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NEW YORK (CBSMiami) – A magazine aimed at girls aged eight to twelve years old has come under fire for an article in which it advises young girls how to choose swimsuits that flatter their body shapes.
Discovery Girls Magazine describes itself as a publication created “by girls for girls” but it’s adult women that are reacting to an article in its latest issue.
It’s being heavily read and criticized by parents.
The article is titled “What Swimsuit Best Suits You” and it gives style suggestions for girls who are “curvy on top,” “straight up and down” and “rounder in the middle.”
“It’s disgusting,” said Ariana Levin, a mom from Harlem, New York. “I mean we have enough problems with teenagers. For you to start this young, it kind of breaks my heart a little bit.”
The article evoked outrage online.
Pictures have been posted and re-posted on Facebook pages, such as groups for moms, with comments such as “then we wonder why girls have body issues.”
“These girls are going to change, probably several times over their lives,” said Sherri Heitner, an upper west side resident. “They should be empowered to know that they can change.”
Experts say the problem is the article suggests girls have something wrong with their bodies.
“Telling girls you should feel uptight or uncomfortable about these body parts, and this bathing suit will help disguise it or cover it up,” said Carolyn Meyer-Wartels, a licensed clinical social worker.
The feedback back the swimsuit feature has been so negative the publisher of Discovery Girls Magazine admitted their mistake in an open letter on Facebook.
“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,” the letter said in part.
Parenting experts say you should also lead by example when it comes to body image.
“The worst thing you can do is to criticize your own body in front of your child,” said Erika Katz, an author and parenting expert. “So if you’re positive about yourself, you’re more likely to have a child who is positive about themselves.”
Parenting experts say this article presents a real teachable moment, making this a good time to have an honest conversation with your child about body image.