Magazine Covers – why they matter.
This image has made me think – and think a lot.
You see, it reflects back to me what I see in nearly every magazine on shelves across the country.
Images of what society deem we should look like and what our goals in life should be – and right from a very young age.
There have been many conversations, debates and TV Shows about body image, how it effects our well-being, mental health and view of ourselves in society.
The ‘body beautiful’.
And chat shows like Loose Women have tried again and again to break down these barriers and to point out that life is more than looks, make-up, hair, wrinkles and stretch marks. Their campaign ‘Body Stories’ attracted lots of media and press attention.
But fundamentally, does anything really change?
We applaud, we clap, we celebrate, retweet and share on all social medium platforms when campaigns are launched to readdress the focus on body perfection. But this incredible and very stark image of a young girl’s magazine, highlights exactly how far we still have to go.
I want my daughter to grow up worrying about what the weather’s like as she wants to go camping, or deciding what book to read next. Not being overwhelmed with what nail polish to choose, or if she has the latest hair-cut and make up on.
I just can’t see how we are moving forwards towards a more balanced society, where dreams of being happy and successful in life are celebrated more than someone’s looks.
As a young girl, I was very lucky – my parents always said I could do anything I wanted to. Which, when I said I wanted to study drama at A’Level and University, they still approved of. Quite impressive really – who really builds a career after a drama degree?!
So I genuinely believed I could do anything. But what I hadn’t connected was the challenges that still existed for women in the workplace and that although women and their role and position within society has changed, there is still so much further to go.
The BFI have just launched their latest findings, where British cinema’s gender imbalance worse in 2017 than 1913 – how crazy is that?
How is that even possible?
The Women And Work Commission also found:
Unleashing women’s full potential could be worth £23 billion a year to the Exchequer
So, with the combination of gender balance issues still problematic in the workplace and magazines still concentrating on body perfect images and how we look, it’s no wonder our young girls / women struggle to find their place in the world sometimes.
How can we expect our daughters to achieve their potential when they are surrounded by information, technology and images that tell them beauty, perfection, hair and make-up defines us?
Now I know, this is a sweeping statement, and not all young girls take notice of these magazine covers or indeed give them the time of day. But I genuinely believe the second half of this image (thanks to the the amazing Katharine Young) shows exactly how young girls should be presented with the options in their lives.
Ultimately how to be the best they can be and achieve their dreams (even if it is in drama!)
Now don’t get me wrong, support and advice on sex and boyfriends / girlfriends is still needed. These aspects of our lives can feel overwhelming when you’re a young girl and shouldn’t be ignored either. But more balance by publishers is needed, particularly when they’re planning their magazine covers. Their focus needs to include all of the opportunities that surround young girls and what the world has to offer them.
I want my daughter to grow up asking about how she can become an astronaut, a doctor, a lawyer, a technician, a hairdresser, a performer, an engineer. I want her to assume that every choice is an option for her. That she can decide where her dreams will take her. But also be backed up by knowledge that this is what society wants for her too.
I really believe this image presents the challenges to our young girls so clearly – the statement it makes cannot be under estimated.
What are your thoughts? Am I over-reacting and taking this a little too seriously? Please do let me know. I’d love to hear your thoughts.