The other day I was waiting in a checkout line by a large rack of magazines. I was struck by the fact that almost all of the female-oriented magazines had “sexy” and/or “hot” in large letters on the cover. “Sexy hair,” “sexy shoes,” “hot body,” “sexy abs,” “sexy moves”….
What does this say to women? Even more important, what does it say to girls? Our culture places so much emphasis on being sexy so that, presumably, you can get a guy.
TalkStarter: When you’re in a checkout line with your teen/preteen daughter, ask her what she notices about those headlines. Why does she think so many magazines have “sexy” on their covers? What are the magazines trying to achieve? Could it be that they’re trying to sell magazines by making women and girls feel insecure and in need of help “catching” or keeping a guy? How does she feel about being manipulated by the media this way?
Addressing these sorts of things head-on can help your daughter not fall victim to the cultural undertone that sexiness is all-important. Be countercultural– underscore that there really is more to life and happiness than being “hot.” True, she shouldn’t ignore appearance completely; good grooming and a healthy body are important. But being friendly and kind, being a good friend, taking responsibility, developing her natural gifts—these are the things that will make her appealing to others, including guys.