Appalled Graphic Designer Shows Girls’ Life Magazine What Their Cover Should Look Like

AdvertisingGenderGirlsMedia 152 Comments

A couple of weeks ago we ran a piece about an image that was posted on social media and went viral. It was a side-by-side shot of this Girls’ Life magazine cover (left, lead image) next to the cover of Boys’ Life magazine that served as a harsh reminder of the stereotyped messages that, even in the year 2016, are STILL marketing to girls. We weren’t the only ones ticked-off by the image. After seeing it posted on her Facebook feed, Katherine Young, a graphic designer, took matters into her own hands and decided to show Girls’ Life what their cover SHOULD look like.

“When I saw the post I was just in frickin’ shock,” Katherine said. “Can this be real? Is this photo fake? After Googling current issues of these two magazines I found them to be real. I was just appalled.”

Putting her graphic skills to work, in just a few minutes, Katherine swapped out the cover girl for Olivia Hallisey, the 2015 Google Science Fair Grand Prize winner, and photoshopped in some new, inspired and empowering headlines. The result? A magazine cover that offers girls better alternatives to tips on how to “Wake up Pretty.”

Katherine was motivated to change the cover so that others will be more aware of the messages they are sending to girls. “We can do better. I hope this cover inspires us all to do better every day and be more conscious of the imagery our children are bombarded with,” she said in an email to WYSK. “I hope this sparks conversation with both girls and boys. They all need to know that girls are more than a pretty face.”

Girls’ Life… are you listening?


Images published with express permission from Katherine Young.

  • chesneyj

    If someone would make the magazine on the right, I would buy both of my daughters subscriptions until they were adults.

    • Emma Pamley-Liddell

      There is!! I just can’t remember it. Someone emailed me a link to an Australian magazine. I just can’t remember it lol.

      • Alex Thornton

        Because it doesn’t have the money and marketing power behind it?

        • Darren Pennington

          Yeah, that’s the extremely sad/depressing part.

          We get it. We just don’t enjoy accepting it.

    • Duke_of_Zork

      People HAVE made the magazine on the right, just not under that exact title. Why haven’t you bought it?

      • homasapiens

        Give us a link please!
        since you know so much and all…

      • Mom2ha

        Yes could you please share a title?! I have searched for this type of magazine in both in stores and online, and have not been successful. The closest I found were a couple religious magazines, but nothing close to Boys Life.

        • TK

          Hi ladies, reading your comments and so I Googled to find some other mags that send more well rounded, positive messages (I don’t have kids, so I didn’t know) for girls. Here’s one: Discovery Girl Magazine! It’s described as: “the best life and advice periodical for your daughter. Features that will help her learn from her mistakes, deal with disappointments, navigate friendship difficulties and many other character and confidence building articles!” Just what you’re all looking for, so I think you should all subscribe today! #PowerOfShe

      • Bre

        I remember getting American Girl magazine when I was a tween, and I remember it being more like magazine on the right. I don’t know much about the content these days, but the mag still exists:

        • Francesca No Berlusconi Flore

          American girl: “check out our new look”, “how to throw a star party” and “creative costume ideas”…. Not so awe-inspiring! Only difference is girl wearing braces on cover

        • ronin1973a

          Bake. Learn to be subservient. Both magazines are the two extremes of wrong.

          • San

            Bake yes, because cooking is a skill all genders should have, not just women. Learn go be subservient? Never. We are people wanting to raise daughters to achieve their fullest potentials. We want daughters who are free, independent thinkers who care about the world and have the willingness, passion, and drive to change it. Be willing to serve your fellow human and world by actively trying to change the wrongs of the world and do greater good, not by bowing your head, remaining quiet, and simply saying “yes, sir.” I want daughters who will see the injustices, stand up and shout “NO!” from the tops of their lungs. We need more magazines like the one on the right.

        • Alantar

          I was just looking this up – in the U.S. the Girl Scouts published a magazine “American Girl” until 1979, which has no connection to the contemporary magazine of that title.

          This is relevant, because this was a twist on a meme comparing a standard teen magazine with the Boy Scout magazine “Boy’s Life”.

      • S+
    • Charleysthebest

      There are lots of interest-based magazines. You just have to find them. My daughters were in scouts so they got those big magazine order forms which included every magazine, not just the most popular newsstand ones. They subscribed to things like Psychology Today, Popular Science, and Pointe Magazine (about dance). Most activities and schools are selling magazines right this moment. If they come to your door, instead of doing what most people do (saying no or resubscribing to whatever really popular magazine you already get), look through all the options and get your daughters something they find interesting.

    • S+
    • I might buy it for myself.

