Teen girls know something boys do not. This is not a shot at boys. Girls understand that the images are routinely altered. In fact girls have been leading the revolt against magazines more and more over the past year. CBS news recently shared the story about a group of teen girls leading a protest against Teen Vogue. Armed with "Keep it Real" signs, they wanted the magazine to stop altering body shapes. Young activist 14-year-old Julia Bluhm started the movement with her crusade against the altered photos in Seventeen magazine as mentioned in the Denver Post.
Boys need to know
On the surface there is really no need for boys to care about this issue, but the fact is, it affects both genders. In her class, Growth Ed, Dr. Cara Natterson talks to 5th graders about the images that they see every day. Invariably she finds that the boys do not know the images are altered to erase any imperfection. Why is this problem? Dr Natterson explains it best in her Mom.e article with the statement. "Boys, your girlfriends will never look like this."
Beauty Myth vs. The Masculine Myth
The gender gap here is huge. Teen girls are told about the beauty myth in order to protect their self-esteem, teen boys often are not. But the altering is not limited to the women; take a look at the men depicted in advertisements and you will see how the perfection can be discouraging to a growing boy. Perfect skin, chiseled abs, good hair, never a blemish or strand out of place. The same beauty myth creeps into boys lives without a word.
Clue your boys in to the deception
These ads are designed to do much the same thing as women's advertisements, sell product. Whether is it is supplements or a new car, the images serve as a lure. Clue your boys into the game.
Start talking about the images your sons sees. Let them take see the extreme difference between a plain, unaltered photo and a Photoshopped image. Go ahead and emphasize healthy eating and exercise, but do not let that overshadow character discussions and personal development that goes beyond the exterior.
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