Criticism was harsh on Twitter and Facebook, with parents already struggling to help their children have a positive body image, regardless of their shape and size. Discovery Girls' readers are between 8 and 13 years old.
The publisher responded in a Facebook post saying that the article was a mistake and contrary to the magazine's views. She also took the opportunity to promote the Discovery Girls' book.
An open letter from Catherine Lee, Publisher of Discovery Girls
First, I want to thank all the parents and my amazing readers who brought this swimsuit article to my attention. As the founder of Discovery Girls magazine, and even more importantly, the mother of the first Discovery Girl in 2000, 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. 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.
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. I have been a loss for words for days. 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. We've received hundreds of thousands of letters over the years from girls sharing their insecurities about their bodies. We've been so concerned about helping girls have a healthy body image that we wrote an entire book, Growing Up, on puberty and body image.
The book, which took over five years to write, was a labor of love. We worked with so many writers, editors, and over 20,000 girls and their parents, too. We invested so much time and effort into it because we knew how important it is to get it right. Our girls need resources to provide them with the guidance they need to develop a healthy body image and love all that they are.
As much we like to think that something like this would never happen to us, it did. We're not immune to making mistakes, but we are always willing to get better and learn from our mistakes. We'd like to thank the readers who contacted us to let us know they couldn't believe we could make such a mistake. It means a lot to us, because it means you hold us to a higher standard, which we hope you will continue to demand from us. And for those of you who don't know us as well as our regular readers, our reader's comments are what keeps us improving. This is what makes Discovery Girls the magazine that we're all so proud to be a part of. I know with certainty, if you hang in there, you'll find that no magazine works harder to ensure the well-being of your daughters than Discovery Girls.
Chicago Tribune article, in my opinion, doesn't help. The author does a great job criticizing Discovery Girls, but the article photo shows girls will similar, thin bodies.
- How well does Lee's response work? How could it be improved?
- How does a "mistake" like this happen? What do you think went wrong, and how can the magazine avoid it in the future?