American Girl Magazine (May/June 2010)
I recently reviewed New Moon Girls Magazine and was particularly impressed with the way it provides interesting and encouraging content to young girls without succumbing to the harmful media trends that can potentially harm their self-esteem. American Girl Magazine is another publication that appeals to girls without excessively highlighting gender stereotypes. You won’t find articles here on how to win a boy’s affection or properly apply makeup. Rather, American Girl focuses on a combination of real world issues, like relationships with friends and family, and fun features like recipes, craft ideas, and quizzes. This particular issue offers the following sections:
- Together Time—suggestions for activities to do with parents
- Rooms for You—how to jazz up your room to fit your personality, be it earthy, artistic or sporty
- Frosted Friends—recipes for baking and decorating cupcakes, complete with cupcake stickers
- Which Friend Are You? And: Save or Spend? Quizzes
- Small Stuff—tips for decorating your doll’s room
- Puzzle Palooza
- Puppy posters
The magazine also publishes quite a bit of content from its young readers. This issue alone features drawings, letters, recipes, and more from over fifty girls. In my opinion, this gives readers the feeling that they have a role in the creation of the magazine and that the things they mail in have a good shot at being included.
While some feminists might bristle at the “girly” aspects of the magazine such as the encouragement to bake, decorate rooms and hang up pictures of puppies, I do not believe that this undermines the positive potential of the magazine. Some young girls are just plain girly, and there’s nothing wrong with that so long as it’s by choice. American Girl does, however, forgo an unnatural focus on appearance, weight, or popularity. In this way, the magazine provides an excellent alternative to other publications that push agendas that are toxic to a young girl’s development.