Why GQ?

Tobi Abdul
November 6, 2014
This article was published more than 2 years ago.
Est. Reading Time: 3 minutes

I consider myself somewhat of a magazine junkie. I use the word “somewhat” in an attempt to not oust myself as the magazine-loving nerd that I am. My lack of attention span in combination with my love of creative nonfiction writing led to me to the discovery that I would rather stare at a computer screen for hours, reading article upon article, than read a novel for the same amount of time.  The change in topic and introspective style makes me feel like I’m doing many things at once instead of one monotonous task. Of all the magazines and websites that I frequent, I only subscribe to one: GQ. GQ is arguably my favourite magazine. At the end of each month, I await the arrival of my issue.

My love for GQ started years ago in the aisles of grocery stores sneaking peaks at it while my mother shopped. Whenever my mother would find me reading the men’s lifestyle magazine, she would ask me why I was interested in a magazine titled “Gentleman’s Quarterly.” I would reply with one of two things: either, “well it’s not a quarterly magazine anymore so maybe the gentleman doesn’t apply either?” or “hot guys in suits, mom, duh.” The truth was somewhere in between the two. I did love seeing men in men’s clothing but not because I was necessarily attracted to them, but more so because I wanted to emulate them in any way I could while still staying in the very deep closet I built for myself.

GQ is the magazine for those of us who don’t fit into gender categories. I love fashion, but often I have a hard time finding fashion that feels right for me, or at least finding representations of this fashion. When flipping through fashion magazines targeted at females, I can appreciate a few items of clothing, but when flipping through magazines geared towards men, I find myself falling in love with many more items.

GQ doesn’t just exist to show us how to dress impeccably well; it also has some hard-hitting features. Recently, GQ wrote about the issue of male sexual assault in the army and the pressure to be silenced. They’ve also written about Matthew McConaughey revival – commonly known as the McConnaisance. GQ has also looked at the difference between male and female nudity on television.

My two favourite GQ writers are Devin Friedman and Jeanne Marie Laskas. Friedman has written about “middlebrow” culture, about war, the awkwardness of highschool, race and the token black friend, and the culture around things going viral. Laskas has written about the impact that football has on players’ brains, one of my favourite pieces of all time. She has also written about Richard Norris’ face transplant, hitmen, gun culture in America, immigration, and many other stories that need to be told.  The magazine’s piece on David Foster Wallace following his suicide was a poignant piece of literary genius.

Sure, GQ can be misogynistic at times, but I wouldn’t say that it’s more misogynstic than Cosmopolitan, a magazine geared towards women, or The Globe and Mail which has on many occasions featured opinion articles that invalidate the struggles that women commonly face in society and tried to debunk the “myth of rape culture.”  On the surface, GQ looks like a magazine for bros sporting high fashion suits and naked girls on the pages, but once you pick up a copy and actually read it, you discover that behind the misguided perceptions of the magazine, it actually is a collection of the best writing about life, sports, technology, culture, entertainment, politics, and everything in between.

The lines of gender are blurry. People express or identify in so many different ways that categorizing clothing and style into strictly “men’s” or “women’s” becomes antiquated. The reason that I like GQ so much is a direct result of societal expectations that make me feel like I don’t fit into the box of “woman”. The magazines out there for women don’t feel like they’re created for me. GQ gives me the mix of everything I like from fashion that I would actually wear to stories that I can get lost in. Simply, GQ is my favourite magazine and I will continue to wait by the mailbox at the end of every month.

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