As parents we are becoming more aware every day about the impact of food we feed our children. Who can help it right? It’s everywhere in the mainsteam news. The government has made it the current “war” for public health. Labels for “light,” “healthy,” and “natural” products are enticing consumers to change their habits. This attention has made eating healthy cool and hopefully the obesity rates will start to go down, because they need to.
While no one can argue the importance of eating healthier, the campaign against obesity is another example of what Americans can do when attention is focused by the government, multiple efforts are combined and dollars are targeted. Stakeholders agree that when it comes to the overall health of our children, their futures are honestly at risk.
However, waiting in the wings is a B-list issue waiting for its day in the big spotlight. And that’s the impact of modern media on young people. Some would argue that what kids feed their ears and their eyes is just as important as the food they put in their bellies. What they watch, listen to and read shapes how they see the world and how they see themselves. Unfortunately, just like it’s obesity counterpart, the effects of media are having a detrimental, even deadly, outcome.
Included in the media mix are women’s magazines, in particular fashion and gossip magazines with their touched-up, unrealistic images of women that are causing young women to have eating disorders, low self esteem and depression they carry into adulthood. On our homepage is a short video that gives statistics and information about how girls react to fashion magazines. A striking set of numbers is how few women are actually in leadership roles. They also state that the desire for leadership peaks at age 8 for girls.
Is it a coincidence that girls can read the magazine covers by then? When was the last time you saw a magazine cover have words like integrity, hard work, leadership or community service?
Do you dread reading the covers in the check out lanes? I do. I think about girls who will see those same covers and get the impression that a woman’s life is about her looks and how to attract men. And that the less-than-virtuous-activities and shallowness of pop culture stars have value.
I’ll confess that this a hot issue for me personally. It makes me crazy to see the Kardashians on so many covers for their escapades. I don’t have a daughter, but if I did, Kim Kardashian would not be an acceptable role model. So where do women of all ages get to read about more suitable role models?
It’s a big reason I started GoodLiving magazine. To offer an alternative; to have a magazine of substance that celebrates everyday heroes, healthy living and positive relationships. Women featured in GoodLiving are stepping up to make the world a better place with their hearts, their minds and their passions. These are role models that deserve a cover shot.
Hopefully more publications will follow suit and say no to the junk they are feeding eyes of all ages. But then again, the food producers didn’t start changing their offerings until consumers and the powers that be started putting pressure on them to change their ways. So as Americans, we have said we no longer want junk processed foods poisoning our bodies. Likewise we need to say we no longer want junk music, movies, tv, magazines, books and websites poisoning our minds. Turn it off and vote with your dollars.
~Pam Settle, GoodLiving editor