Set Your Standards Higher


I recently came across a side-by-side photo of two magazines-Boys’ Life and Girls’ Life-with shockingly different covers. Although we have already covered sexist magazine ads and one thing we can agree on is that they send out a wrong message, many don’t realize that it’s the content published on these magazines that sometimes have far worse consequences than a sexist image.

Screen Shot 2016-10-05 at 1.00.15 PM.pngThe photo I came across shows the ‘Girls’ Life Magazine’ with headlines stating, “Your Dream Hair” and “Wake Up Pretty!”. The ‘Boys’ Life’ magazine on the other hand, show a large headline stating: “EXPLORE YOUR FUTURE”, accompanied by a list of job opportunities for boys: “Astronaut? Artist? Firefighter?”


How is it that, in the 21st century, magazines can spread male empowerment but simultaneously degrade girls by belittling their standards? This photo raises major issues and highlight exactly what is wrong with the portrayal of women in media. Why are we still stuck on this back-warded mentality that we associate women with superficial things like make-up and overall physical attractiveness, and men with hard work, career, and strength? Girls and women are better than that. We are more than our make-up, hair, and clothes. These magazines are deliberately forcing girls to worry about their hair and the way they look in the morning, rather than motivating them towards career-goals. Aside from completely opposite headlines on the two magazine covers, the Girls’ Life magazine features a young girl with make-up on and beach curls. The Boys’ Life magazine on the other hand, features no photo of a male, but include career images like a police badge, a firefighter hat, a microscope, etc.

Sadly, we can’t force these magazines to stop producing sexist content like this. However, what we can do—both boys and girls, men and women, is to refuse buying magazines that spread messages of inequality, sexism, and overall patriarchy.


5 thoughts on “Set Your Standards Higher

  1. Embrace the Challenge says:

    I enjoyed reading your post. It is true that women fought for their rights to be equal to men and worked hard over years in doing so. Today if we look around we see there are many women on the streets going and coming home from their jobs. In my neighborhood I see these women are well dressed but not only that, their clothes are neat and professional but their make up and hair are also on point. Just as you pointed out, the magazine titled “Girls’ Life” focuses, just from the cover, on how females should look. The women I see, in my opinion, reminds me of the cover because, yes they are working which was once what only men did, but they are also allowing the attention of others to go to their appearance. I might be wrong but I personally know of a few women who spend hours on their appearance and go in to a job they dread. I think women should be less focused on how they look and more focused and how to help society and help fight stereotype.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. doloresversusdaria says:

    Perhaps what society should do is start making magazines more universal. By universal, I mean focusing on topics that relate to both genders. One example was a publication that I myself purchased in 2005, but have sadly never seen again on shelves, “Movie Magic”. What was so great about the magazine was it provided behind the scenes interviews and stories which sparked interest not only in the top fantasy films of the year, it appealed to both male and female readers.

    Now before anyone starts jumping on the bandwagon of complaining that Hollywood images are superficial, they are only make-believe, what needs to be noted is the main focus of the entire publication was giving an in depth look at the jobs of author, set designer, actor, crew member, and also magazine writer, copier, photographer, and publisher. These are some of the professions any person can aspire to do. It is sad, as you have noted, that a single listing of jobs “meant only for boys” turns young girls and women to thinking they will be “stuck” being in the stereotypical positions of homemakers and/or caregivers.

    I think before any magazine, or media advertisement for that matter, creates an article which sparks controversy to the male versus female society “norms”, care must be taken in how others are going to react. Yes, people need to formulate their own thoughts and opinions. Yet there is going to still be the constant and never ending struggle to classify others by specific label. Are we ever going to learn the true meaning of humanity? That while opinions and ideas from all people from all walks of life are essential, what is said and done will make a ridiculously huge impact on the entire world.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. wheredidallthefeministsgo says:

    I love your writing. It is so entertaining and spirited. I have to ask though, is it really the magazine’s fault that the ads seem sexist? Aren’t most magazines supposed to interest a certain market? Many women WANT a magazine with the latest hairstyles and fashions of the season. I am not saying that I agree with either side, but in many ways, women tend to hold themselves in that “girl” stereotype. How many times in your lifetime have you heard a girl complain about having to do something that should be their husband’s or boyfriend’s job? Or complain about their makeup or hair getting messed up? Or getting dirty? Or…..breaking a nail? I live in the country, surrounded by farmers, and even I hear women make comments that really feed into the whole idea of the “girl stereotype”. I think that it is important to remember that all women are different. Some women LIKE to read about those superficial things, not all women, but clearly enough of them to keep that magazine in business. The sad thing is that the Boys’ Life magazine is doing the same thing to males. Why are all the jobs “manly”, can’t boys aspire to be teachers or nurses or librarians? Do they have to be astronauts and firemen and “manly men”? I want my sons to grow up thinking that they can be whatever they want to be, just like I want my god-daughters and nieces to feel that they can be whatever they want to be. Unfortunately, society as a whole feeds into and supports the stereotypes and it is our job as individuals to decide what we want to teach the next generation, what we want to endorse, and the messages that we convey.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. wiggybird says:

    Completely agree with your statement that we can stop buying magazines that are so blatantly sexist. It is unbelievable how our young women are bombarded with images of so called “beauty” and these impossible bars that are set for them.

    Liked by 1 person

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