  • Anamaria Miehs

    A lovely and ideal concept, however it’s a bit out of place. Adolescence is naturally the age where we are experimenting, we value our peers opinions a lot, we care most about socializing and relationships, sex and love, and doing things that give us passionate and strong feelings. The word career is bland. It implies duty, which is mostly a chore and a bore. We want to be free, different and romantic. I’d rather go on follow your passion, discover your creativity, I’d redefine cool friends from a more wholesome perspective and give lots of experimenting skills ideas. Not many adolescents want to prove teachers and parents they have good grades, unless they want to shut them up. If they do learn, it’s mostly from genuine interest in the subject.

    • Dana F. Hanna

      But they do want to connect

    • Trina Perry

      Wow. Speak for yourself and YOUR shallow friends. My daughter and her friends are doing all of that shallow crap at the same time as discovering a world that values their brains, too.

    • Bobbi

      There are far too many magazines that already address those things. Is it too much to ask for a magazine entitled “Girls’ Life” to reach a little higher, take a different road? A girl’s life is more than makeup and fashion. Those are a part, sure. But shouldn’t make up the entire focus.

      • Sammie12


      • What

        Yes. It’s too much to ask. Go publish it yourself. You’ll make plenty of money I’m sure.

      • Anamaria Miehs

        No, it’s not. Don’t get me wrong. I’m all about learning and self improvement. But, as What states, it has to sell. It has to attract. If you want educated people, you have to convince them somehow that it’s a cool thing to be educated. Some kids will consider getting an education because their parents are good examples. But what do you do with kids of lesser education or ambition? Admiring pretty clothing is easy for anyone and has impact, because it implies sensory impressions, rather than abstract ideas. Unless thy have learned an inclination towards the latter, there won’t be much interest in such ideas. Maybe photo shootings should focus on teens doing spectacular, exciting jobs? Or add passionate inspirational persuasive articles anyone at that age can relate to? As in… propaganda?

    • Evan

      I feel so sorry for Ms. Miehs. Caught up in what kids ‘want’, in trying to fit ‘what’s cool and groovy’.
      Kids deserve more than that. They deserve adults who will push them into what will develop their skills, their characters, and their capacity to be true strong leaders for the future.

      • Anamaria Miehs

        Ok, Evan. Please tell us what most kids actually want, then…

        • Suzanne M. Lambert

          You’re the one who’s worried about what “kids want” — and the only one who claims to know what every adolescent is interested in.

      • evandaily

        I don’t think Evan’s point here is that he knows what kids want, rather that as adults we tend to focus on that and there are things like he spoke of which I would simply describe as “parenting”.

        I saw a mom I know post pictures on FB of her 3 kids lunches that she packed for school. Three lunch bags full of Oreos, Cheetos and string cheese. She was lamenting about it not being good for them. She wasn’t teaching them what good nutrition looks like and making sure that her kids were eating healthy, she was giving them what they wanted.

        What could she do different and what kind of effect would it have on her kids?

        Extrapolate for the magazine article above….

        • Evan

          Bingo. But I don’t think Ms. Miehs is capable of grasping things like this. She lives in a world where what a kid WANTS is what matters and bowing to the desires of your kid equates to good parenting.
          Like I said, I feel sorry for her.

    • Amy Luna Manderino

      If “adolescence” is “naturally” the age for socializing, sex and love, then why didn’t this month’s cover of Boy’s Life mention those things, too? And why did this month’s cover of Boy’s Life feature all the things you claim “adolescents” don’t find cool? Your views are both ignorant and illogical. Clearly, you drank the gender binary koolaid, lol.

      • Anamaria Miehs

        Yes, Amy, I happen to be a petty ignorant Southeastern European “peasant-minded” cisgender girl, who, although at that age, along with her peers, was preoccupied with exactly what I stated above, we still did most of us manage to get through the stressful and mostly inefficient school system, and actually somehow get our own direction in life and build decent careers, despite a poor system. Back then there was no such thing as career counseling, leadership classes, self-development. Some parents either raged you should do a safe, “reputable” job, maybe unrelated to your skills, or if they did want you be “free”, they didn’t really know how, or bother to teach you to ask yourself honest questions. I stated above, in case you won’t actually re-read my first comment, adolescents should be encouraged to experiment in any domain, including their inclinations and skills, including personal identity, love, sexuality issues. We are humans. We are not work-bots. We also desire pleasure and love, not only glory. It took me personally years of dilligent learning and observation to become a person capable of good work, of good relationships and that also values leisure time, adventures, and fun. I grew up with Bravo Magazines. And from what I see from this Boys’ Life Magazine you suggest, it’s pretty neat. What on Earth would stop a girl from buying it if she likes it? Do you just assume parents or girls won’t buy stuff that has “Boys” written on it?

