Thursday, March 21, 2013

Review: BYOU Magazine

Being a young girl has always been difficult, but I think it is getting harder by the day. The expectations, the peer pressure, the mean girl factor, media portrayals, perfection obsessions, and more are contributing to making girls feel inadequate and insecure.

I see it in my own beautiful daughter, and it makes me so sad. I have tried since she was born to build her up and make her feel strong, smart, and comfortable in her own skin. Yet when I took her to the doctor the other day and the nurse weighed her, Bethany was horrified at the number on the scale. Why? I'm not sure, but it seems that she has an idea that her weight should be under a certain number. My daughter is made of muscle; slender, strong, and with envy-worthy washboard abs. There is literally not an ounce of pudge on her. And even with the perfect body she has been blessed with, she is insecure and has body image issues. What of the little girls her age who still have lingering baby fat, or who are gaining weight faster than height as they go through puberty? What of the underweight, skinny ones, with knobby knees and bony shoulders? They are no less beautiful and perfect in their own right. But we females are somehow brought up to believe that we are never quite enough.

And it certainly doesn't end with our physical attributes. Our choices are questioned, even well into adulthood. Stay-at-home mom? You don't "really" work. Working mother? You should be home with your children. We can't win. So often, we are not taken seriously, and it's not just the men who are doing it to us. Women are the worst critics of other women. Instead of supporting one another, we judge. We wage unnecessary and frivolous wars over things that shouldn't matter. I'm not talking about battle grounds in faraway countries. I'm talking about school yards and social media, text messages and PTC meetings. We're not nice to each other, and it starts young.

Bethany has had girls who are barely acquaintances freely approach her at school to let her know they don't approve of her outfit or how she did her hair that day. I know some people take pride in their frank, unfiltered honesty. But I don't think any good ever came out of insulting someone under the guise of righteous honesty. If your words are going to hurt someone without helping them, bite your tongue!

Positivity is something that is sadly lacking for young girls these days. We need more media and support to make them feel good about themselves, so that they can carry that self-confidence into adulthood and spread it to other women and to their own children. They need to be made to feel that their ideas are important, and that they matter.

As a mom of three daughters, I am passionate about nurturing the self esteem and confidence of young girls. So when I was given the opportunity to review BYOU Magazine, a magazine geared toward 8-14 year old girls, I was really excited by what I saw. I read stories about fulfilling our dreams, making goals, starting small businesses, and embracing our own unique traits. Full of practical advice, good role models, fun ideas, and empowering information, reading BYOU was a definite breath of fresh air. I am so happy to see that something of this quality is being published for young girls, and I hope that it continues to gain popularity so that its positive message will spread.

BYOU (Be Your Own You) Magazine is published bi-monthly and available for purchase at thousands of book stores across the U.S. and Canada, as well as online (cover price: $3.95). Subscriptions are available for just $17.97. Some regular features include:

  • Celebrity Interviews, with a strong emphasis on positive role models.
  • Girls Making a Difference, both celebrities and "real" girls are highlighted for their community efforts
  • Self Esteem Education and Information, including common issues like friendship problems and bullying
  • What It Means To Me To Be Your Own You, featuring real girls sharing self esteem tips and thoughts on what it means to be your own person
  • BFF Column From A&A, Allisyn Arm and Audrey Whitby, stars of Disney's "So Random", give friendship advice
  • Shining Your Heartlight Bright, with age-appropriate beauty tips - inner and outer beauty; also featuring real girls
  • B-On Location With BYOU, invite BYOU to photograph what real girls are doing to be true to themselves in their communities
  • B-Smart, offers a chance for readers to exercise their brains with fun games and puzzles because it is cool to be smart!
  • B-Silly, encouraging girls to have fun without being self-conscious and overly concerned about what others think
I love the positive, empowering messages throughout BYOU Magazine. I love the strong emphasis on "real" girls, and the great things they are doing. I love that everything in the magazine is age appropriate, and there is no questionable content. The whole magazine is designed to make girls feel good about themselves, in a genuine, un-superficial way. 

If you are the parent of a daughter between the ages of 8-14, I strongly encourage you to check out BYOU Magazine. It's spreading the kind of messages that our girls need to hear and believe!

To order BYOU Magazine, please click HERE.

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I was provided with an issue of BYOU Magazine for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

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