From Our Readers

How Lizzie McGuire Ruined My Adolescent Self-Esteem

It takes a special kind of person to pull off a zebra print skirt, bedazzled platform sandals and a pink tie-dyed blouse. Unfortunately, I am not that person. But did that stop fifth-grade me? Heck. No.

I believe, most young girls born between the years of 1989 to 1997 would agree with my statement that Lizzie McGuire was not just a TV show, but a religion. And Friday nights on Disney Channel were the Sabbath.

The show tackled taxing issues that many a young girl had to deal with, such as first kisses and what bathing suit was socially acceptable to wear at a boy-girl pool party (Surprise! It’s a tankini. Who knew, right?). Despite all the good advice that the show provided me with, it also left me with a nagging inferiority complex. This insecurity was rooted in the unfortunate reality that Lizzie’s style was nearly impossible to translate into everyday wear. Have you ever tried to get a barista at Starbucks to take you seriously when you are wearing pale blue cowboy boots and a crocheted purple poncho? Let me tell you, it’s hard.

Lizzie was the only girl I knew that could rock a silk kimono with faded jeans. I mean, it was uncanny how she could pair red velvet pants with an American flag halter top, and still manage to be accepted by her peers.

Not to mention the hair. Oh, the hair. Every episode it was like a new arts and crafts project was perched on top of Ms. Duff’s golden tresses. Subsequently, every Monday morning before school I would be busy in my bathroom with pipe cleaners, pom-pom balls and a hot glue gun trying (with little success) to replicate Lizzie’s golden standard of style. The amount of crimping that occurred in that bathroom between the years of 2002 and 2004 can only be defined as obscene.

My favorite personal McGuire-style mishap occurred after a particularly compelling episode about Gordo’s Bar Mitzvah (Disney’s well-intentioned attempt at Judeo-integration) where Lizzie was featured with a bun held together by chopsticks. Due to a hereditary problem with indigestion, my family did not regularly consume Asian food, and thus had no use for chopsticks. But me, being a resourceful and culturally aware fifth-grader, understood that forks were just the chopsticks of America. So I went to school with several forks sticking precariously out of my head. Ten minutes into class I was sent to the principal’s office for ‘attempt to conceal a weapon on school grounds.’ It was obviously a dark time in my life.

Lizzie McGuire set an unattainable precedent for style and sophistication amongst the adolescent girls of America. No matter how hard I tried, I could not compete. But since the strange days of the early 2000s, I have grown into a style that is uniquely my own. Now I am a mature, young adult who gets my fashion advice from the Good Housekeeping magazines that I read while waiting in the doctor’s office.

Written by Mia Galuppo.

Feature image via.

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