Do Teen Magazines Teach Girls To Hate Their Bodies?

UK papers Telegraph and Guardian both published findings from a report by Women In Journalism — namely, that websites of magazines for teenage girls are urging the girls to upload photographs of themselves and post ratings of their bodies, much as the "lad mag" sites do. While the teen sites don't exactly approach "Assess My Breasts" territory, they are extremely close: Bliss, a British teen magazine, had a "How Sexy Am I?" feature, which asked girls to rate their own bodies with options like "beautiful" or "ewww." The section, which was recently taken down, had 10 body parts — including tummy, thighs, legs and breasts — about which the teens could choose "happy" or "hate 'em."

The site run by Bliss also has an "Airbrush Me" section which will give your photos "a celebrity makeover" — taking out red eye and zits.

Another site, run by Mizz magazine, asks readers to rate "lush lads" — pictures of shirtless boys. Maybe turnabout is fair play, but the message — that only the surface matters — is what sticks. The report states that in a study of 3,000 young women, more than half of 16- to 25-year-olds said that the media makes them feel that "being pretty and thin" is the most important thing.

Fiona Bawdon, the author of the WIJ report, says, "The message that you get in the editorial sections (of magazines), if a girl was to write in saying her nose was too big, is that you are fine as you are." But the websites do not have that editorial voice of assurance. "Should a teen magazine really be encouraging young girls to think in terms of 'hating' their still developing bodies?" And we're wondering — is there anyone out there who still thinks the next generation is going to turn out okay?

Girls' Websites Criticised For 'Lad Mag' Tactics [Telegraph]
Websites Aimed At Teenage Girls Using Lads' Mag Tactics [Guardian]
Earlier: Feeling Sexually-Objectified? It Could Be Your Own Damn Fault
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