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MN woman’s makeover of ‘Girl’s Life’ magazine gets global attention

The idea was sparked by side-by-side comparisons of Girls’ Life magazine and Boys’ Life.

Where one gender was advised to “Explore Your Future,” the other was offered pointers about fall fashion and “dream hair.”

When graphic artist Katherine Young of St. Paul saw the discrepancy, she decided to put together a mock cover of what she would prefer to see in the girls’ magazine.

Headlines like “Your Dream Hair: Next Level Tips and Trends” became “Your Dream Career: Next Level Planning and Goals.” The “Are You Ready for a BF?” quiz was turned into “Are You Ready for AP Class?”

Young posted both the real and imaginary covers to her blog and Twitter.

Young’s changes included taking the photo of actress/singer Olivia Holt off the cover and substituting one of Olivia Hallisey, the 17-year-old who won the Google Science Fair for the portable, low-cost Ebola test kit she invented.

“Wake Up Pretty” hit a nerve

Young told mic.com it was the “Wake Up Pretty” headline on Girls’ Life that she had the strongest reaction to.

“I always felt like I wasn’t good enough in my teens and early twenties because my jean size was too big and boys I liked never liked me,” she said. “It didn’t matter that I was accomplished, had integrity, and achieved my goals one after another. I thought something was wrong with me because I didn’t ‘wake up pretty.'”

A representative of Girls’ Life emailed a statement to mic.com that read in part: “We are so proud of every page in every single issue. Girls’ Life serves a dynamic audience of 2.16 million tween and teen girls who have a variety of passions.”

The response

Since it was posted last week, Young’s reinvention of Girls’ Life has drawn comments including “This would never meet consumer demand” and “What’s this feminist bull****?”

But more commenters have been supportive, with remarks like “Brilliant. This is what teens need, not superficial nonsense” and  “Even though I’m a boy, definitely wanna see your version.”

Young, a native of Jamestown, North Dakota, who now works for the Roseville Area Schools, tells the Fargo Forum she’s heard from Girl Scout troops, women in the military, and a United Nations official.

Some have wondered if anything similar to Young’s imaginary Girls’ Life exists.

One recommendation that’s been offered is the magazine New Moon Girls, which was started in Duluth in 1992 by Nancy Gruver and her twin daughters, Mavis Gruver and Nia Kelly.

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