Fuck This World: A Magazine Tried To “Help” 9-Year-Old Girls Find The Best Swimsuit For Their Body Type
Body issues are something that many women (and men, tbh) will struggle with their entire lives. Discovery Girls, a magazine aimed at readers aged 8-12, seems to want to make sure they start nice and early for their readers. The magazine recently printed an article that was meant to evoke body-positivity, but it seriously backfired.
The latest issue included a chart titled “Which Swimsuit Best Suits You?” This sounds harmless enough, like the kind of dreck you’d see in a women’s magazine at the nail salon — but keep in mind that these are 8 and 9 year olds. They shouldn’t be encouraged to think about their particular body shape in relation to others at such a young age (or ever, in a more perfect world).
Understandably upset over the magazine, women have taken to Facebook and Twitter to articulate their disgust.
She’s got a point there, but I would argue that body issues do exist when you’re as young as 9. It’s naive to think that they don’t. I feel like every woman has cried in a dressing room on at least one occasion. For me, that happened when I was 11. If my memory serves me, I’m pretty sure it was because my shorts were three whole sizes bigger than my younger sister’s and I was mortified.
Plus, the chart came from a place of good intent. In an open letter – because this is 2016, and open letters are an expected response with this kind of stuff – Catherine Lee, Publisher of Discovery Girls, addressed the controversy on Facebook.
“First, I want to thank all the parents and my amazing readers who brought this swimsuit article to my attention. As the founder of Discovery Girls magazine, and even more importantly, the mother of the first Discovery Girl in 2000, I am in total agreement with all of you regarding this article, so much so that I wanted to make this letter as public as possible. We want to make sure that our girls know that any article that makes you feel bad about your body is not a good article, and should be questioned.”
Alright, strong opener. Go on…
“It’s still hard for me to believe that an article so contrary to our magazine’s mission could have been published on our pages. I have been a loss for words for days. The article was supposed to be about finding cute, fun swimsuits that make girls feel confident, but instead it focused on girls’ body image and had a negative impact….As much we like to think that something like this would never happen to us, it did. We’re not immune to making mistakes, but we are always willing to get better and learn from our mistakes. We’d like to thank the readers who contacted us to let us know they couldn’t believe we could make such a mistake.”
I think this is pretty damn classy. She didn’t try to spin it and make it something that it wasn’t. She admitted the mistake. It takes a lot to swallow and admit that you were wrong and acceptance is the first step in activating change. Plus, it’s not fair to blame this one circumstance for perpetuating body issues for young girls. Plenty of cyber-bullies and insensitive marketing tactics contribute to that every day.