Shoshanna Keats-Jaskoll had more than Back-to-School lunches to think about this weekend. As well as routines and after-school clubs to worry her, she was busy taking down gender stereotyping, one teen magazine at a time.
The mother of five compared two magazines sitting side by side on the shelf and was struck by how different their covers were.
While Girls’ Life and Boys’ Life magazine are not affiliated, Keats-Jaskoll felt compelled to bring to people’s attention how diverse the messaging was for each gender, posting the picture on her Facebook page.
While Boys’ Life encouraged its readers to ‘Explore Your Future,’ young females were given tips on how to get their ‘Dream Hair,’ ‘Wake up pretty,’ and ‘SLAY on the first day’ with 100+ fall fashion ideas.
“Is this why you became publishers, writers, graphic designers? To tell girls they are the sum of their fashion, makeup and hair?” asked Keats-Jaskoll.
The mom of two girls and three boys sent a call to action for all parents who might buy the magazine, urging readers to write letters or refuse to buy it in the future.
“You CAN fight the tide of objectification of girls. You CAN create covers and stories that treat girls as more than hair, lips, and kisses.”
Seeing these headlines on the front cover of teen (and indeed adult) female magazines is nothing new. But the direct contrast to those aimed at boys of a similar age really hammers home the disparity.
And while we shouldn’t totally discourage girls from any interest they may have in fashion and beauty, perhaps a broadening of the topics covered in these publications might help to close the gender gap at an earlier age.