Proud2Bme | Young Girls Don’t Need Lifestyle Magazines

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Young Girls Don’t Need Lifestyle Magazines

By Kaitlin Irwin--Discovery Girls is a magazine for girls aged 7-13. The magazine touches on various topics, such as hair and skin tips, clothing advice, the arts and whatever else kids are into these days. Sounds okay, although I’m not sure how much an elementary school-aged kid would benefit from clothing advice. My skepticism was full-blown when I learned that Discovery Girls published an article telling girls how to find the “right” swimwear for their body type. Um...what?

First of all, why do girls even need a lifestyle magazine? Sure, there are publications like Highlights or Ranger Rick (shout-out to my youth!) but those magazines are focused on a niche, such as art or nature. Discovery Girls is like the training bra of magazine and media culture. The magazine is like a heads-up to young girls: Just so you know, you’ll never measure up. There is always something to fix! There are so many other wholesome things that girls could be reading.

I decided to visit the Discovery Girls website to see what their deal was. Upon reading a description of their magazine, I learned that “The magazine addresses honestly the problems that are faced by girls of this age” and “The writers at Discovery Girls also offer advice on health and beauty topics.” Okay, so it really is a lifestyle magazine for young girls.

This strikes me as an all-around bad idea, and here’s why: childhood is such a precious thing. Sometimes I actually get nervous when talking to a kid, because I don’t want to “ruin” the innocence and wonder of this stage of life. I would never give something like Discovery Girls to a young girl. I’d rather tell her all about self-care and such without poisoning her mind with unhealthy messages. This brings me back to Discovery Girls’ swimsuit article.

On finding the “right” swimwear or clothes: Way to make a fun summertime activity a source of worry, Discovery Girls. Many young girls love to go to the pool or the beach, and they don’t need to be worrying about whether they have the “right” body for a two-piece. I remember when I was a child I never thought about whether or not I could wear a swimsuit. I just wore one. Unfortunately, girls these days are being bombarded with messages that certain people are “allowed” to wear certain clothes. Whatever!

On choosing “flattering” clothes: These girls are just that: girls. They have bodies that are changing each and every day; there are going to be so many variations from girl to girl and even fluctuations for each girl as they are still growing. It’s just plain wrong that girls are being taught that they should present their bodies in a flattering way.

Kids should be kids, and messages like the one in the Discovery Girls article help to plant the seeds of poor body image/confidence in these kids, which could be extremely damaging. The results speak for themselves: Two in three 13-year-olds have a fear of getting fat, according to research. We need less media garbage and more empowering initiatives, such as the NYC Girls’ Project. We need to spread the message that our worth and purpose doesn’t include being physically attractive. As adults, we need to speak and act in a way that empowers ourselves and those around us. Change can start with us, if we’re willing to accept the challenge.

About the blogger: Kaitlin Irwin is a recovered anorexic who spent her college years struggling to hide her illness. With lots of support, patience and an Intensive Outpatient Program, she embraced herself, flaws and all. In her free time, she enjoys exercise, cooking and art and can usually be found with a good book, a journal or her fiancé. She hopes to use her love of creative expression to spread positivity and love to others.

Also by Kaitlin:

6 Tips for Creating a Successful Petition on Campus

Mattel Should Take a Cue from Lammily’s Male Figures

5 Ways to Establish Boundaries with Loved Ones with Body Image Issues

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