.
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ectomorph




 
 
 
 

Post  Mon, Jun 24 2019, 12:10 pm
Fox wrote:
There are a few elements that I think are being overlooked:

Subliminal Messaging
The first is the subliminal effect of repetition. If you've ever advertised in a periodical, you were probably told by the advertising salesperson that inserting a single ad is useless. You have to repeat advertisements in order to permeate readers' consciousness. If you've ever seen ads that occupy the right-hand column of the page on successive pages, this is the same strategy. Seeing something once doesn't make an impact. Marketing and advertising experts can tell you with some certainty exactly how many times a reader will need to see a particular advertisement based on various criteria in order to recall and/or act on the message.

This is a bigger problem with Instagram. I got rid of both Facebook and Instagram after the latest round of purges, but Instagram hits every single persuasive button: imagery; motion; repetition; peer approval, low-level action required, etc. It's a persuader's dream come true.

The idea that one can simply be discerning and reject these messages goes against 75 or more years of research on how people are persuaded and influenced. Of course, this is precisely why gedolim over the years objected to TV, movies, etc. They realized that our brains are susceptible to certain types of messaging despite our best efforts to the contrary.

The Reader's Dilemma
Virtually all of us on Imamother are big readers, at least by comparison. If we weren't comfortable with text, we wouldn't be here. We want to read things that will raise us spiritually (or at least not send us backward!) yet engage us and meet whatever needs we have for relaxation and entertainment.

Personally, I like leisure reading that is not necessarily about frum Jews or the frum community, but is written from a frum perspective. With the exception of Zman, that's not currently a reality.

So my problem becomes, "What makes a book or periodical 'kosher'?" Is it the subject matter? Is it an absence of s-x and violence? Are the characters frum Jews?

Here's where I find myself conflicted.

If I pick up a copy of People magazine in the doctor's office, there is a degree of separation between me and the subject matter. There is a clear line of "I am not like them" on any number of fronts.

But when a book or periodical is published and marketed by frum people, I unconsciously let my guard down a bit. There's not that clear line between me and whatever is in the pages. That's where the danger lies. Not only am I susceptible to subliminal messages, I'm making myself more open to overt messages, too.

Forward to the Middle
Nobody wants to be a nagging sourpuss, lecturing people about every bit of luxury in their lives or discouraging them from applying their creativity to setting a beautiful table or training their own dancing bears to perform at simchas.

How do we enjoy material blessings without going overboard? How do we encourage creativity and hiddur mitzvah without raising standards to the point where only an elite class can feel accomplished? There is obviously a middle ground, but nobody gets excited by the rallying cry of, "Onward, troops! To the middle!"

Even more interesting, how do we encourage professional artisans to create Judaica if everyone makes kiddush with a plastic cup?

I don't have many answers at this point, but it's something I think about a lot.

I recently made a simcha bh and people that I talked to was quite upset that I'd planned to do it without centerpieces.

In fact, apparently center pieces are so important that someone took it upon herself to make sure we had!
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amother




Sienna
 

Post  Mon, Jun 24 2019, 12:25 pm
I find it interesting how opulent the ads in frum magazines are compared to secular ones. I get Food Network and the ads in there are for things like razors, medications, and bladder leak protection.
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sequoia




 
 
 
 

Post  Mon, Jun 24 2019, 12:32 pm
Please do not train the bears.
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Raisin




 
 
 
 

Post  Mon, Jun 24 2019, 12:49 pm
amother [ Sienna ] wrote:
I find it interesting how opulent the ads in frum magazines are compared to secular ones. I get Food Network and the ads in there are for things like razors, medications, and bladder leak protection.


hmmm possible to do with secular demographics skewing towards older people. (or that magazine anyway).
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amother




Hotpink
 

Post  Mon, Jun 24 2019, 1:06 pm
amother [ Sienna ] wrote:
I find it interesting how opulent the ads in frum magazines are compared to secular ones. I get Food Network and the ads in there are for things like razors, medications, and bladder leak protection.


There are lots of ads for simple things in the Jewish magazines too, they just get overshadowed by the extravagant things. There's ads for frozen foods, vitamins, therapists etc.
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Fox




 
 
 
 

Post  Mon, Jun 24 2019, 1:17 pm
sequoia wrote:
Please do not train the bears.

I once used that as an example, thinking the humor of hyperbole was obvious. Guess again. Someone apparently took it seriously and went on a little rant about the inappropriateness of bears at a Jewish simcha.

So just in case, please follow Sequoia's advice. Do not attempt to procure or train bears of any denomination.
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gingertop




 
 
 
 

Post  Mon, Jun 24 2019, 2:26 pm
amother [ Apricot ] wrote:
I'm guessing you don't read them. There was a learning curve, the beginning was rough but the content has come a long way. I would also like to mention that most frum female writers for the mags are on this site. They invest a tremendous amount of time researching and interviewing for their articles and for someone who clearly doesn't read the magazines to brush them off as all fluff is super insulting.


I agree. There are incredible articles in the Mishpacha and the other magazines. I don't think they're all fluff.

