Mom rants about a teen girls’ magazine and nails everything that’s wrong with messages we send our daughters
We’ve got a very serious problem here. Hell, we’ve had a serious problem here for a long time. And it’s what we’re telling our girls. Girls only care about fashion and getting boys to like them. Or some version of that. Nothing shows that problem more obviously than comparing the cover of a magazine targeted to girls to the cover of a magazine targeted to boys, side by side.
The evidence is glaringly obvious. The messages sent to our girls versus our boys couldn’t be any clearer, or more concerning. Mom of five, Shoshanna Keats-Jaskoll, mother to two girls and three boys posted this genius picture on Facebook this week.
Dear Karen, Chun, Kelsey, Brooke & Paulette,
I address all of you for two reasons. First, you are all on the masthead…
It’s the covers of Girls’ Life and Boys’s Life right next to each other. Although the two magazines have similar names they are not owned or operated by the same company. Along with the picture, Keats-Jaskoll wrote an epic open letter to the editors of Girls’ Life magazine slamming them for reducing our girls to fashion tips, kiss-and-tell bullshit and other superficial nonsense.
Keats-Jaskoll writes,” Your cover has a lovely young lady with a full face of makeup and you invite your readers to ‘steal her secrets’. The Boys’ Life cover has in bold letters: EXPLORE YOUR FUTURE surrounded by all kinds of awesome gear for different professions- doctor, explorer, pilot, chemist, engineer, etc. subheading — HERE’S HOW TO BE WHAT YOU WANT TO BE.”
She then asks the million dollar question – could these messages be any more different? We’ll go a step further and ask could the messages to girls be any more ridiculous? Absurd? Reductive? Shallow?
This is misguided media influence at it’s finest. We’re telling our girls they should value their appearance above all else. Their worth is determined by their bodies, what clothes and shoes they wear and what boys think of them. Girls are encouraged to do well in school, but not to worry about having a serious career.
Keats-Jaskoll then compares the content inside the magazines, “Your true stories are: ‘real girls smooch and spill.’ Boys’ Life true stories are: ‘True stories of firefighters in action.’ ” Damn.
What in the actual hell are we teaching our girls? Here’s what’s on the front cover of the magazine:
Your dream hair
Wake up pretty!
100+ ways to SLAY on the first day!
The new denim checklist!
Girls’ Life has women editors and writers who are presumably smart, professional women. So why would they perpetuate the very images and messages that they don’t benefit from either? We’re just going to assume profit, which probably drives a lot of other publications to promote the same content. Girls’ Life is hardly the only magazine geared towards girls that sends these damaging — and yes they are damaging — messages to our girls. Women’s magazines do the same crap, too. We’re not saying women shouldn’t care about fashion, makeup and hair. We’re just saying that women are so much more than that.
Consumers have a choice. By continuing to buy into the sexist bullshit, we are part of the problem. We’re not doing anything to help ourselves or our girls. We can demand better for our girls. We can fight the culture of reductive nonsense that limits our choices and limits us as human beings. We have the power and it’s our paper: our money.
“You CAN fight the tide of objectification of girls. You CAN create covers and stories that treat girls as more than hair, lips and kisses,” writes Keats-Jaskoll. “Until you do, I guess I’ll sign us up to Boys’ Life because the quiz I want for my girls isn’t ‘Am I ready for a BF’ its ‘What Do I Want To Be.'”