Parents are outraged by a Discovery Girls magazine story that aimed to help preteen girls pick the best bathing suit for their “body types.”
While the mission statement for Discovery Girls encourages its young readers, ages 8 and up, “to love all that you are,” the article titled “Which Swimsuit Best Suits You?” discusses how to best cover and accentuate certain body parts.
Girls who were “curvy on the bottom” were guided toward swimsuits with details on the top or sides of the suit to “pull the attention up.” Girls “rounder in the middle” could wear bikinis that had higher-waisted bottoms to “draw the eye inward.” And those who are “curvy up top” were told to wear suits that “draw the eyes down” as “coverage is key.”
Parents quickly took to social media, calling Discovery Girls out for promoting poor body image at an early age.
The magazine’s publisher, Catherine Lee, issued an apology on Facebook yesterday morning, saying she’s “been a loss for words for days” and is “in total agreement” with the criticism.
“It’s still hard for me to believe that an article so contrary to our magazine s mission could have been published on our pages,” Lee explained. “The article was supposed to be about finding cute, fun swimsuits that make girls feel confident, but instead it focused on girls’ body image and had a negative impact. Nobody knows better than Discovery Girls how impressionable our girls are at this age and we are ALWAYS mindful of this.”
Lee went on to explain that she published a book in 2013 titled Discovery Girls Guide To Growing Up: Everything You Need to Know About Your Changing Body, which promotes positive body image. The book was inspired by the “hundreds of thousands of letters over the years from girls sharing their insecurities about their bodies,” Lee said.
As for the criticism of the piece, Lee encourages it. “We want to make sure that our girls know that any article that makes you feel bad about your body is not a good article, and should be questioned,” she said.