        • Suzanne M. Lambert

          Funny, because 40+ years ago there was career counseling, leadership classes, and self-development. Maybe you just weren’t paying attention?

          How does the current “Girls’ Life” magazine encourage girls to experiment in any domain? It looks pretty restricted to me.

          You did not seriously just ask, “Do you just assume parents or girls won’t buy stuff that has “Boys” written on it?” You’re just pretending to be obtuse, right?

          • archesh

            Perhaps there were not all those things in Southeastern Europe?

    • Suzanne M. Lambert

      And yet, there are magazines specifically marketed to boys that do all the things you say adolescents don’t want. Are you sure you are talking about all adolescents? Or maybe just your little group of friends?

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  • Christine H

    Please someone create the magazine on the right! My daughters need that in their lives!

  • AmyS

    And this is why I’m scared to enter the world of Girl Scouts with my daughter. My son has been in Cub Scouts/Boy Scouts since he was in 1st grade. They have/will learn all sorts of quality skills for life … my friends with kids in Girl Scouts do lots of crafts and think that camping outside is Icky! I don’t want that for my daughter. Girl Scouts definitely needs an overhaul!!!

    • Lynn Parker

      As a ten-year Girl Scout leader, I have to say it’s totally dependent on the troop leadership. Troops are not given a dictated list of activities that the girls must accomplish. Girl Scouts is extremely decentralized, allowing girls the flexibility to drive their own program and decisions. It’s up to the adults leading the troop to listen and get out of their own comfort zones. My troop was all about the adventures – camping, hiking, white water rafting, ziplining. If you want an active, adventure-oriented troop, by all means, start one. Please. We need more courageous, adventure girls in the world! There is plenty of training to get you up to speed.

      • AmyS

        The decentralization is the biggest thing that confuses me. One of the things I really like about Cub Scouts/Boy Scouts is that kids of all ages are part of the same pack/troop. I don’t understand why a new troop is formed every year for the incoming kids.

        • Lynn Parker

          I felt much the same way as you. My son (two years older than my daughter) went all the way through Boy Scouts, and so I was constantly pondering the differences between the organizations. I liked some parts of the more structured path that BSA leads. But I grew to love the flexibility of GSUSA. If you have a troop that is all about service – awesome – focus on service. If you have a troop that is all about adventure – great – focus on that. It’s a relief to not have to punch any cards to get to the next level. No badges HAVE to be earned, no boxes NEED to be checked. As far as the lack of packs – I agree, it’s different. But it’s that decentralization issue that is a fundamental difference in organizations. I did feel like I was reinventing the wheel, until I networked in my service unit (sort of a pack equivalent, for leaders). Service units should be planning larger group activities (ours did), like overnights or parties or whatever. But because the troops are autonomous, you don’t need to do any of that unless you want to. I’m a huge fan, honestly. The pros far, far outweigh the cons – if you have a troop that challenges girls to grow and experience things out of their comfort zones. There is no other girl-centric organization that comes close to inspiring the courage, confidence, and leadership that GSUSA does. Caveat – with the right leaders in place. You (or any scouting family members) would be ideal candidates to lead.

      • Southern Quaker

        It is, and it isn’t. The badge system in Girl Scouts is very similar to the (original) Girls’ Life cover – lots of fashion and crafts, not so much science or adventure. And we found most of the winter focused on cookie sales – that were driven largely by the council, not the troop. My girls both lost interest very quickly.

    • susyq

      I was a leader for years and we camped, lit fires, learned how to cook and hike. There are some interesting badges now that we ignores like the destress one and the scrapbooking one. We focused on the others. fFind the right leader for you or become one yourself! It’s fun

      • AmyS

        I guess I’m just used to having a curriculum that is centered around getting the kids to go out there and do stuff rather than stay inside and craft! I’m glad to know that the opportunities exist to make it what I want but I feel like GS should be encouraging it’s members to be active outdoors and I definitely don’t get that message from them.

    • Madeline Foss

      Girls Life is NOT published by the Girl Scouts. It’s published by Monarch Services and has nothing to do with the scouting organization!

      • FoxNewsIsntNews

        Madeline is correct. Girls’ Life isn’t published by nor for Girl Scouts. It’s name is only a play on words of Boy Scouts’ Boys Life magazine, but that’s all that there is to the comparison. Girls’ Life is indeed largely a fashion magazine that continues to promote false body images and consumerism to adolescent women. 🙁

        I don’t believe Girl Scouts has a similar publication to the scout’s Boys’ Live magazine at this time Here’s a link to their Publications Page.

