From Our Readers

Self Love? Self Hate? How about Self Indifference?

All I read about nowadays is body image. How to get thin, toned thighs. How to work off that embarrassing belly. How to enhance your boobs and butt and lose that pesky arm fat.

I’m sick of it. I’m sick of getting all these magazines I get in the mail every month that are so hyper-focused on one thing, and one thing only: getting a slammin’ body.

Let’s think about this. You’ve got Seventeen, Glamour, Teen Vogue, Women’s Health. These are all magazines catered to young, impressionable teenage girls. If you know these magazines, you know that their primary objective is appearance improvement.

Why aren’t the top selling teen magazines about good music recommendations? Current events in teen culture around the world? Book reviews? Travel stories? Poems? Why is it that the main thing these magazines focus on is getting hotter and strengthening your stomach muscles, as opposed to getting smarter and strengthening your mind?

I truly don’t believe it’s fault of teen girls today. We eat these magazines up month after month because it is what we are taught. It is what society shows us is normal, popular, right. We subscribe to these magazines because we have become accustomed to it. We don’t notice the wrongness, the superficiality, because we have never been taught anything different.

The fact that some girls live in this appearance driven bubble for all of their lives is disturbing and sad. I wish that popular magazines put less of a focus on material objects and looks and more of a focus on interesting, empowering subjects.

And yeah, I know there are magazines out there like that. I know that if a teen girl wanted to read about intellectual things, she could. But it’s not the norm. It’s not what is widely distributed. Originality and ingenuity are traded for make-up tips and monotonous date ideas, and no one is getting anything out of that.

I guess what I’m trying to say here is that society needs to portray the typical high school girl as being driven, intelligent, and down to earth. She would have diverse music preferences and be well read and interested in world events. She would know about interesting people, bands, and writers. She would know all the cool venues for live music and poetry. She would care more about improving her mind than her looks.

Instead, the typical high school girl portrayed in these magazines is obsessed with trivial things like make-up, trends, and dating. She spends all her money on the latest hair treatments and goes on dates every weekend. She reads Seventeen like it’s her bible, and all her friends know her as the girl with the cutest nail polish colors. Why is this the accepted ideal? Why is this what girls are expected to strive to be?

Why can’t we work together as a society to take the focus off of superficial things and recreate the typical high school girl? Just think of the good it would do. Just think of how much happier and content it would make these girls. Just think of the confidence we would acquire.

Take the label of “boring” off of news and literature, and instead put it on negative body talk and make-up tutorials.

It’s time that Glamour gives us tips on enhancing our minds, as opposed to our cleavage. The era of superficiality is over.

You can read more from Clare Roth here.

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