The banality of the magazine rack
Stop for a minute to consider those magazines that stack up like firewood at the doctor's office, or that beckon you from the high-priced newsstand before you get on the airplane. The celebrity/gossip/self-improvement category.
All the airbrushed pretty people, the replaceable celebrities and near celebrities. The mass-market fad diets, the conventional stories, the sameness tailored for a mass audience.
It's pretty seductive. If you can just fit in the way all these magazines are pushing you to fit in, then you'll be okay, alright, and beyond criticism. Boys and girls should act like this, dress like this, talk like this. Even the outliers are outliers in tried and true, conventional ways.
The headlines are interchangeable. So are the photos and the celebrities, the stories and the escapades and the promises.
Magazines believe they have to produce this cultural lighthouse in order to sell ads–there are advertisers that want average readers in order to sell them their average products. But this doesn't have to be you. These aren't cultural norms, they're merely a odd sub-universe, a costume party for people unwilling to find their own voice.