    • lumpesse

      On a national level, the Girl Scouts is a progressive and empowering organization. I had an amazing troop leader when I was a girl. However, it does largely depend on the troop leader since they determine what activities the group will focus on. You have to remember that centralization hasn’t really been a great thing for the Boy Scouts since they prominently banned LGBT scouts and leaders.

    • Karl Hutchense

      My daughter tried GS for 3 years. She saw all of the cool things that her brother got to do in Boy Scouts, so she gave up on it. She wanted to switch to Boy Scouts, but of course, they wouldn’t allow it. She did do the Pinewood Derby two years (actually won her age group the second year). After that, they didn’t let sisters of scouts participate anymore. Buncha sexist bullcrap. She wants to code, build robots, go geocaching, and camping in the woods, NOT sitting around making another stupid, useless craft!!!! So we started letting her tagalong with her brother on scouting field trips (we chaperoned and brought her with us). She is content to be involved in the much more interesting activities, doesn’t give a toot about the badges.

      • iluvaxo

        It’s up to the leader what the troop does when they are younger. When they are older, they get to decide. If you’ve been challenging them, they will choose to be adventurous when they are older (and the girly girls will drop out). I’ve had my troop since Kindergarten, and they are now in High School. I refused to take them to Build a Bear, Disneyland, etc. They camp, travel to places that they would never see, take self-defense classes, etc. If you didn’t like what was going on in your daughter’s troop, you could volunteer and make a difference not just for her, but for other girls. Male can be GS leaders. Go for it, Karl! : )

        • Karl Hutchense

          You are a rarity. Those girls will benefit immensely from your support. A lot of the girls in our troop didn’t like to get wet, cold or dirty. (eyeroll). So we did our own family and friends adventures and activities instead. The GS ship has sailed, and we are now consumed with competitive swimming.

        • Sheldonsmum

          I was a troop leader for my girls too, and a 4-H leader too. You are right, if the leader is doing it right, the girls will want to do amazing stuff if given the time to think about what they’d like to do. My troop was limited to 12 girls and I had to turn people away everyday, I mean EVERYDAY. There is a severe shortage of Girl Scout leaders, everyone who is concerned about messages young girls hear should take the time to find out if there is something they can contribute to a local troop. Maybe a donation, maybe give a lesson in something you’re very skilled at, every Girl Scout troop must have a “first aider” at all troop meetings and events. A first aider is any person who has passed the Red Cross’ first aid safety course, is certified in CPR and takes the time to fill out a few pieces of paper to be on file with the local troop. There are any ways to help. And honestly I don’t ever remember either one of my kids using a “paper” magazine. I’m kind of surprised that they even bother to publish non digital versions of any of the,…..

      • Worldwalker

        Some years ago, the GS troop in my hometown was looking for an adult with outdoor experience to be a leader/instructor on overnight camping trips. I talked to the leaders. I figured I’d teach the girls everything from what to do when lost to basic woodcraft. The leaders wanted to haul along construction paper and pipecleaners to teach “crafts” around the campfire. Yeah. Go out in the woods to make paper flowers. They decided to rethink the whole outdoors issue. Probably those girls are still meeting in a church basement and making paper flowers.

    • Sheldonsmum

      Girl Scouts is NOTHING like the fluffed up version of the actual Girls Life magazine. Girl Scout troops are led by the interests of the girls in the troop. When I was a Girl Scout leader, my girls built furniture from recycled materials, they renovated at community room at the church that allowed us to use their premises for Girl Scouting activities. They designed and made window treatments for the room,they used an opaque projector to make a design on the walls and painted what was essentially an indoor mural, they also learned yoga, how to garden, how to prepare a camp meal, how to make pasta from flour and water, how to use food scraps to make all natural dyes for clothing or hair, they had two classes with women who were herbalists, aromatherapists, and soap-makers. They visited different campiness finding out what types of jobs they did there and what they needed to do educationally in order to get some of the jobs they were interested in, they visited a cake decorator, a horse breeder/trainer, an artist, a yoga teacher and a massage therapist. We never ever once discussed hair, makeup, boys, or how to become more popular. Wow when I read this, I see that I was an amazing fire scout leader. No wonder my daughters are so awesome….

  • luckless pedestrian

    Raise your kids as people not “kids.” Ask their opinions on things throughout the day. Let them decide where to eat lunch one day. (Then tell them why that’s not a good idea!). You’ll be surprised at some of the things you hear. That’s how I raised my daughter (single Father) and now, at 24 years of age, she has a pretty good handle on things.

    • Suzanne M. Lambert

      Congratulations on missing the point entirely.

  • Mary Mantelli I’d buy a subscription to your magazine if it was like this for my school library and each of my tween/teen

  • Karl Hutchense

    Girls Life blows! Disgusting, sexist, brainwashing trash!

