Now that I’m a Den Leader for my son’s Cub Scouts group and my daughter has started the Girl Scouts, I’ve been thinking more than usually about the gender divide in our children regarding interest, behavior, and learning.
So when a comparison between Boys’ Life and Girls’ Life made the rounds on the interwebs, I took note. I’ve been “taking note” of the messages between male-center and female-centered magazines for years, often thinking that women’s magazines were shallow and catered only to the baser parts of the same body-shaming culture, and men’s magazines were just as shallow, focusing on all the wrong things just the same.
But as bad as Seventeen Magazine is, for example, I often took comfort in the notion that my daughters wouldn’t have the nonsense of such a publication pandered to them.
Until now. Girls’ Life seems to be the same, shallow nonsense that every other women’s magazine prides itself on, only this panders—I mean “is safe”—to 12-year-old girls.
And to be fair, I am only using the main page and covers of each media company and magazine, which seeks to showcase the most important parts of their themes.
Boys’ Life banner offers games, jokes, and all that “boy” stuff (which is really kid’s stuff) we’ve prided ourselves on for years.
Girls’ Life banner offers “Trending” and “Style” first, and then “Fitness” and “Crushes” because every 12-year-old girl needs to be stylish, thin, and hyper-aware of falling in love.
Boys’ Life features how to explore careers, books, and hiking tips:
Girls’ Life offers how to be chic, take a bath, and references whoever Gigi Hadid is and how she defended herself and her sister from the paparazzi. You know, stuff we should be teaching 12-year-old girls:
Boys’ Life is all about the gear and fun stuff to do.
Girls’ Life wants to teach my girl about her “tummy hair.” What the hell is tummy hair? Bonus: my girls get a sports-bra and skinny-abs picture to burn into their long-term memories as a standard.
Boys’ Life: chess, of course:
Girls’ Life: whatever the hell this is.
or this (does my 12-year-old need to know about “bae” yet?)—
and this (hey girls, make sure your fatty foods are healthy-looking, amirite?):
And, of course, this comparison.
I’ll just have to keep teaching my daughters to know when to say “this is garbage” because, before you know it, they’ll be reading all about how to please their boyfriends and look their skinniest when it really counts.
See you at the checkout aisle. I’ll be the dad in line ahead of you with the three kids saying no to their constant requests that we buy more gum and candy.
Photo:Léo Parpais/Flickr, Courtesy of Boys’ Life and Girls’ Life Media