In case you haven’t taken a walk through the Twitter streets today; tweeps are going ape shit over Marie Claire Magazine’s ad for an intern who will be paid – wait for it – thirty rand a day. No, you read right, but let me just put it in numbers in case you are straining your eyes in disbelief: R30!
Some were funny…
All Marie Claire wants to do right now is tweet a “12 perfect smoky eye options for Autumn” piece but then this mess happens. 😂😂😂
— coconut oil papi (@dean_bronson) January 21, 2016
Marie Claire interns must have a valid driver’s licence & their own car 😂😀… fuelled with air kisses & steam, I assume. — OA MaSibanda (@MaS1banda) January 21, 2016
And I’m sure Marie Claire will be expecting you to be at the office dressed like you just walked out of The Devil Wears Prada
— Trifflin Thot Ass BF (@BadvocateK) January 21, 2016
Marie Claire gives its interns only the amount of money they need to afford Marie Claire. — Frost (@Nick_Frost) January 21, 2016
Do you even get a pay slip when you earn R30 a day? …. Marie Claire
— Londani T Ramabulana (@EyLondan) January 21, 2016
Basically things are only good at Marie Claire on Wacky Wednesday — TeamtalkwithTibz (@SHOWtibzLOVE) January 21, 2016
I just found a Marie Claire intern’s daily stipend at the bottom of my bag. pic.twitter.com/aWycSXTKdU
— DJ Kullid (@komkuierdashian) January 21, 2016
Others were a straight up depressing reality check…
That said, Marie Claire is taking the fall for something most magazines are guilty of. It’s the industry that needs to change.
— Anja van der Spuy (@AnjaWintour) January 21, 2016
For many of us who have worked in media, this comes as no surprise, but tweeps are up in arms because, you know, we live in that age where nothing goes unchecked (what privilege are we discussing these days? I read somewhere that there’s such a thing as Christianity Privilege). It’s about time!
The magazine industry has been exploiting people for many years, and Marie Claire is unfortunately the sacrificial lamb for an industry that has been able to disguise abuse as opportunity. Worse still: a lot of them don’t even offer interns that R30 stipend (at least with Marie Claire you can get a streetwise two), they expect them to work for free.
But wait. There’s more!
There is always a requirement that you have a car and, sometimes, even a laptop, thereby discriminating against anyone who is not from an upper middle class background (bearing in mind that families with a household income above R6,000 are classified middle class in SA, also just masipa fela).
It’s a widespread practice that really needs to come to an end, and I’m glad people are calling this out. As much as these kids need the experience, it’s not like the magazines don’t also need the help, otherwise there’d be no need to advertise for an intern to begin with. I doubt anyone is looking to get paid 10K for an internship (even though Mail & Guardian and others publications do pay that much), but, really, free internships should not be a thing. Ever!
By Sandiso Ngubane