This next challenge was an easy one. I came across this article on one of the groups that I follow and I was annoyed immediately. Discovery Girl magazine, which caters to young girls from ages 8 to 13, published an article spread called “What Swimsuit Best Suits You?”
You are going to pick up a news paper article. Either online or take a snapshot from the hard copy paper. Use appropriate reference for the article you have used. You need to debate and discuss your view points on the selected article. How best can you do? You can pick up any category like general, politics, entertainment, etc. Even guest columns are very much appreciated.
It breaks down the body into three types.
“Round in the middle”
“Straight up and down”
“Curvy up top”
It provides tips to young girls on what type of bathing suit would flatter their body the most.
….. W T F?
Whoever thought this was a good idea needs to start looking for a new job!
What is wrong with this let me count the ways.
- It is an article about body types in magazine catered to young girls?
This is the perfect example of the programming we go through at such a young age to feel bad about ourselves. Before they even go through puberty they are learning about what is and is not considered “flattering” for how their body looks.
Here are where the seeds are planted about self-consciousness.
Here are where they start thinking negative things about their bodies.
Here is where they begin thinking about making changes to their bodies so they can fit a certain cookie cutter image.
Here is where the focus on a girls appearance on looking “cute” and “appropriate” is formulated. What if they liked a certain swimsuit and this magazine spread says it is not appropriate for their body?
This is where they learn that they can’t feel confident unless their clothes look good on them.
I know because I was one of those girls. I didn’t wear things because I didn’t think it was appropriate for my body. I hid myself under baggy clothes to hide my fat body. I went on diets as young as about 11 (least that is when I can remember). That age is within the target audience for the Discovery Girls magazine. Young kids are sponges. They absorb every bit of information around them and use it to try and define themselves. Article spreads such as this have no place in a magazine meant to help young girls have a “healthier body image.” Dang it took me until my 30s to shake off the negative programming and I still have bad body days! Today I am feeling especially fat in my dress.
So in response to the backlash the publisher, Catherine Lee, wrote an open letter on Facebook. I copied it in its entirety.
An open letter from Catherine Lee, Publisher of Discovery Girls
First, I want to thank all the parents and my amazing readers who brought this swimsuit article to my attention. As the founder of Discovery Girls magazine, and even more importantly, the mother of the first Discovery Girl in 2000, I am in total agreement with all of you regarding this article, so much so that I wanted to make this letter as public as possible. We want to make sure that our girls know that any article that makes you feel bad about your body is not a good article, and should be questioned.
It’s still hard for me to believe that an article so contrary to our magazine’s mission could have been published on our pages. I have been a loss for words for days. The article was supposed to be about finding cute, fun swimsuits that make girls feel confident, but instead it focused on girls’ body image and had a negative impact. Nobody knows better than Discovery Girls how impressionable our girls are at this age and we are ALWAYS mindful of this. We’ve received hundreds of thousands of letters over the years from girls sharing their insecurities about their bodies. We’ve been so concerned about helping girls have a healthy body image that we wrote an entire book, Growing Up, on puberty and body image.
The book, which took over five years to write, was a labor of love. We worked with so many writers, editors, and over 20,000 girls and their parents, too. We invested so much time and effort into it because we knew how important it is to get it right. Our girls need resources to provide them with the guidance they need to develop a healthy body image and love all that they are.
As much we like to think that something like this would never happen to us, it did. We’re not immune to making mistakes, but we are always willing to get better and learn from our mistakes. We’d like to thank the readers who contacted us to let us know they couldn’t believe we could make such a mistake. It means a lot to us, because it means you hold us to a higher standard, which we hope you will continue to demand from us. And for those of you who don’t know us as well as our regular readers, our reader’s comments are what keeps us improving. This is what makes Discovery Girls the magazine that we’re all so proud to be a part of. I know with certainty, if you hang in there, you’ll find that no magazine works harder to ensure the well-being of your daughters than Discovery Girls.
Here are my issues with this “apology”
Why does it sound like she doesn’t read her own magazine? Why did the “readers” bring the article to her attention? Does she not review what she publishes before it goes out to the public? Surely if her aim was to print material that promotes a healthy body image this would have been axed before it got to the printer! I suppose we can chalk it up to a mistake but hold up… she did read it!
She then follows it up by saying that the article was suppose to help girls find cute fun swimsuits that give them confidence… Or maybe you didn’t read read it and just skimmed? I’m confused! Plus how is it hard to believe this article got published? You gave it the green light didn’t you? You are the publisher after all! Isn’t that part of the basis of what you do? Publish?
Either way… whichever way this article was suppose to come across, it doesn’t belong. Why do young girls age 8 to 13 need to
- Feel confident in a swimsuit? Can we stop trying to grow up so fast?
- Need flattering clothing to feel confident? Can’t we just… I don’t know… teach confidence for the sake of being confident and not have it contingent on what we put on our bodies? You can put on a potato sack and feel confident because confidence is something that comes from within! Let’s teach that!
In addition, this “apology” needs to be printed in their next issue so the subscribers can read it. I’m sure they will be getting more letters in the mail from readers about their body insecurities. Good job!