Wednesday, June 19, 2013

freckle confessions

Imagine that you spent three months working on something on a small scale just to see a national magazine come out with an article that wipes away all of your work.

Okay, so that's how it felt, anyway.

One summer in college I interned for a small publishing company that wrote a series of books for tween girls. My job was to write content for the site for each of the five characters, all different in her own way but all sending a positive message to readers (who, between the ages of 9 and 13 were extremely impressionable). One character in particular, a redhead with freckles, resonated with me. I remember slaving over one piece about why freckles are cool (because they are).

July's Cosmopolitan has a heavy message around skin care and sunscreen, which is great - except for the article titled "Confessions of a Freckle Face". In this piece the author describes having freckles:  how they aren't sexy, how much time she spent using different spot-fading creams and cover up to fix her "flaws", how embarrassing it was that her friends would tan and she would just have "spots". And it culminates in a line saying that the author would go through a lot of pain again "in a heartbeat" just to get rid of her freckles. (The author underwent laser treatment to reverse sun damage on her skin which costs upwards of $2,500 and results in weeks of a face full of scabs.)

I am all for skin care and sun safety, but I am fair skinned, have never been bronzed, and have had freckles my entire life. And this article is one of those that sends the wrong message to young, impressionable girls. I understand that the author's point is that she was able to erase years of sun damage with a quick treatment; however, rather than discussing how flawed it is for a girl to have freckles, can we talk about how flawed it is for a girl to bask in the sun without SPF?

Here's my PSA of the day, ladies:  Wear your sunscreen. And respect your freckles.

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