It is crazy that an entire month has gone by since I wrote an open letter about the Girls’ Life and Boys’ Life covers, and it is still in the news.
Within two days, the letter, written after seeing Matt Fyre’s image posted from a local library, was officially viral. The press contacted me beginning with Refinary 29, then Huffington Post, and from there it was covered in The Daily Telegraph, Scary Mommy, and tons more outlets including some in countries such as Korea, Belgium, France, Canada, and some in languages I don’t recognize. Then, celebrities Amy Schumer, Blake Lively, and Katie Holmes shared the image, which bumped it even higher in the spotlight with the TODAY show, US Weekly, NYTimes, Yahoo Style and more extended the audience that saw the image and my words.
I do not think that I wrote anything that anyone else wouldn’t have said, in fact I believe that is why it went as far as it did. I am also aware that the image itself did 90% of the work. The contrast was just to stark to ignore.
While the two magazines are unaffiliated, and Boys’ Life is put out by the Boy Scouts, the overall problem remains, and so does the point.
We simply cannot speak to girls as though their appearance is the most important thing about them. And that is exactly what covers like this do. A girl sees this and feels she must be pretty, popular, cool, and in style.
Of course, lip gloss and fashion are part of the many women’s lives. But God help me I really don’t think we need to be pressuring GIRLS to wake up pretty and slay people with their looks.
We have become so inundated and immune to this constant barrage of messaging that we simply don’t register them consciously anymore. Like that smell coming from my refrigerator that seems so noxious when I walk in the room, but eventually I get used to it and ignore it until someone walks in and says, WTF?.
More of us need to do this.
What I most hope comes from the incredible traction and reaction this letter and image garnered, is a change to better and deeper messages to our daughters — and sons– about what and who girls and be.