Can you remember what you were worrying about at the age of 10?
Perhaps you didn’t have the ‘It’ shoes for school (yup, we’re looking at you, Kickers). Or you’d fallen out with your best friend on the playground. Your brother might even have chopped ALL the hair off of your Bratz doll…
But, hopefully, you weren’t thinking about your body.
Discovery Girls magazine, which is aimed at tweens between the ages of eight and 12, has sparked a huge debate after a swimwear feature – which teaches young girls how to find the ‘right’ suit to flatter their body type – has gone viral.
Published in their latest issue, the article is called ‘Which Swimsuit Best Suits You?’, and includes diagrams and tips which seem to be encouraging young girls to focus on the shape of their body ahead of summer.
One tweet, which accompanied a screenshot of the double page spread, read, ‘Hey @DiscoveryGirls, why not include diet tips/surgical options with this? Your readers are 9, after all. Tick tock’ [sic].
According to the Daily Mail, the article advises girls who are ‘curvy up top’ to look for a ‘top that fits like your favorite bra’, and that young ladies who have ‘straight up and down’ bodies can ‘add curves with asymmetrical straps and bold prints’.
It also states that, if you’re ’rounder in the middle’. ‘higher waisted bottoms’ are the way to go.
Considering the target audience wouldn’t even have reached puberty yet, we can’t help but feel incredibly uncomfortable about this.
Naturally, social media was quick to react. Tweets included: ‘This is abhorrent. Magazine for 8 year olds @DiscoveryGirls reducing their focus to flattering swimwear. Do better.’ and ‘Weeping for my future daughters.’
Catherine Lee, the publisher of Discovery Girls, took to the magazine’s Facebook page to issue a public apology.
She wrote, ‘As the founder of Discovery Girls magazine, and even more importantly, the mother of the first Discovery Girl in 2000, I am in total agreement with all of you regarding this article, so much so that I wanted to make this letter as public as possible.
‘We want to make sure that our girls know that any article that makes you feel bad about your body is not a good article, and should be questioned.
‘It’s still hard for me to believe that an article so contrary to our magazine’s mission could have been published on our pages. I have been a loss for words for days.’
The letter also included the message, ‘Nobody knows better than Discovery Girls how impressionable our girls are at this age and we are always mindful of this…’
Let’s just let children be children.