love and gloss
My 15-year-old daughter is obsessed with Glamour, Allure, and other glitzy fashion magazines that celebrate the fashion industry, which I happen to think is disastrous to women. Any ideas how to wean her off that oppressive garbage? And please don’t tell me “Just talk to her.” She’s 15. I need a better strategy than that.
—Staid at Home Mom
The Omniscient One says: Alas, your daughter is lost. Get her to a nunnery.
The Practical Cogitator says: Sign her up for a Photoshop class. She’ll learn that no one actually looks like that.
Strictly Classified says: I’m not convinced your daughter is the one with the problem, and I am not convinced that Glamour, Allure, and the like are “oppressive garbage.” Maybe you could take a different tack. Should she truly be interested in fashion, try getting her a sewing machine, or getting her some books on Elizabethan dress, or maybe watch some art films. Foster her interests—maybe then you’ll be able to have a meaningful conversation with your daughter.
The Sales Guy says: The media deluge on your daughter’s demographic is unrelenting. Magazines, internet, TV shows, and commercials aim solely to brainwash your child into conforming to their products and to spend money—both theirs and yours. You, my friend, are screwed.
The Shutterbug says: It’s fine for her to read the “glitzy fashion magazines” as long as she has a feminist lens to observe them through. Give her the gift of a subscription to Bust magazine, which focuses on empowering women and talking about beauty standards in a positive and realistic way. If she likes to read, also get her Full Frontal Feminism: A Young Woman’s Guide to Why Feminism Matters by Jessica Valenti. Once she begins to see magazines like Glamour and Allure from this perspective, all the shiny, sparkly sexism might seem less fun to her.
The Gay Perspective: Be a role model. Ask her about her interest in fashion. Talk about your own concerns, but don’t judge. You can help her differentiate between fashion—which can be marvelous and fun—and body obsession—which can be self-destructive.
Dining Out says: Have you seen the way teenage girls dress in this day and age? It’s mortifying. If your daughter’s not into Britney Spears midriff-bearing tops and Juicy Couture written on the derriere, then you should consider yourself lucky. If your daughter’s putting forth the effort to dress like a lady, then I wouldn’t worry too much about her obsession with fashionable magazines, glamor, and celebrity style icons. She will eventually replace her obsession with boys and then you can really start worrying.
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