Magazines make the prevalence of sexism in our modern world painfully obvious. By creating and sharing overly photoshopped images paired with headlines that question and purport to help solve the “problems” with our physical appearance, they keep the consumerist machine — which runs on our insecurities — going.
Artist Katherine Young couldn’t believe her eyes when a friend posted the front covers of Girls’ Life and Boys’ Life posted side by side. She even Googled the images to make sure that they were real.
“When I saw the below post I was just in frickin’ shock. Can this be real? Is this photo fake? After googling current issues of these two magazines I found them to be real. I was just appalled.”
Katherine decided to take it upon herself to create a cover image that would motivate and inspire young females to also reach for their goals instead of striving to “wake up pretty.”
In just 10 minutes, she came up with a cover that focused on all the things in a girl’s life that could help make her a complete, well-rounded individual. She decided to feature Olivia Hallisey, the 17-year-old winner of the 2015 Google Science Fair, as the cover model.
The original Girls’ Life cover affected Katherine deeply. Despite having realized many of her life’s goals, she still always felt like she wasn’t good enough because of the size of her jeans, which most clothing stores wouldn’t carry. She felt left out and unacceptable by society’s standards, and genuinely believed something was wrong with her because she didn’t “wake up pretty.”
Earlier this year, artist David London also addressed the
insane unrealistic standards put on females.
The irony inherent in magazines like this is that, while they claim to promote physical health, they actually just focus on physical beauty, often promoting unhealthy ways to achieve it. What’s worse, they ignore a woman’s mental health, often pushing the idea that being happy means taking care of someone else’s needs over our own.
Blogger, Oscar T. Brand also found another major flaw in Women’s Magazines, it is essentially filled with over 50% of ads.
One company is very aware about how girls and women are underrepresented in tech (to be specific), so to get girls inspired early, they have created the Boolean Box.
Boolean Box is a self-contained computer engineering kit for girls (and boys), designed for ages 8 and up. It’s basically a built it yourself computer and electronics kit. How awesome is that?
If you want to learn more about the Boolean Box, check out their campaign here.
It’s so important to be vigilant about the information we ingest and where we choose to spend our money to get that information.
Magazine’s prey on our insecurities and capitalize on our self-hate. If we continue to spend our money in places that diminish our self worth, they will continue to send the same message.
Every day we are given opportunities to change, and magazines are the last place you’re going to find real inner growth. If you want to change, you have to do the work. Learn to sit with yourself so you can get to know who you are at your core. Do you really care deep down what celebrity wore what dress to that event?
Marketers aren’t stupid. They know what works. The Super Bowl charges 4 million dollars for a thirty second commercial; how much time do you spend looking at a magazine cover?
Amazing artists like Katherine Young and David London help to remind us of the brutal ways our health is being infiltrated, and their message is clear:
Love yourself for you who are and not who you are told to be.
“We can talk about making a difference, we can make a difference, or we can do both.”
– Debbie Millman, on the Design Matters podcast
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