(This is a letter in reference to an article posted on Marie Claire’s website.)
As content creators, we realize that you have no responsibility to produce value of any kind, that if you put out an article that falls under the category of “for women,” then you’re doing just fine with Hearst. But, here’s the thing: you have the reach and resources to make dents and to sway opinions.
You can choose what tone your magazine takes and what sort of issues should be explored and which ones should find themselves in your computer’s trash. You have the opportunity to change lives, to promote a higher self-esteem in the generations to come. You can choose meaningful change over cheap thrills. You can sway an industry.
You can get under the skin of a teenage girl who is crying herself to sleep every night because she’s not as pretty as the airbrushed models that splay across the cover and pages of your magazine. You can tell her that she’s beautiful, that she deserves love, that she is enough, just as she is. You can make her believe in herself if you just try hard enough, if you sacrifice a few quick hits for a longstanding, put-your-foot-down, take-no-prisoners, message. You can stop the inexhaustible self-hate that your competitors constantly perpetuate. You can teach women how to be healthy, but not obsessive. How to love themselves before they tangle their lives up in someone else’s baggage.
You can make a difference.
You can stop spreading messages of hate and exclusion. You can do better. You can be better. You can, unlike so many others tirelessly trying, actually make a difference. You have the resources, the audience, and the clout to make positive change, instead of feeding us contradictory and toxic messages.
You can be the change.
So, why do you not pursue it? Why would you waste this precious opportunity to do something great by doing something so ordinary? Why would you sell yourself short? Why would you do what every other women’s magazine in your industry is doing? Why would you tirelessly promote unhealthy bullying and exclusion when you can make a difference in so many people’s lives by being a positive force to be reckoned with? Is it not trendy enough to care, to have any sense of social responsibility, to create a generation of women who aren’t intent on hating themselves straight into the grave? What ever happened to grace and humility and the indescribable and un-Photoshoppable beauty that true confidence brings? Why would you not promote this sort of beauty, instead of the trash you’re currently smearing across your magazine?
You have a waiting and ready audience at your disposal. We’re looking to be inspired, to see something that no one else is doing. We’re looking for cutting-edge, for a reason to believe in people again. We’re not looking for skepticism or bullying or hate or close-mindedness. We want hope and change and to see (not just hear) that we’re accepted, as we are, flaws and all.
You may not have a responsibility to us, but you should. You may not have any accountability, but we’d respect you more if you did. You may not have any reason to change, but you should feel intrinsically devoted to making women feel better, rather than making them feel worse. You may not succeed, but can you really sleep at night without trying?
(Please send letters to the Marie Claire editor: firstname.lastname@example.org and tell her that you are fucking hot, as you are. If they won’t stop this trash, maybe enough of us standing up against it, will make them cease and desist.)