What messages do we send to our teenagers in their challenging years?
And why do we send such negative messages to teenage girls, and positive messages to teenage boys?
Katherine Young, a 31-year-old graphic designer, was shocked when she first saw two magazine covers next to each other.
“The worst part for me was ‘Wake Up Pretty,'” she said. “I mean what the hell kind of unattainable standards are we setting for kids? Being a girl is hard enough without thinking you are somehow a failure just by waking up in the morning.”
So she decided to “fix” the Girls’ Life cover and create an empowering version that she thought could be just as educational and inspiring for girls as the Boys’ Life cover had been for boys.
For Young, fighting back against what she saw as the “unattainable standards” set by covers like the one she saw on Girls’ Life was personal.
“I always felt like I wasn’t good enough in my teens and early twenties because my jean size was too big and boys I liked never liked me,” she said. “The popular clothes stores wouldn’t even carry my size. It didn’t matter that I was accomplished, had integrity, and achieved my goals one after another. I thought something was wrong with me because I didn’t ‘wake up pretty.'”
So let’s take the time to be intentionally positive about the meaningful things in a teenagers life that can set them up for the years ahead (and not set them up for failure through unattainable and shallow standards)