Saturday, September 29, 2007

Good for Girls

I hate the term pre-teen. I think that it encourages girls to grow up too fast, looking forward to those "magical" teen years and the joys of makeup and boys and eating disorders and binge drinking. Oh, wait, maybe those were just my teen years.

And more even than pre-teen, I hate tween. Seriously. Tween what? Reminds me somehow uncomfortably of twink. And also the Olsen Twins.

But there is no denying that I am the mom of a person going through some serious changing and growing. The most recently contentious piece of which has been the ridiculous and beloved Bop magazine. I read Bop (and its evil stepsister Teen Beat) as a young teenager; I cut out posters of Corey Haim and Corey Feldman and Kirk Cameron and plastered them on my walls. But I hate when my daughter reads it (drools over it, more like) because it just seems so... vapid. My mom should have stopped me. Although I would have hated her if she did. Plus S just seems so young for all of that.

In a fit of insanity I purchased for her a copy of some teen magazine that featured her favorite movie, High School Musical. And when I found her comparing her very healthy body to the oversexualized, made-up, airbrushed, professionally good-looking young actresses in the magazine, I freaked out and banned teen magazines completely from our house. I have not yet been forgiven for this act.

It was, perhaps, an overzealous response to a bad situation I created myself. I should have forbidden them from the beginning. In my own defense, I have always tried to let her make decisions for herself and then engage in dialogue about them (this has worked well with Barbie dolls and swearing)--but my own history with body issues made this magazine issue very real and concrete for me, and I could not let it go.

I've been looking for an alternative magazine to offer her that is geared towards her age group but with positive and thoughtful material, and finally found a couple that I think I can live with:

New Moon Magazine has no advertising and tackles such pressing issues as "Barbie: Friend or Foe" and represents a wide range of real girls and diversity of lifestyles. There is a free sample issue available onine (pdf). Best of all, it doesn't look lame.

Muse Magazine
also looks good, if a little more academically oriented.

I might just get her both. I feel like I should offer an alternative instead of just saying no. I wish parenting came with a cheat sheet.

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