Magazine images and teens

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Magazine images and teens

I teach human development in classes. With 11 year olds, I do this exercise where I have each one of them bring in a magazine from home. I don't care what magazine. It can be any magazine, People magazine or Elle or GQ or Sports Illustrated, it doesn't matter. It is boys and girls together. My assignment to them when they get into the classroom is to flip through the magazine and to find a picture that is real. That is all that I tell them, "Please find a picture that is real." I have done this now enough times that I know exactly how this is going to play out;. What happens is the kids start flipping, the boys more quickly than the girls usually. The boys are the first with and image. The stand up and say, "I have one." It is always a women in a bathing suit. You don't tell them about the male images either. So the rest of the class is usually about finding male images that are untouched. I challenge parents. Go next time that you are at the grocery store, open up the magazine that is by the checkout stand. Find an image of a male that doesn't have a 6 pack of abs, a hairless chest and a full head of hair. This is what our boys are being taught they are supposed to look like. They are photoshopped images. As much as we need to continue our conversation with our girls, I think that we need to start the conversation with our boys. It is incredibly important for their future self-esteem.

See Cara Natterson, MD's video on Magazine images and teens...


Expert Bio

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Cara Natterson, MD

Pediatrician & Author

Cara Natterson, MD has treated thousands of children and guided their parents as well. She was a partner at Tenth Street Pediatrics in Santa Monica, California, a large group practice serving infants, children and teenagers. She now runs Worry Proof Consulting, the first of its kind pediatric practice that offers parents open-ended time to review everything from medical questions and biology basics to child development and parenting issues. Cara is also the author of several books on parenting and child health. She has a unique ability to translate cutting edge research into understandable terms for parents and their kids. More recently, Cara’s consulting has extended beyond individual families to include fortune 500 companies seeking expert advice on safety issues, child health, and crisis management.

Cara has appeared on television, in print, and on the web. She is a graduate of Harvard College and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and she trained in pediatrics at the University of California at San Francisco. Cara is a Board certified pediatrician and a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. And anyone who knows her knows that Cara is, by nature, one of the most risk-averse people on earth. She lives in California with her husband and two children.

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