Girl Scouts Exec: Girls Shouldn't Pursue Perfection

The Internet recently shook its collective head when a side-by-side comparison of Girls' Life and Boys' Life magazines illustrated the differences in the messages we send to girls and boys about goals, dreams, and what to strive for in life. (Some even "redesigned" the cover with a version highlighting girls' accomplishments and potential.) While the covers weren't designed by the same teams and fashion and beauty can be powerful tools, it's a stark reminder of the message girls often get from society: Boys can strive for careers and  are encouraged to "Explore your future," while girls are given advice about how to look pretty. 

Chief Girl and Parent Expert at Girl Scouts of the USA Andrea Bastiani Archibald used the magazines' differing approaches as an opportunity to address the larger issue of girls and perfection. Read below and click through to learn why teaching our girls to strive for the appearance of perfection actually holds them back--now and throughout their lives.

And whether it's with the latest fashions and full makeup or in a T-shirt and messy ponytail, may we encourage all girls to explore their futures.

To join Girl Scouts as a girl member or adult volunteer, visit - The bombardment of image- and status-driven messages today’s girls and young women receive through media and our culture at large is destructive. Success is the currency for entry—or rather, the illusion of success. Finding just the right Instagram filter to ensure your latest selfie as enviable and drool-worthy as possible is a must for boosting your social capital. And girls are often the most impacted in this “nothing-less-than-success” theater.

Social media recently erupted over the controversy surrounding the cover of the September issue of Girls’ Life magazine (touting multiple beauty tips and how-tos on luring a potential boyfriend for its core audience) compared to the cover of Boys’ Life (splashed with the more substantive headline “Explore Your Future”). These dueling magazine covers highlight the stark difference between how society communicates life priorities and the trappings of success to girls versus boys, and serves to reaffirm an obsession with cultivating a perfect, unattainable façade.

If girls internalize the idea that everything undertaken in life must be image-centric, flawlessly executed and successful, that may cause fear of venturing beyond one’s comfort zone—or of even trying. Because if there’s a chance that you’re going to mess up, and not do something perfectly, why risk it? Just imagine all the rites of passage a girl might not pursue for fear of embarrassment or failure: not trying out for a sports team, not raising her hand in class to answer a question, not approaching a classmate to make a new friend, not volunteering for an exciting class project. Being too afraid to embrace these important growth milestones has serious implications, putting girls at a disadvantage as they grow into women and venture out into a deeply competitive and demanding world.

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