I do think regarding the overly materialist ads and content:

1- It's fun up to a certain point. You can have amazing recipes if you also have down-to-earth suppers that regular moms would make for a regular supper night. You can have ads advertising luxury if it's well balanced with though-provoking content.
I see the magazines struggle to achieve that balance. Family first has an easy supper option in every issue and even some of the tablescapes (Esther O in FF comes to mind) are mostly DIY type of things.
But the magazines occasionally fail and the result is grotesque, especially because - --

2- This discussion is an offshoot of the women in magazines discussion. If you're policy regarding women is supposedly rooted in tznius, some of the more ostentatious materialism comes off as even more immodest and hypocritical.

I'll say this until I'm blue in the face but graphics is only half the yuck factor in immodesty. Some of the drooling text in some ads and in the lifestyle features are over the top and gross- and not tznius.
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amother




Bronze
 

Post  Mon, Jun 24 2019, 2:29 pm
Honest question for those who only allow the Yated, Hamodia, or National Geographic or whatever. What if you end up with a teenage girl who is a total bookworm, who loves fiction etc. A mostly news oriented paper or a non fiction magazine just won't cut it.
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Iymnok




 
 
 
 

Post  Mon, Jun 24 2019, 2:36 pm
amother [ Bronze ] wrote:
Honest question for those who only allow the Yated, Hamodia, or National Geographic or whatever. What if you end up with a teenage girl who is a total bookworm, who loves fiction etc. A mostly news oriented paper or a non fiction magazine just won't cut it.

Books.
The public library is a great resource.
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gingertop




 
 
 
 

Post  Mon, Jun 24 2019, 2:39 pm
tigerwife wrote:
I’ll be the odd one out. There are some fantastically creative and artistic frum women out there and I’m glad they get to showcase their talents in magazines and have an outlet (and Parnasa!) in designing beautiful things, be it tablescapes or one year old birthday parties. Should all women be forced to work in boring, mind-numbing fields because somewhere, someone will be jealous and decry the need for ostentation when no one even forced her to copy?

I feel the same about bugaboos and designer clothes and fancy weddings. I can enjoy a stunning gourmet wedding as a guest without feeling like the pressure to one-up. Let’s focus on keeping our eyes on our own wallets and needs. You can’t change the world; you can work on yourself to be more confident and sameach b’chelko.


Materialism doesn't offend me and I do enjoy seeing the creative output of these talented chefs, party planners, and writers.

Again, though, this discussion is a spinoff of the women in magazines thread. If modesty is the value that the magazines themselves pretend it is, then they have a responsibility not to go overboard with immodesty.

I think that having a nice non-glam shot of a chabad shlucha/Holocaust survivor/frum doctor/inspirational speaker is much more modest than some of the decadent articles that accompany the lifestyle pages and ads.
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amother




Bronze
 

Post  Mon, Jun 24 2019, 2:40 pm
So how are secular books better than frum magazines? And if you say, Jewish novels, I will tell you that the 7-8 new novels that are what is probably published per year is in no way enough for a true bookworm.
When I was a teenager I could easily read through that amount in 1 week. Definitely 3-4 over a long Shabbos.
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PinkFridge




 
 
 
 

Post  Mon, Jun 24 2019, 2:46 pm
iyar wrote:
PF I always love your posts-
But this time you outdid yourself!
As for the “frum” magazines we’re ranting on about - it’s not so simple. As the secular world degenerates into previously unimaginable depths of immorality their publications are less and less likely to be brought into Jewish homes. You might say- I’m capable of thinking for myself thank you very much and I’m not going to start engaging in licentious behavior just because I have that magazine in my house. But then there’s the problem of do you want your kids looking at that? And the problems of kefira and immoral attitudes (totally apart from the lack of tznius) that creep into our minds and color our thinking without us even noticing.
There are several solutions. Read only Tana”ch, sifrei mussar and Halacha. Don’t read. Read only biographies of holy people. (That won’t work btw- enough has been written about the pitfalls of reading those that I don’t need to list them.) Buy a “kosher” magazine. Yes the one that got imamothers upset with the over the top tablescapes and ads for vacations that cost more than we spend on half a dozen kids’ tuitions.
We’re left deciding who’s going to lead us astray: a kofer and pervert, or a frum lady who’s overly obsessed with buying her girls matching socks.
In the end we each read what we choose. I’m not going to point the finger at anyone and say she made the wrong choice. I do miss the Jewish Observer. Chaval al d’avdin. We live in a market driven society. Sadly it seems there wasn’t enough of a market for that kind of writhing.
As for me, I’ll be looking out for those jello molds in my next pre-Yom Tov gourmet supplement.


Thanks. It's funny because the outside world is totally moving away from this stuff. Good Housekeeping has a column "Good Enough Housekeeping."
I guess it's coming from the whole new world of cooking shows. I wonder if they're having more of an impact on our world than the outside world.

In defense of the women obsessed about matching socks, whenever I read something like that, it's clear that she's lost perspective and it's a cautionary tale for the rest of us.
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amother




Orange
 

Post  Mon, Jun 24 2019, 2:48 pm
amother [ Bronze ] wrote:
Honest question for those who only allow the Yated, Hamodia, or National Geographic or whatever. What if you end up with a teenage girl who is a total bookworm, who loves fiction etc. A mostly news oriented paper or a non fiction magazine just won't cut it.


