Tween magazine receives criticism over swimsuit spread

Ali Dade

A popular magazine aimed toward pre-teen girls has come under fire recently for presenting a spread in a recent issue that showed young girls how to select a swim suit based on their body type and size.

The magazine, Discovery Girls, is aimed for girls ages 8–13 and, to quote the tagline, the magazine is “by girls, for girls.”

On the magazine’s website, the founder and publisher, Catherine Lee, set forth the mission that she hoped to achieve with this magazine:

“To encourage girls to love all that they are, to further their independence through a belief in their own abilities, to guide them through the most difficult of times, to excite them with choices they may have never known they had, and to give girls a voice,” states the magazine’s mission.

Many parents of young girls have begun criticizing the magazine, saying that the recent aforementioned spread goes against the mission that Discovery Girls set out to accomplish.

The spread selected three body types to focus on, including: “curvy up top,” “straight up and down” and “rounder in the middle.”

Those girls who should consider themselves “curvy up top” were told that “coverage is key” and to specifically look for certain styles that would “draw the eyes down” on the body.

Furthermore, girls who should consider themselves “straight up and down” should opt for asymmetrical suits that would “add curves” to their bodies.

Lastly, girls who should consider themselves “rounder in the middle” should shop for big patterns to help conceal certain areas.

“I think this article is a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” said Kimmy Woodworth, sophomore art major. “It feigns acceptance and body positivity by showing different body types, but it excludes so many, including mine. It’s also harmful because it’s trying to sneakily dictate what young women wear based off of their body shape, instead of encouraging them to wear what makes them feel comfortable.”

Some readers feel that this article is just another way of the media telling young girls how to fix their bodies, rather than embracing them, thereby instilling more negative body issues in the minds of girls.

“The media rarely ever tells us to embrace the body we have or feel good about the body you’re in, but instead will tell you what you can do to fix your body,” said junior English education major Laura Wiseman. “This article is showing [young girls] that they should cover up areas of their bodies that society tells them they shouldn’t show if it’s not perfect when really girls should just be able to wear whatever makes them comfortable and happy.”

After receiving criticism, Lee issued a statement on the magazine’s Facebook page.

“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,” Lee wrote. “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.”