Discovery Girls Magazine's Swimsuit Story Causes Outrage

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A tween magazine has outraged parents everywhere after it published an article for its young readers to choose a swimsuit based on their body shape.

Discovery Girls is a publication for girls aged eight to 12 that aims to “empower girls to celebrate who they are and strive to realize their potential.” But in it's April/May 2016 issue, the magazine published an article titled “What Swimsuit Best Suits You?” telling its readers what bathing suit should be worn to cover certain flaws.

“If you’re curvy up top, coverage is key!” reads one of the article’s tips.

Side ties and cutouts draw the eyes down,” it continues, offering a one-piece bathing suit option for curvy girls.

Other tips included wearing a swimsuit with “high-waisted bottoms” or “busy geometrics” for those who are “rounder in the middle.”

The article sparked immediate backlash on Twitter.

In response, the magazine’s publisher, Catherine Lee, issued a public apology on Facebook.

I am in total agreement with all of you regarding this article, so much so that I wanted to make this letter as public as possible,” she wrote on Tuesday. “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.”

“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,” she continued. “We’re not immune to making mistakes, but we are always willing to get better and learn from our mistakes.”

Despite Lee’s lengthy apology, many parents were still unhappy with the magazine and what the article was teaching their kids.

Facebook user Robyn Cohen, who is also a pediatrician, commented, “Thank you for your letter but again, would there be a similar article in a boys’ magazine about ‘cute fun swimsuits that make you feel confident?’ There is no need for any article that highlights how focusing on your appearance at this age (8-12) will make you more confident. Not developmentally appropriate material. Period.”

"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."

Others were quick to agree. One even argued, “Why on God's green earth do you operate from the premise that girls need cute swimsuits to ‘make’ them feel confident? My daughter IS confident and would be quite taken aback to hear that adults out there assume she is not.”

According to recent stats from the Canadian Women’s Foundation (CWF), 36 per cent of grade six girls say they are self-confident, while only 14 per cent of grade 10 girls do. Additionally, nine out of 10 girls say they feel media pressure to be thin.

For tips on how to build your daughter's confidence and self-esteem, check out parenting expert Alyson Schafer's advice.

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