Whenever I go into my local Publix, I promise to be as fast as possible. I don't like dealing with people and the hassle grocery shopping creates. Almost every time though, I always find myself in the magazine aisle. I never want to buy, so I just stand around, reading. Each time I pick up a magazine that is considered “for females,” (aka Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Allure, etc.) it seem to have the same content. There’s segments on losing weight via the new detox diet and tips on how to have hot legs. There’s segments on which exercises create better cleavage. There’s also that segment on how to put on glitter nail polish correctly. You get what I’m saying.
I’m not here to say that we should ban magazines all like that. Some people really love it and it can be fun to read through sometimes. But I am here for the magazines that encourage those to pursue their dreams. That tell them to take a chance and go out for the debate or math team if they want to. Maybe it’ll inspire them to get into STEM or volunteer more. Let’s talk about how to manage mental health as school can take a major toll. I want others to be aware of the social injustices that are happening right now because not everyone has access to Twitter. We can even discuss sex; let’s give the sex ed talk that schools rarely provide (seriously, there are some horror stories as U.S. sex education is not up to par.) We only see the same content published time after time within these magazines. And other people have noticed.
Katherine Young, a 31 year old graphic designer, was appalled as her friend sent a picture of two magazines, Girls’ Life and Boys’ Life, side by side. She couldn’t believe the difference as the boy’s magazine discussed career advice and the girl’s magazine discussed hair and makeup tips, fall fashion and a quiz called “Are You Ready for a BF?”
“The worst part for me was ‘Wake Up Pretty,’” she said. “I mean what the hell kind of unattainable standards are we setting for kids? Being a girl is hard enough without thinking you are somehow a failure just by waking up in the morning.”
She then designed her own cover, which focused more on career planning and different volunteer ideas. It was the boy’s magazine, but for girls. It looks like a magazine that should be on the shelves.
It’s so rare to find a publication that talks about these types of issues nowadays, no matter the target audience. Girls’ Life just seems to be a foreshadow as to what one can expect when they grow up. That's why we need to call it out. Young girls and women can do so much, but they may not realize it with magazine covers like this.