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.

Featured image via.

  • Hazel Mae Hansen

    Love my job, since I’ve been bringing in $82h… I sit at home, music playing while I work in front of my new iMac that I got now that I’m making it online…

  • Samantha Street

    I really like your perspective on this issue, and will be reading this article to my impressionable preteen sister. It’s time to focus on being healthy…healthy mind, body and soul.

  • Kacie Graham

    Your last couple paragraphs go against what Hello Giggles is supposed to stand for. What happened to supporting women’s rights while having fabulous nails? I agree with the main point of the article, that our youth needs to be educated in all different aspects of life.

    The magazines you’ve referenced are very clear with what they talk about – women’s health and fitness = clearly about food and body issues, vogue = obviously fashion. That’s why they don’t have heavy articles about music or poetry. If you want music, read Rolling Stone. If you want poetry, subscribe to literary journals. I have a variety of interests, which is why I subscribe to a variety of magazines.

  • Laurisa Mahlin

    I’ve never found being intelligent and being fit mutually exclusive. I actually think it’s a sign of intelligence if you know how to exercise properly, target certain muscle groups, and read an nutrition label. Chances are that if you have “excess belly fat” then you could treat yourself a little better in the kitchen and/or the gym. And why not? Everyone is worth it!

    Your point is well taken, but let’s not knock swing the pendulum too far in the other direction by telling girls that they don’t need to worry about their health as long as they read Shakespeare. Mind, body, and soul are all equally important. I’m not sure that tearing down those magazines that focus on the body is the best way to make the mind more important.

    And at the end of the day, the goal is to do your best and improve where you can. There will be girls that have great nails but suck at math. There will be girls that can run a 5 minute mile but can’t manage to eat the right amount of veggies. There will be girls that have a perfect eye for fashion but are terrible public speakers and have crazy anxiety. If you can find a magazine that encourages you to improve upon one of your weaknesses, go for it. If you find one that celebrates what you already love, wonderful. But the best part is that YOU determine everything that goes into your body. That includes information.

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