Proud2Bme | "Girls' Life" Perpetuates the Idea That It’s a Man’s World

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"Girls' Life" Perpetuates the Idea That It’s a Man’s World

By Kaitlin Irwin--The magazine industry continues attempting to undo our efforts of empowerment, motivation and encouragement for girls. This time, the culprit is Girls’ Life magazine, which angered mothers, fathers and basically anyone who believes in gender equality. Their latest issue was an astonishing step backwards and sparked such a viral discussion that celebs like Amy Schumer and Blake Lively felt compelled to call it out.

A photo of Girls’ Life magazine on the newsstands is making its rounds on social media. In the photo, we can see the magazine placed right next to Boys’ Life magazine (the two are not owned by the same company, but they seem worlds apart). Let’s take a look at Girls’ Life first: the cover features a female model with a caption encouraging girls to “steal her secrets” for beauty and style. Other headlines on the cover include “Wake Up Pretty,” “Bye, Drama,” “Your Dream Hair” and “Are You Ready for a BF?” Because being a girl means you need to look #perfect and be #blessed with a boyfriend.

Meanwhile, Boys’ Life is telling boys to pursue their dreams of being astronauts, artists, firefighters, chefs and more. The cover art features tools and equipment related to these industries, among them a stethoscope, a police badge, a firefighter helmet, a hammer, a chemist’s flask, helicopter propellers and a microscope. Boys’ Life asks its readers what kind of job they want when they grow up (and then provides information on how to get it). The magazine sits right next to Girls’ Life, displaying the stark difference between male and female values.

In the words of Amy Schumer: NO.

Really though, what is up with Girls’ Life? Did not one single person on their board think that their cover was a bit … materialistic? Trivial? Downright degrading? I’m sure there have got to be mothers on the board of Girls’ Life. Do they impart these values onto their daughters? We need to be teaching our girls that they don’t have to “wake up pretty,” they need to wake up feeling valued and important. Thanks to messages like those promoted in Girls Life, we have young girls who are shying away from STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) courses because they think those are subjects for boys. These young girls grow up to be women who fear asking for a raise or promotion or going for their dream job. Instead, they worry about whether they look as good as the woman next to them, or if they’re desirable to a man, or if they need to drop a dress size.

Meanwhile, boys soar through the ranks and rarely question their abilities or worth. There’s nothing wrong with boys and men being confident. The problem is that women are being intimidated and pushed down by males, and the women think that it’s normal. Why is this normal? Maybe is has something to do with the messages that all forms of media continue spewing out at us. Girls Life isn’t the only one to blame here, but the recent attention has brought the subject to the forefront once again. Another example is Women’s Health and Men’s Health. Common Women’s Health headlines include “Sexy Hair Tricks” and “Eat, Drink, and Still Shrink.” Men’s Health headlines include: “Take Control,” “Strength + Power” and “Success Secrets.” The really sad thing is that Girls’ Life targets girls between the ages of 10 and 16.

I stopped buying and reading magazines a long time ago. Instead, I focus on joining communities and social groups that empower women and offer words of inspiration and encouragement. The Body Image Movement, Proud2Bme and Hello Life are just some of the communities that I’m thrilled to be part of. I talk to real women (and men!) and share real stories and experiences. I urge others to try this as well. Drop the magazines and join real conversations about real topics. Despite the media telling us otherwise, we’re much more than good hair and perfect bodies. If we stop buying, magazines may notice and realize that their content is garbage and it’s time to throw it away.

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Proud2Bme is an online community created by and for teens. We cover everything from fashion and beauty to news, culture, and entertainment—all with the goal of promoting positive body image and encouraging healthy attitudes about food and weight.

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