  • archesh

    I can only speak for myself. When I was in grade school/junior high/high school my whole life revolved around getting good grades, extracurricular activities, etc. I wore a uniform and no makeup. I dated very little. Sure wasn’t having sex. By the way, this was only in the nineties, not the fifties. I was just too bookish to have a social life. So I read magazines like Seventeen for novelty, and a glimpse into a world other than my own. I liked fashion then and still do. I didn’t want to finish hours of homework and pick up a magazine about careers and study tips. I wanted escape.

    • jrwlsju

      You sound like your were a sane kid.

  • Uschi

    But what image does that promote? Work hard, do your best, be the best, get good grades, please your parents – and for goodness sake – DON’T EVER BE YOURSELF, because if you are, you might slack off and won’t live up to your parents’ and community’s expectations, so be a good girl, buy the magazine to find out how you can better yourself!

    • Suzanne M. Lambert

      Best. YOU. Ever.

      Live YOUR Dreams.

      YOUR dream career.

      Take the stage for SELF expression.

      MIss the big shot and still win.

      Did you miss all of those? How does the original promote anything other than self-hatred? Living up to society’s expectations for women?

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  • Rayv

    There are other girl empowerment magazines. The guy was comparing a boy scout magazine to a grocery store trash mag. It only went viral because people don’t research. Just as the Girls life trash mag exists so does Maxim and JFH.

    • Duke_of_Zork

      “It only went viral because people don’t research.”

      Boy, if that isn’t the Quote of the Day.

      But people are trained these days to make a snap judgment based on a sentence or a bumper sticker, and discouraged from thinking more deeply about it, lest they learn something they don’t want to know, or find that the people they hate don’t deserve it quite as much as they thought.

      These same people will post sentences or bumper stickers about how everyone is stupid except them. You’re supposed to think that this anti-intellectual approach to everything is the opposite of what it is.

      • Kellea Martin LeSage

        While this is certainly true, and I whole-heartedly agree with the sentiment…it misses the point, I think. Upon my own further research, when trying to find boys magazines that give the same style of articles as the Girls Life, I came up empty.

        Comments here talk about how there are empowering magazines for girls, too – but no one remembers the names of them – I surmise it’s because media does not promote them like they promote the trash.

        The unfortunate reality is that there are tons (most?) of magazines that focus entirely on this crap mention in the article, and very few empowering magazines. On the other side, there are tons of empowering magazines for boys and none (that I was able to find) that anywhere on the cover even mention similar topics for boys. Men, yes – maxim, esquire, men’s health, even. But not for boys, telling them as they grow up, that the most important thing is waking up hot for girls.

    • Suzanne M. Lambert

      So, where’s the boys’ equivalent of Girls’ Life, then?

    • Kellea Martin LeSage

      Maxim, etc is for men. Where are the BOYS magazines that are similar?

    • SkippyFlipjack

      Maxim is marketed to men. Girl’s Life is marketed to kids. Don’t they deserve a little more protection?

  • Cathy Johnson

    YES. Shared on my page…poor girls, with that kind of pressure to be pretty, popular, but shallow.

  • blablara

    I agree with most of the one on the right except for the substitution of making friends and having fun with getting better grades. Why not all three? Friendships are incredibly important throughout life, and without fun, what’s the point? Fun is mental health. Fun is not shallow. By replacing it as a goal with high achievement, you’re simply substituting one set of reasons for young women to feel bad about themselves with another. “BEST YOU”?? That’s suggesting your existing persona isn’t good enough. Give the kids a break.

    • Suzanne M. Lambert

      The only reason you see that as a “substitution” is because you are comparing it with the original cover. Drama is fun. Doing good is fun. Friends can be made through both. Leaving your own dreams — what makes you think that have fun and friends is not among those dreams?

      “Best you” is suggesting that YOU are good enough. Be the best YOU; don’t emulate someone else — and don’t let anyone else tell you what your dreams and goals must be, or define for you what is “fun” and what is not.

  • Wish I had a magazine like he one on the right. As a teenager I felt total alienation as I wasn’t that interested in fashion and make-up etc … however I had no idea of what COULD be a potential future career/vocation/job for me. My “careers” officer at school pointed to factory and shop work – neither of which appealed. I wanted to do something interesting, but had no idea where to begin.
    It was assumed by schools and even my parents that I’d work at menial jobs, get married and produce kids by 21! I ended up in nursing instead and my dad had be labeled “spinster” by 23.
    I think had there been more access to literature (“The Jackie” was the teen mag of the early 70s for me) that had information that didn’t box me in, then perhaps I could have done some things I’d never realised were available to me until I was much, much older.

  • NA

    Why is this idea limited to girls; why not inspire every kid to be better?

