magazine editors have hit back at Daily Mail columnist Rosie Boycott,
who has become the latest in a long line of critics to attack their
approach to young readers.
Boycott claimed in a scathing double-
page Daily Mail feature last week that the magazines were encouraging a
range of teenage problems from depression to anorexia, and accused them
of “paying lip service” to the idea of promoting a healthy body image.
She pinpointed Bliss, Sugar and women’s sector mag B as particular culprits.
attacked Bliss’s promotion of a “quick fix diet” and Sugar ‘s use of
skinny models, while claiming B should be more careful because 19 per
cent of its readers were under 19.
B editor Frances Sheen
responded angrily to the claims, saying the description of B as a teen
magazine was “obviously convenient to Boycott’s argument, rather than
based on research or fact”.
She added: “Ms Boycott mentions that
45,000 (about 19 per cent) of our readership are under 19 and, in her
opinion that makes it a teen magazine.
“By that reasoning Heat also becomes a teen mag as 18 per cent of their readers are under 19.
“So why did she not hold up their 1 January cover which screamed: ‘102 Celeb Diet tips, Try Them They Really Work’?
would also mean that Glamour becomes a ‘teen’ mag as a whopping 24 per
cent of their readers are under 19, yet the feature fails to mention
their January coverlines: ‘How I Lost Half My Body Weight’ or ‘Can You
Trust Plastic Surgeons?'”
Meanwhile, Sugar editor Annabel Brog said Boycott was “grasping at straws” in her analysis.
a great deal of respect for Rosie Boycott, but in this case all she
could find to say was that we’d done a reallife story about a girl who
was obese and that we’d used a thin model,” she said.
obesity is a health problem, and at age 15 this girl was a size 22 and
had gone to a school which carefully regulated her eating.
Boycott felt it was dealt with with a lack of sympathy and I dispute
that. It was in her own words and there was no commentary from us.
we specifically go out of our way not to use thin models because we’re
very aware of how susceptible our readers are to negative influences.”
One magazine which Boycott failed to pick on was CosmoGIRL, which has banned the word “diet” from its pages.
Editor Celia Duncan said she thought it was significant that her mag was not mentioned in the attack.
She added: “From the very beginning CosmoGIRL has been about making the most of what you have.
“We do a body confidence issue every year and encourage healthy eating and regular exercise, but not diets.”