I had not originally intended to post about this issue. But as I sent off the letter to the editor today, I just felt I would go ahead and share the letter. Last month, I read an incredibly troublesome column in Family Circle magazine. So troublesome it led me to write the editor, which I have never done in my life, and terminate my subscription. So here’s my email to Linda Fears (in which I copied Rosalind Wiseman, the columnist who sent me over the edge, and Family Circle’s feedback department and my husband):
Dear Linda (and Family Circle Account Subscription):
I am writing in response to an Ask Rosalind column that appeared in your November 2011 issue. This is my second year receiving Family Circle magazine which I have enjoyed. As a working mother to two year old triplets, I often fall behind in reading the magazines I receive monthly (Family Circle and Parents). Such was the case this past month, so I have been playing catch up and reading the last two issues.
I was astonished to read Rosalind’s first response to a mother’s inquiry in your November issue. Horrified may be a more accurate description. A concerned mother wrote in to inquire about setting boundaries with her teen daughter and a boy, who was a friend, coming over to visit even with parents home:
Among the incredibly shocking statements Rosalind made were:
“I’m guessing that ‘lead to trouble’ refers to the possibility of your daughter engaging in sexual activity with one of her guy friends? Let’s dial it back a little.”
“But most girls are naturally curious about sex and it makes sense for them to explore their sexuality with people who make them feel comfortable. Accept that your daughter may begin having sexual experiences and that’s ok….”
I interpreted Rosalind’s response as the equivalent of: hey, what are you worried about you old prude – your daughter at 15 is totally going to be having sex and you should get comfortable with it. (In order to make sure my reaction was not totally off the wall, I shared the article with my husband and good friend, both of whom had the same reaction.)
I might expect this from Cosmo, but certainly not from Family Circle. I am not a prude, nor am I ignorant of the times in which we live. However, as a person of faith, I think the continued granting of platforms to people who assail the values of modesty and propriety are, at the very least, disheartening, or at the most, downright dangerous. I hope that Family Circle will considering highlighting, whether in letters to the editor or as an alternative column which offers the flipside view, what mothers should aspire to in instilling character and values in their children. Instead of just rolling over and saying, well, most kids are falling into the trap of loveless sex which leads to heartbreak, disease and unwanted pregnancies with repercussions for the remainder of their lives, maybe Family Circle could be about, well, the family CIRCLE. One where parents encourage their children to live up to their best and highest goals and ideals. One that does accept failure because it represents attempts at success. One that lives out moral character at home so that children know how to model that behavior in their lives as they leave the family circle.
Until that happens, please let this serve as my notice that I wish to immediately cancel my subscription to Family Circle magazine. I can not continue to support a publication that takes the position that parents should not care if their 15 year old children are engaging in sexual activity.
Gindi Eckel Vincent