UK Mag Promises More Feminist Fodder For Tween Audience After Dismal Survey

Katy-Perry

Well here’s some news to delight the young feminist inside us all! A magazine in the UK called Girl Talk (no relation to us, though we are defs fangirling over them big time!) aimed at tween girls is undertaking a massive overhaul.

They just released their 500th issue, and to mark the occasion, they decided to poll their readers in a bid to give them more of what they want, and find out what really makes them tick.

They surveyed over 350,000 of their readers, mainly aged 7-10, and asked them who their heroes and idols were. Magazine editor Bea Appleby told the Daily Mail that the results they received were rather shocking, and forced them to re-think how they wanted to proceed with the next 500 issues.

“We wanted to…find out more about their lives. So we asked about the women they admire, what worries them, careers they aspire to, and whether they believe they could reach those goals,” said Bea Appleby.

Apparently, the list of Top Ten most admired women were all celebrities, bar one who is an author, Jacqueline Wilson. Katy Perry was voted ‘most admired celebrity’ by the readers, followed by Taylor Swift in second place, and Jessie J in third. They survey also revealed an overwhelming 80% of young girls would rather be described as “pretty”, “kind”, and “funny”, as opposed to only 20% who counted “clever”, “strong”, and “brave” as important attributes.

Athletes, politicians and businesswomen barely registered on the survey, and more than a third of the girls surveyed had ambitions for a career in entertainment. Oh boy, look at what the media has done to our younger generation!

In a bid to do their part and make a different for the UK’s girls, Girl Talk magazine launched a campaign in conjunction with their 500th issue called #GirlsAreAmazing to highlight positive role models and broaden the scope of the minds of their readers.

girl-talk-magazine-girls-are-amazing-campaign

“I would like our readers to feel inspired and confident and that they really can achieve anything they like,” said Bea Appleby. “So much is said about the media having a bad effect on girls so we had to really look at ourselves and and make sure our influence is positive.”

They have banned any pop stars who are wearing skimpy clothing, in favor of profiling women across a range of careers and industries and their achievements in the world.

This means they won’t just be featuring pop stars and celebrities, but more athletes and other young women making a difference in the world like Malala Yousafzai, and UK track-and-field athlete Jessica Ennis. The posters included in the magazine will also be more varied.

malala-yousafzai

As part of their new feminist overhaul and promise to teach UK girls about positivity, the magazine also will be excluding certain topics, which are covered a-plenty in other publications. They won’t be including content related to sex, puberty, boyfriends and anything else that isn’t age appropriate.

They also won’t be covering any stories about Rihanna, Miley Cyrus or Robin Thicke anytime soon either.

“They aren’t really aiming their products at our readers. Anyone who persistently rolls around in their underwear or sings songs with rude lyrics won’t feature in the magazine,” said Bea Appleby.

“We want to make different kinds of women visible to [our readers]. Women whose success is not based on looks.”

Ah yes, the magic words! It is rather impressive to see a magazine that influences such young minds being conscious about their content, rather than just serving the interests of board members or advertisers. They say the survey was inspired by their suspicions that there was something very wrong with the media being aimed at young girls. No kidding!

“There are lots of news stories and statistics about the lack of good female role models, the pressure to look pretty, sexualized pop stars, low self-esteem, girls’ narrowing ambitions, and the fear of them growing up too quickly,” says editor Bea.

Miley Cyrus

“We want to encourage girls to achieve more and break away from limiting themselves with old-fashioned beliefs about what they can do.”

Before the new issue was launched Bea Appleby wrote to the Telegraph in the UK her reasons for turning Girl Talk into a feminist tome.

“We had to take on some responsibility for our readers’ attitudes and make a change. We had to accept that we’re the ones feeding them the celebrities they admire. We had to show more than pop stars, hairstyles and kittens. We had to inspire them to have confidence, ambitions worthy of their potential and a sense of their rights.”

“We aren’t being radical, but we are promoting feminist values – equality, sisterhood and empowerment. And in every issue we print our Girl Talk promise:

• I will love myself the way I am

• By working hard I know I can achieve great things

• I will accept others for who they are

• I will have confidence to stand up for my friends and other girls

• I believe girls are equal to boys”

Bea and her team at Girl Talk feel confident they can make a difference in the lives of their readers by being purposeful about the content the provide on their pages. Being that they are the UK’s longest running pre-teen publication, it is a good sign of things to come. Perhaps other magazines will follow suit and realize that feminism is more important than ever, because it is about fighting the good fight against harmful and negative media message, and ensuring young girls grow up with a healthy sense of what they are capable of in life.

Yes to Girl Talk, yes to Bea Appleby for being a badass feminist leader for tweens, and yes to girls being amazing and worth more than what we are taught! Here’s to a generation of smart, strong young women who will continue to question everything and find their self-worth in places other than the media, and their physical appearance.

girls-are-amazing

 

 

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