    • Heather

      Because there’s already a boys magazine like this.

      • NA

        What’s it called?

        • ophmarketing

          Please tell me you’re kidding.

          • NA

            I’m not kidding. That’s why I asked.

          • ophmarketing

            It’s called Boys’ Life. The current issue, for example, has articles about exploring, hiking, careers, crafts, healthy eating, studying for tests…

          • NA

            Thanks. I looked this up. It seems to be published by the Boy Scouts of America (since 1911). Girls’ Life seems to be independently published since 1984.

            As someone correctly pointed out above, this is a comparison between something that’s been around for over a century to a trash magazine. Perhaps one can contact the Girl Scouts of America for a remedy?

          • Suzanne M. Lambert

            Meaning that for more than a century, boys have been encouraged to explore and develop their own interests, aspire to a wide variety of careers, achieve academically, personally and professionally, while girls . . . are still waiting.

            Or maybe someone could create a mock-up of an equivalent girls’ magazine to bring public attention to the problem?

          • NA

            The circulation of Boy’s Life in 2016 is barely 1 million. If a magazine is the ultimate decider between who is and isn’t encouraged to be better, there’s a broader problem at play.

          • Nathan Flatus

            Are modern children of *any* sex reading print magazines any more? I feel like we are arguing about what kind of messages our kids are getting from the telegraph.

          • MarkJeffries

            Isn’t that American Girl?

  • Landis Cole

    The girl on the right looks like a real teenage girl should look, and she’s so much more genuine, innocent and beautiful in every way the other girl is not.

    • MarkJeffries

      For those who don’t know, the other girl on the left is Disney Channel sitcom star Olivia Holt.

      • Shy

        Enhanced by Photoshop.

  • David Rice

    up pretty” made me want to puke. That’s the expected, mandated life of
    girls— always be pretty. (Urge to kill rising…..)

    • Obviously…

      Celebrate bed head!

    • thohan

      That’s actually the only article I’m interested in. When I wake up, I look like I had been interrogated by Chinese gangsters. It takes a while for my face to re-hydrate. If they know something…

  • Wanderdust


  • :Donna Marie

    I couldn’t agree more!

  • Frank Adam Brenner

    Brilliant. Nicely done.

  • Cheryl Nelson

    It seems like a lot of people are pointing out that Girls’ Life is just ONE magazine, and there totally are empowering girls’ magazines out there that no one can quite remember the name of. True, probably. I assume there are empowering girls’ magazines, even if no one seems to remember what they’re called. I’m sure they exist.

    So, flip that. How many boys’ magazines are there about waking up pretty?

    • jrwlsju

      If I remember my “Boy’s Life” magazine from my youth, it was mostly about camping, and arts and crafts. In fact, if you survey most boys magazines, they are about sports and frivolous adventure. In other words, they are RECREATIONAL. The magazine on the right seems too much like “eat your kale, it’s good for you.” You don’t always have to try to take over the world all the time. It’s OK to be frivolous sometimes.

      • SkippyFlipjack

        Yeah but, is there anything about the magazine cover on the left that’s NOT frivolous?

    • homasapiens


  • gramma2seventeen

    Really would it be so difficult to actually make a magazine like this?? This would be amazing- I will subscribe to 10 for each grand daughter

    • TK

      Here is the magazine for your grand daughters, I just Googled and found it easily: Discovery Girl Magazine! It’s
      described as: “the best life and advice periodical for your daughter.
      Features that will help her learn from her mistakes, deal with
      disappointments, navigate friendship difficulties and many other
      character and confidence building articles!” Just what you’re all
      looking for, so I think you should all subscribe today! #PowerOfShe

  • maureenc

    You want to know the sad thing? Twenty years ago (when I was twelve) Girls’ Life was 60% the cover on the right, 40% the cover of the left. It talked about girls who did cool things, and friendship issues, and yes, some fashion and boy stuff, because many preteen girls are also interested in those things. It was a pretty good mix, IMO.

    • SGA2

      In the early 1960’s girls’ magazines in the UK were entirely like the one on the right, with stories of adventurous young women pilots etc.

    • Angela T.

      Yes, the 80s were even more progressive- despite the usual challenges, a girl in the 80s wouldn’t imagine the kind of rampant treatment going today in media/online concerning them

  • Nick Burgoyne

    You all say you want the one on the right, but if that’d really sell, it’d be being produced already. Market forces dictate what is produced; if there was suffiicient market for this magazine, it’d already exist.

    People want to by ‘lifestyle’ and ‘aspiration’. Only a very small percentage of people care about intelligence or doing good works. Most people just want to see who’s shagging who or what Brittney looks like when she nips down to the 7-11 for a pack of biscuits and some Marlboros without her makeup on. Not good, not what ‘we’ would like but true 🙁

    • Suzanne M. Lambert

      How do you know that it won’t sell? It’s never been produced, let alone marketed.

