What Swimsuit Best Suits You: Kids edition??

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?”


IBMC #07: The News and Paper Challenge

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.

‘Discovery Girls’ Magazine for Tweens Sparks Outrage With Body-Shaming Swimsuit Article

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.

  1. It is an article about body types in magazine catered to young girls?

Enough said!

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.

Catherine Lee

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

  1. Feel confident in a swimsuit? Can we stop trying to grow up so fast?
  2. 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!




15 thoughts on “What Swimsuit Best Suits You: Kids edition??

  1. This made me remember the issue where one of guy called a new reader fat, and she had replied in the most elegant way teaching him a good lesson. I don’t exactly remember the event details of when. It was quite time ago.

    I think this was the best use of the prompt. Thank you for bringing this up. This is the real education!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m going to take a risk and be a little bit of a devil’s advocate on this one. I saw the image on facebook yesterday and at first I was taken back by it, wondering if it was a recent magazine or not, but I didn’t take the time to investigate. I did, however, look at the suits offered for each body type. I actually kind of like their suggestions. If you notice, they have at least one “two piece” suit for each category as well as one “one piece”. Even the “round in the middle” one has a tankini AND a bikini.

    I think it’s important for women to dress in a way that makes them feel comfortable, and part of that is knowing your body shape. If you know your “shape”, then you get to decide what to accent and what to hide with clothes (all depending on what you are comfortable with). I think it’s a balancing act between looking good AND feeling good in clothes.

    Now with that being said, I do COMPLETELY agree that the magazine’s audience is young and that girls of all ages are affected by body image issues (I once had a 5 year old tell me her legs were too fat) and that as women, we need to create an environment of body-positive magazines and media that lifts younger girls up, not tears them down and causing life-long body image problems (which is what I’m seeing today).

    On a completely non “angering the masses” note: I think your dress is adorable and you look fabulous in it!

    Liked by 2 people

    • My gripe is body type shouldn’t really matter. Wear what you feel comfortable and confident in. What is not comfy to me, like that dress, maybe awesome for someone else. I admire people that go out and wear whatever it is they want without fear. There are some lines I personally wouldn’t cross but who am I too tell someone else what to wear? The biggest issue really though is these are children. At a very influential age. These types of articles can and do have bad influences on kids. I just read a report today that said eating disorders have spiked and kids have toyed with dieting as young as 6 years old. That’s insane. Let kids be kids and not expose them to grown-up things. I ramble!

      Thank you for your insights I understand what you are saying and thank you for thinking the dress looked good. I felt pregnant lol.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I personally take issue with recommending a triangle bikini to an eight-year-old. What the actual….

    Ages 8-13 is such a fragile age. The body you’ve know your entire life suddenly kersplodes into a million different directions – and becomes something ENTIRELY different from what you’ve always known. Is it any coincidence that this age – for me, ten – is the age where I started having body issues? And the age where I first remember getting comments on my weight?

    The problem with this article is that it draws young girls into the thinking that different bodies have to be treated differently. THESE GIRLS ARE EIGHT, TEN – buy the suit that makes you happy and go play in the water! WHY are we encouraging them to 1) scrutinize their shapes and 2) do so to prevent them from wearing the “wrong” thing????

    THIS IS MADNESS. (And sexualizes them, to some degree, but I won’t go there because this is long enough.)

    At that age, the only message we should be sending is that you are beautiful just the way you are – and you will be during and after Puberty Dodgeball chucks your adult shape at you!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. WOW!! i am not familiar with this magazine. I have a little boy, so I focus on things for him. Bless her lil heart! She may publish it, but who the heck edits the magazine? I believe her company may need a little restructuring to include an editor who can pick up on issues like this and make sure it doesnt happen again.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post! i have faced body shaming during my Tween years.. And I know exactly how it feels! It’s totally demoralizing and I started hating myself for being chubby. Like every chubby little girl, I too went on a diet, which meant I started eating really small portions and continued doing it till I was 20, which resulted in weight loss, albeit at a cost: many deficiencies and chronic problems in digestion. Little did I know what I was doing with my body?

    Eventually I overcame with all the negativity regarding my weight issues and started eating healthy and exercising. I am in a healthy weight range now, but I still regret the years I wasted thinking about what other people think about me and let it affect my confidence.


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