21 Aug 2012

Getting Flack and other puns.

Looks like something from Mean Girls, doesn’t it? The Burn Book. Abusing, degrading, picking apart girls. Apart from this isn’t the Burn Book. Nor is it fiction. It’s from a magazine. A real life proper magazine. What’s more, it’s not from a women’s magazine, or a celebrity magazine, or a trashy 30p magazine. It’s from a magazine aimed at young impressionable girls. Not even teenagers, probably. Tween One Direction fanatics who will gladly lap up anything the media throws at them because, at that young age, they need direction (pun not intended) and influence.

It’s the US ‘fanzine’, Girl’s Guide To One Direction, published by Topix Media Lab LLC, who constructed probably the most spiteful, ridiculous, and idiotic piece I’ve ever seen. A ‘voodoo doll’ of Caroline Flack, host of The Xtra Factor, with pins sticking in her and notes picking apart her appearance, choices, and, quite frankly, her whole existence.

Let’s start with the less appalling features of this piece. It’s immature. “Caroline was born in 1979, which in China is the year of the goat. Big surprise – she looks like one!” What are you, five? She doesn’t look like a goat. Quite obviously. Flack’s gorgeous. More to the point, making fun of someone’s appearance? In a tween magazine? Not on. That’s going to encourage bullying (physical bullying, more worryingly, with a voodoo doll. That suggests damaging the doll like you would the person), and revert the whole message of “everyone’s beautiful “ and “image is not the most important factor in life”. These girls are going to think it’s an acceptable social norm for women to be judged purely on their looks. This magazine has a responsibility to abolish this notion and care for their readers’ perceptions, which it has completely ignored.

It’s picked apart and emphasised not just her main physical features, but things that don’t even exist on her body yet. Crow’s feet. Showing that she’s a “grandma”. Caroline Flack is 32 years old.  These girls now think you’re old as soon as you hit your 30s and GOD FORBID if you start showing signs of age. EURGH. WRINKLES. GET RID OF THEM. No. No, silly magazine. Shush.

“Date boys your age, not your shoe size!” That would make Harry Styles, what, six? He’s 18. All this article is doing is spouting jealousy from a vicious ‘writer’, who’s probably got everyone who’s come within ten miles of Styles on a dartboard in her room. It’s teaching young girls to be jealous of women who have what they want, and that age differences in relationships is wrong. By all means, have your own opinions on age differences, but for the love of fragile and growing young brains, don’t preach them viciously to young girls who can’t have even experienced full on relationships yet. “Zero engagement rings. Because nobody wants to be with her.” Marriage is the only proof of love, then? So now we have young girls who aren’t going to be happy in their own skin, will want plastic surgery once they hit 32, will only date people their shoe size (on average – a 7 year old, oh good), will be jealous of other women’s success instead of finding their own, will prioritise boys over other relationships with family/friends/themselves, and will believe they HAVE to get married to be considered worthy.

So, where is Harry Styles’ participation in this? Anyone? Anyone found him? Haarrryyyy…oh that’s right. He’s nowhere in this article. Because it’s all down to Caroline, right? A relationship between two consenting people, but only one gets the flack (pun intended, that was good). The woman gets the blame. Much like the affair between 22 year old actress Kristen Stewart and 41 year old director Rupert Sanders. He was married with children, but who gave a statement and got all the abuse? Stewart. Of course she did. Because the man always has the right to do whatever he likes. Silly women for getting involved with entitled men. When will they learn, eh?

It’s bullshit. The whole article is bullshit and I really, really hope that these girls who picked it up realised how awful it is.  I hope the magazine is taken down, and I hope that it’s the readers who do it. Because I’m sure these girls are smart and know their own mind. And if they don’t, because they’re young and growing, then I hope we can at least help them find it.


  1. It saddens me because this just promotes negativity and encourages a form of bullying. Publications should be attempting to promote healthy, positive, motivating articles and instead of attacking people in such a negative way, they should encourage girls to be nice to and respectful of one another. This magazine is basically saying that it is ok to attack a person for various reasons, even if you don't know them, how healthy or respectful is that?

  2. Kristen is taking the hit, true but Rupert sanders also released a statement and most people thinks he's skeezy tbh but i digress. Great article. The original Flack piece was so vile, it deserves to be flayed like this.

    1. I didn't realise Sanders had too. Which, to be honest, just reinforces the fact that all spotlight was/is on Stewart. Haven't seen anyone talking about his statement.

  3. this is quite possibly the most poisonous thing I've ever read in a girls'/womens' magazines, which means a lot coming from someone who seems to have read all the Cosmo's at her doctor's surgery (there are never new ones when I go back).

    It's the kind of thing that makes me very glad I wasn't actually allowed to read them when I was younger, and looking back I can see why. It's stressful enough growing up and into yourself as an almost grown up person, but then to have all of these contradictory messages flying at you all of the time...

    You're so right about the KSTew/Sanders affair though; whenever I log out of hotmail or such, it's just endless photos of her and what people are saying about her, and it makes me sad, because she's only two years older than me. I think a lot of people forget that she's very young and that she was basically his employee. I think because it's Hollwood, people forget that he was actually in a position of power/authority. If they worked anywhere else, people would be screaming blue murder about his preying on young girls.

  4. that magazine sounds absolutely vile. KILL IT. KILL IT WITH FIRE.

  5. I totally agree, this takes hate mail to a whole new level. we're trying so hard to stop verbal abuse among younger generations and yet we allow things like this to be published? What does that say about us? we're supposed to be role models, what ever happened to the fight against bullying? It's not only embarrassing to them, but it makes those directioners who have absolutely no problem with caroline look bad. I don't think any of them want her to 'Go Away'.

  6. This is awful. Just plain bullying. This magazine has a responsibility to children to promote positive social attitudes; not harsh, and mostly superficial, judgements.