Amy Schumer says “No” to teen girl magazine cover
It’s not often that I share my opinion on topics that go viral on the web. I usually stay low key on topics that mainstream media finds juicy, but this time I’m just too annoyed to remain covert. While scrolling threw my Twitter feed, I spotted a post comparing the covers of “Girls’ Life” and “Boys’ Life” magazines and it immediately caught my attention. @WomenInTheWorld tweeted about an Amy Schumer Instagram post (below), comparing the opposite messages that the two magazines were delivering to their preteen audiences.
Credit for the viral post actually belongs to Shoshanna Keats-Jaskoll, an entrepreneur and mother who shared her views on the covers early this month in a lengthy post on Facebook. This post has received so much attention because it’s another example of the mixed messaging for girls versus boys when it comes to self improvement—girls through fashion and beauty, boys through education and career. When looking at these two magazines on face value, it is startling and upsetting at the differences in content, so you might wonder why I’m so annoyed. Here’s why:
My first impression of Schumer’s positioning on the “Girls’ Life” cover was the hypocrisy. After all, Schumer has covered plenty of magazines that were questionable in the message they deliver. One that readily comes to mind is her August 2015 cover and spread for GQ, the popular mens’ magazine (below).
Looking at this GQ magazine, one could easily draw conclusions about the messaging it sends. What young boy wasn’t caught up in the “Star Wars” frenzy and coveted the toys and memorabilia from the franchise. Now transfer that to the grown man who still loves his childhood toy, but now he gets a grown up toy too, thanks to Schumer and GQ. Some may argue that it is not the same thing because GQ is an adult magazine and Schumer is a grown woman. However, GQ is available on any grocer or bookstore shelf, and frankly all women (not just young girls) should be spared misogynistic overtones. Pop culture icons should not perpetuate it and then become critical when it is convenient for them.
There needs to be a more in depth conversation around the messaging for girls, boys, women and men. It’s easy to throw darts at “Girls’ Life” magazine. If we are being honest with ourselves, we need to acknowledge that our society supports this type of messaging on a daily basis, from fashion and beauty bloggers that girls and women aspire to be or look like, to Hollywood celebrities such as Schumer who serve as inspiration to women and entertainment for men.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to throw shade in Schumer’s direction, she’s just one of the many pawns in the game. My point is that pop culture icons need to resist the urge to quickly jump on these band wagons without taking into consideration the larger picture, and the role that they play.
Don’t hate the player, change the game!