      So why does Boys’ Life sell so well? Maybe you need to expand your magazine reading.

      • jrwlsju

        Looks like you have an opportunity to become a millionaire, Suzanne. Why don’t you produce it?

  • Concerned Person

    I saw a couple of posts peeps asking about a good magazines for young women. Maybe a couple options? I did a quick search and saw these two. Seems that there may be some good magazines out there. Of course I haven’t read them

  • Beth Anne

    I would actually subscribe to the ‘NEW’ and definitely improved version of the Girl’s Life mag for my daughter instead of Ranger Rick. If they also published a magazine similar for boys I would subscribe to that for my son instead of our Highlights subscription.

  • Obviously…

    I would have loved a girls’ magazine like the one on the right when I was a kid. And a a family and school environment that helped me understand how to use my talents and accomplish my goals.

  • Obviously…

    When I was a kid, I inherited “Calling All Girls” magazines from the early 1960s from my aunt. I couldn’t put them down. Articles about how to do things, the “Was my face red!” column, short stories, and crafts. It was an “every girl” kind of magazine. It evolved into Young Miss during the late 1970s, but it didn’t last long. No, Glamour was our go-to magazine on how to live in the 1970s and early 1980s.

  • ..thus guaranteeing the end of a girls fashion magazine. While I agree there ought to be such a magazine…I doubt if any interested girls would be spending/reading the empowering printed product. Online, more likely anyway.

  • Do you guys somehow think these kids are reading magazines, at all? Unless in a waiting room of a doctor’s office or something, not likely.

  • David Harris

    Even cynical marketing people with no social conscience whatever should be smart enough to realize that the magazine depicted on the right would SELL. I’d buy it for my daughters and probably read it myself.

  • Pixyst

    I agree with everything except the poor photography on the right.

    • JustTheFactsMa’am


  • rose
  • Blake Cerisano

    Putting her graphic “skills” to work …

    • JustTheFactsMa’am

      We eagerly welcome your artistic submission.

      • Blake Cerisano

        It’s the white text background that is a big no-no in graphic arts. So either she isn’t skilled … or her teachers don’t teach properly. One or the other.

  • superbad2011

    Great message. But for a graphic designer, she can’t select designer’s fonts, or kern worth shit. Did she make this in Microsoft Word?

  • salimbag

    I’m still appalled, just a little less so. The new cover is still pretty thin compared to the Boy’s Life cover that inspired this discussion. It’s still kind of feel-goody and primarily emotionally supportive in a way that, to me, reinforces feminine stereotypes, just different ones. Compare that to the “harder” STEM cover of Boy’s Life.

  • Peter G

    Yes and why isn’t there the one on the right?

  • James

    Wow, how embarrassing Girls Life!

  • Mary Gene Caldwell Beheler

    I’ll be 70 in another couple of months. I remember reading Boy’s Life when I was a kid. My uncle, only 2 years older than I was, had a subscription. I also enjoyed Popular Mechanics and Popular Science. (I read wall paper if it has words on it.)
    I took 3 years of technical electronics in high school, only one of two girls in the class. I entered college as an engineering major – 300 guys and me in the freshman engineering orientation class. I wasn’t able to finish, but I did use what I learned to get a job as a drafter, eventually designing printed circuit boards.
    Mom taught me to embroider, sew, cook, clean, and Dad had me gardening, hunting, mowing the lawn, working on the car, and dismantling an old house to salvage its wood to build a garage. He had me “figuring the rafters,” checking the hypotenuse of the foundation to see if it was square, and even installing the garage roof when I was 12 and 13. (Did the math without a calculator, just pencil and paper. I never had to ask, “What good is math?” Cooking and building took care of that question.)
    Somehow, my parents managed to never utter the words, “You can’t do that; you are a girl.” So, even with the The Reader’s Digest publishing stories explaining how girls couldn’t (or very rarely at least) be good in math and science. I decided that
    since I was a girl, and I was good at math and science, the guy writing
    the article didn’t know much. And when I heard a few whispers in the high school that I must be “queer,” I decided those students didn’t know much, either.
    So, parents, maybe _you_ will have more influence over your child, of any gender, than some magazine, in print, or online. Be careful what you teach them.
    And visit your local library’s magazine section. You and your child can sample oodles of different magazines, for free. Maybe one will be worth subscribing to.
    And when a local library or museum has a used book sale, the selection of magazines may include some you will see nowhere else, because many magazines cater to a particular industry, occupation, or rare hobby. Some will be practically new, others will be old. Some might even be in a foreign language!
    Life consists of more than team sports, dancing lessons, and fashion. Go sample!

