Questioning gender identity in mainstream media
Reading mainstream “teen girl magazines” can feel like opening a can of worms to conscientious readers: on one hand, they’re quick, colorful, and fun to flip through; on the other, they support the status quo, with “meaningful” articles stuck between page upon page of boyfriend tips and beauty ads. What’s a girl (or guy or genderqueer person) to do?!?
Sometimes, however, these publications can raise awareness of less “mainstream” issues among a more general audience– and that’s a really good thing! The October 2007 issues of Cosmogirl! offers a story on transgender teens entitled “The Gender Spectrum: Most People don’t’ think twice before checking off ‘male’ or ‘female’ on a form. But for some, marking one box doesn’t tell the whole story. Here, three young people share their struggles to come to terms with their true gender identities.” Jessica Dulong’s article provides a primer on gender vocabulary and introduction to gender issues, as well as highlights the personal experiences of three young people in a positive and realistic light.
This story’s presence, not mentioned on the cover and only found on the last couple of pages, doesn’t exactly encourage everyone to go out and buy the issue; however, it’s certainly a worthwhile read to current readers looking to become better informed or review what they already know.
(And, in case you haven't already seen it, here's a related Scarleteen article called Boys Will Be Boys...or Not? Straight Talk About Gender by Malcolm Gin.)