I was the one who mentioned national geographic. My kids also inhale read secular fiction books.
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ectomorph




 
 
 
 

Post  Mon, Jun 24 2019, 2:50 pm
amother [ Bronze ] wrote:
Honest question for those who only allow the Yated, Hamodia, or National Geographic or whatever. What if you end up with a teenage girl who is a total bookworm, who loves fiction etc. A mostly news oriented paper or a non fiction magazine just won't cut it.

I used to read tons of fantasy along with Yated... Not all of it wss so clean, but I was under no illusions of it being Jewish. In my teens at some point I switched to non fiction.
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amother




Bronze
 

Post  Mon, Jun 24 2019, 2:54 pm
Most fiction loving teens are not going to start inhaling non fiction books.

Anyway the average teen of today is much more sophisticated in a variety of ways, and I really don't think seeing some splashy ads are going to make a big impact. I just don't.
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Fox




 
 
 
 

Post  Mon, Jun 24 2019, 2:58 pm
amother [ Bronze ] wrote:
So how are secular books better than frum magazines? And if you say, Jewish novels, I will tell you that the 7-8 new novels that are what is probably published per year is in no way enough for a true bookworm.
When I was a teenager I could easily read through that amount in 1 week. Definitely 3-4 over a long Shabbos.

I think it depends a lot on your hashkafas and sensititivities.

Personally, I don't read Jewish novels because I don't want to read about frum people. When I read for leisure, I want to travel to places I ordinarily wouldn't go -- that could mean geographically, culturally, or even through science fiction or fantasy.

However, there are two significant differences that I discussed upthread that make secular books a better choice for me. First, there are no images. Images are especially effective modes of subliminal persuasion. Second, I am specifically interacting with the novel as an outsider -- "this is not who I am."

I admire people who don't read non-Jewish books, but I'm not able to do that at this point in time. I was raised reading non-Jewish books, and I get too much out of the escapist element when I read about people or places unlike myself.
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Fox




 
 
 
 

Post  Mon, Jun 24 2019, 3:00 pm
amother [ Bronze ] wrote:
I really don't think seeing some splashy ads are going to make a big impact. I just don't.

There's a whole field of research that begs to differ.
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amother




Violet
 

Post  Mon, Jun 24 2019, 3:04 pm
[quote="fox"]
Quote:
Of all the potential problems with these magazines, their desire to avoid the photo wars is the least concerning.


See, Fox, you're moving the goalposts. This misdirection - "look over there! There's a tablescape that you can't afford" - is not what's problematic about these magazines.

Every magazine is aspirational. That's entirely the point. No one wants to see anyone's Real Life Kitchen (TM) with yesterday's groceries still sitting on the counter and your child's cereal bowl filled with cereal mush from last night when she refused to eat dinner and why can't anyone put their dishes in the dishwasher... and I digress. No one is going to throw what I throw on the table for dinnertime, photograph it, and try to sell it. And that's okay.

I think that most people aren't getting influenced by their magazines, they're influenced by their environment. If their neighbors are doing it, they want to do it.

And if you want to argue that the neighbors are only doing it because someone, somewhere, saw it in a magazine, then you're ascribing a tremendous amount of power to a publication. And then IF you ARE, you must also admit that that power turns not just to the way we conduct our simchas, but primarily to the way we behave religiously. And then the correct question to ask is, "Which is more damaging?"

Hands down, setting a religious precedent is far more damaging than telling someone that designer strollers belong in the same category as bread and milk. Mishpacha and Ami and Binah have rabbinic people who set the halachic parameters, and they follow them. And the halachic parameters have decided that male authors should have their photograph by their byline, and women shouldn't. The male subject of an article should have their photograph, and the female subject shouldn't - when both have to go through the "approval process" to even get an article written about them.

[quote="fox"]
Quote:
Many secular magazines and newspapers -- most notably The New Yorker -- banned advertisements for underwear. Not because they thought their readers would be led astray by grainy black & white photos of Cross-Your-Heart brassieres, but because they were sick of constantly arbitrating each individual case.


And here we go again. The constant "it's just too hard" argument. And someone always brings up underwear and harlots and starts demeaning women in general. This is patently untrue. And how hard is it to establish that there are no women in ads, but there are women in article pictures and bylines? It's not like the byline pictures change.

[quote="fox"]
Quote:
I suspect that frum publishers have the same dilemma. There is absolutely no benefit to them to have to engage in constant monitoring, and they will invariably make someone angry. Easier to make everyone a little angry than make a small group extremely angry.


You don't get it. Frum publishers are ALWAYS ENGAGED IN CONSTANT MONITORING. Do you think that writers submit, get edited, and are published? No. Someone else is checking the content of those articles, and making decisions about those. And someone is always getting angry - don't you read the letters to the editor? Nothing pleases anyone, and I've noticed that topics disappear from view. What's one more?
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