Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Girls Need Flight Plans, Not Advice on Hairdos!

I was at Barnes & Noble today, looking through their magazine rack. And there's all kinds of fun stuff there, from hobby magazines like horses, fish, woodworking, model planes, to dozens on arts and crafts (knitting, scrapbooking), travel, history, ya da ya da.

So my eye falls on two magazines, American Girl and Girls Life. And I decide to look at them. And it's just enough to make you cry in frustration.

American Girl is a magazine aimed at girls aged 8 through 14. Now, girls at these age shouldn't be interested in boys (IMHO), they should be interested in themselves, in finding their interests, in reading about role models, from aviators like Amelia Earhart to scientists like Sylvia Earle to explorers to engineer and so on. The kind of thing you find in boys magazines in the same age level.

But what do girls get?

"Four hairdos you can try."
"How to not feel jealous."
"Are they really your friends"

I don't recall seeing an article on "What to eat so you dont get fat" but I'm sure there was one in there too.

No wonder women are obsessed with their looks and prone to eating disorders, when they are taught from age 8 (actually, earlier than that) that that is what they must be. At age 8 girls shouldn't be looking in magazines wondering if this or that hairdo will make them look pretty so that the little boys in their class will find them pretty! At age 8 through 14 it's moms who should be making that decision. But of course at age 8 a girl is taught that she's just got to look pretty for the boys (and if she doesn't want to spend time making herself up there's something wrong with her) and so by age 10 she's whining to her mother every other month that she needs a new hairdo....

According to Wikipedia, here's what goes into a typical issue:

AG Art Gallery (drawing sent in by readers)
A poem written by a reader
Shining Star (A paragraph about a reader who did something to help others)
A buzzword
Contest section
Heart to Heart (a discussion on a certain topic)
Friendship Matters (tips and advice on friendship)
A fictional story
A quiz
Help! (girls ask for advice and AG answers it)
Behind the Scenes
True Story (a letter sent in by a girl about something that happened to her)
AG Poll

Puzzle Palooza (Formerly called Brainwaves) (puzzles which includes a word search, photo fun, art sleuth, & a few other puzzles & mind games)
Creative Corner (which includes crafts & cooking recipes)
Laffateria (jokes by AG readers)
Mini Mag (a small version of the magazine with only about 16 pages for readers to cut, fold, and give to their dolls or stuffed animals)
Coming Up (tells you what's coming up in the next issue of AG)
Usually includes a party idea based on a theme such as ice cream, monkeys, or a disco party

Then there's Girls Life.

Wikipedia doesn't tell me what the age range for that is... but considering the sexy teen girl on the cover I'd say 12 - 14, maybe 10 - 14.

Here's the typical contents:

We've Got Mail! (Letters from readers)
Giveaway Calendars (Prizes you can enter for each day)
Short Stuff (little mini articles)
Dear Carol
Cheap and Chic Fashion
New Fashion Trend
New Beauty Trend
GP BIs (Best friend advice)
Body Q&A
Guys Q&A

Fashion trends, beauty trends... body Q&A, Guys Q&A..

Go to the Girls Life website and you see the cover for the Valentine's Day issue:

1. The Cutest Fashoin and Beauty Finds Under $20
2. 12 Things You Do That Guys Secretly Love and Six That Freak Them Out
3. 8 Ways To Feel Instantly Happier
4. The Friend Every Girl Needs, Is She In Your Crew?
5. Quiz: Does He Like You Like That?
6. Taylor Swift: The 10 Things She Wants You To Know About Love
7. 3 Moves To Amazing Abs

I'm like.... jesus. Once again, no wonder girls have no self-identity and are so needy around guys, and so obsessed with guys, and rarely go into fields in which they have to compete with guys (musnt't be better than the guy, otherwise he won't like you).

Of course these magazines are just Womens Interest magazines with the vocabulary dumbed down a bit, you get the same crap in Redbook and ....whatever other women's magazines there are... meantime guys get the fun magazines! Of course GQ and so on have articles on sex, too... and how to get those killer abs, but they also have interesting articles on cars, planes, trains, automobiles, etc! But in girls magazines...there's nothing of a mental's all boys, boys, boys nad how to be attractive and not repulsive to them.

Wonder if that's why girls school grades go down so precipitously (on average) once they hit 12 or 13 .... it's at that point that the indoctrination kicks in that its not about how much they know, but what they look like, that interess the guys, and if they don't have a boyfriend by age 13 there must be somethign terribly wrong with them.

Of course, I appreciate that it's at this age that the hormones kick in and girls do start to be interested in guys in that way, but there shouldn't be such a desperate and anxious tone to it...

Okay, end of rant.

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