  • We must ask ourselves “Which One Would Donald Trump Date?”

  • salimbag

    The new cover is the modern equivalent of “you can be a teacher or a nurse!” Better than having a housewife as the only option, but still sexist, but more subtly. Boys are the engineers and astronauts and run the world. Girls run the nonprofits and worry about their self-image.

  • Scott Dodds

    The new cover is the modern equivalent of “you can be a teacher or a nurse!” Better than having a housewife as the only option, but still sexist, but more subtly. Boys are the engineers and astronauts and run the world. Girls run the nonprofits and worry about their self-image.

  • It’s all about money. Advertisers want to sell their stuff, so they want to run ads in media that promotes “a certain life-style” and kids fall for it. Hell, we ALL fall for it; men, women, children, Martians; it doesn’t matter. Know when you’re being manipulated, and you’ve taken the first step.

  • Jeni

    both if these magazines are great for young girls. Very positive

  • At first glance, on my little phone, unable to read the copy, I thought this was merely a redesign and thought to myself “Gee, that cover on the left is so much better designed than the one on the right.” Then I read the article. While I totally agree with Katherine’s content choices, I didn’t think it was possible to make the cover even more poorly designed than the original, but Katherine did just that. With no sense of scale, bad cropping and no respect for typography (and those horrible little white boxes!) I’m amazed she calls herself a graphic designer.

  • johnsang

    As the husband and unpaid helper to my publisher wife I have some insight that may apply here. My wife publishes a regional free monthly parenting magazine. It is extremely difficult to distribute enough magazines to keep your circulation up to a point where advertisers are interested. You can have the best articles and the best intentions in the world but if you can’t keep your circulation up, you are a goner. Many advertisers these days put a lot of energy into the internet and marketing via Facebook etc. Many believe that print is passe so it is tough to figure out what will attract enough people to pick up the magazine or subscribe if that is your distribution model. Advertising sales is what sustains both free and subscription magazines, so your articles must conform to what they think is important (or attractive) to their marketing model.

  • What I find a shame is that if a young woman is academically gifted, she gets her photo taken by an amateur with a low-grade phone camera in terrible light. Why can’t we have magazines like the one on the right, but also with some production values? I don’t mean the subject needs to be made pretty, girly or like a model, but good photography shows respect to the subject and makes the publication more appealing and indeed inspiring! I agree, stereotyping needs reigning in though, for magazines aimed at both sexes.

  • Seileach Corleigh

    There’s New Moon, internet forum as well as magazine:

  • Seileach Corleigh

    Also, on Facebook, A Mighty Girl has lots of great inspiring posts as well as their catalog of books, movies, etc.

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  • There are plenty of good magazines for girls out there: Cricket, Muse, Spider, Cobblestone, Faces, American Girl, Discovery Kids – you just need to look. Unfortunately, there will always be fashion magazines that pander to the shallowest aspect of our society. And that is because there is a market. But there are plenty of good things out there for girls but we as parents need to steer them towards that and away from the Girl’s Life and Seventeen magazines.

  • Chava Malka Cooper

    while i like the idea, i’m not impressed with that graphic designer…

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  • magasine person

    i need this in my life

  • wottabout

    As an occasional graphic designer, I too am somewhat appalled. I appreciate the sentiment and I know I’m late to the party, but here’s my reinterpretation.

  • AMC

    Great mags for girls, if you like the one on the right, are Kazoo and New Moon. Both are avail as print and PDF, and include a membership to the site. Kazoo just started and is a quarterly mag, you can buy single issue or subscribe. New Moon for Girls has been around awhile, and you can buy back issues too

  • dr deb

    this is training them to buy the same genre of rag-mag when they grow up like PEOPLE and IN STYLE, I call it JUNK FOOD for the SOUL and wouldn’t allow my girls to read it, I also advise my dentist etc, to get rid of them in the waiting room.If we didn’t buy them, they wouldn’t publish this garbage. Boycott this UNempowered junk for our young women and they will stop cramming it down our throats.

  • SkippyFlipjack

    Bring back National Lampoon.

  • A. You’re absolutely right. B. Mobile version of the site is cutting off one character on the right margin, fyi.

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  • David

    This magazine cover will give children bad ideas!

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  • suruha

    I cannot believe how Katherine Young’s design has been blasted in these comments! It isn’t about the design as much as it is about the message, people! Don’t you realize our children pick up on this attitude, as well!? Would you want to read such comments when all you did was try to send a message?! Set an example! Look for the good in people! And pass THAT on to the next generation, not how bad a design is or isn’t!
    Thank you, Katherine!!

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