Let’s Read Girl’s Life, 2004-2006!

So, to get this out of the way, Girls’ Life has never been affiliated with the Girl Scouts, the way that Boys’ Life has always been the magazine of the Boy Scouts. Someone just thought it was a cute name for a teen girl magazine, apparently. It was founded by Karen Bokram in 1994 and is still managed published by her after 26 years, so – damn bosslady, good for you. Girls’ Life is still ongoing as a physical magazine (again, well done Ms. Bokram) and an online presence (current trending article: DIY these cute face masks!). This magazine seems notable for being aimed at the “tween” demographic, which was burgeoning into mainstream use as a marketing term around 2007. Seems like it didn’t want to compete with the Seventeen reader market (about 12-15) so it aimed a little lower and went for the 10-13 year olds instead. As expected, the magazine covers the teen girl essentials of fashion, media, celebrities, advice, and so on. The earlier issues in this selection were surprisingly focused on popular tween-appropriate books as well.

This marks the first time I’ve ever done a magazine that dates to AFTER my own sphere of cultural awareness/relevance instead of before, which makes me feel extraordinarily old. My alternate title for this feature is officially Fuck I’m Old Magazine, 2006! But, I know this is crazy, 2006 was a hella long time ago. I know. 2004 can drive, and probably even get married in certain states with very questionable laws. 2006 is now a freshman in high school. “2006 was a long time ago” was an argument that took a lot more convincing before the apocalypse happened, but now nobody knows what day it is anymore and I could easily say that 2006 happened sixty years ago and you’d probably just nod sadly at me. Anyway, this issue and a few others were a sweet Giftmas gift from dear Avocado Lowfat Ranch, so I’m cashing it in and doing a writeup because I can’t just spend sixteen hours a day playing Animal Crossing. And I’ve TRIED.

Oh, Amanda Bynes…this being 2006, the publicity dumpster fire of her mental health and personal life wouldn’t happen for about five more years. At this point in time, she was promoting She’s The Man, starring on a sitcom, AND being a Teen Choice Award Nominee for “Choice Liplock”. Busy girl. By the way, did she invent the word “Selfie”? The internet says no, But I’m convinced that she was an early adopter of the term. She would post pictures on Twitter with the word “selfie” and we were all like “what a stupid self-obsessed dumb made-up word let’s first use it only in a self-deprecating and ironic context and then we’re going to forget how irony works and whooops it’s all selfies and it’s always been selfies” so I guess we have a lot to thank her for. Anyway, Amanda seems to be doing…better…these days and I wish her all the best.

Mmm, the age of denim pedal-pushers and espadrilles. I think these are the people from The Hills? I’ve never seen this show, so I’m going to guess from the setup here that the girls between the surfboard were once bffs but now they hate each other. The girl in the purple is caught in a love triangle between no shirt boy and pink shirt big pants boy, and tank top belt girl is dating pink shirt big pants but he secretly hates her. A lot of people hate tank top belt girl. No shoes neckbeard man is too old for all of this and he isn’t attracted at all to green top boob necklace girl but they’re dating each other because for some reason it makes no shirt boy angry.

“We only had the budget to hire one pen-pal program coordinator but on the contingency that the readers fund her vacation, sick leave, dental and vision benefits through a $10 signup fee. We pray for Peach’s sake that our readers never actually figure out how email works.”

These people all certainly love standing next to each other!

So…here’s Qyzra’s feature from GL in question, which is positive and sweet. Maybe don’t look up what happened to Qyzra Walji if you don’t want to be down for the rest of the day. That rather overshadows the other note I had based on this reader mail section, which is that you can hear the gears of social change beginning to whirr with a strong backlash against the word “retarded” being used as an insult.

Meanwhile, Sophia is upset that Girl’s Life has implied that there is no Santa Claus.

Well, this surely has aged well. Take it away, Channing Tatum!


Dear Gramma, I bought this really cute game from Toys R Us with the store credit that came from returning the ugly doll that you gave me for Christmas. It came with this IOU card thing so I’m filling it out for you and I now owe you some yard work whenever you want it. This game is really cute and very Japanese and I wish you wouldn’t be so racist about Japanese people because otherwise I’d love to show you how to play it. Anyway happy birthday Gramma, love Kelsie.

Which one are you? I’m undecided on whether or not I’m the boy-bio-blog or the Crush Cloud rational rock reeler.

The “belt over t-shirt” trend was SO WEIRD.

Kelly Clarkson and her extraordinarily unflattering eye makeup wants to save your baby!
On a more serious note, Kelly seems a lot happier with herself today than she did back then, and I am really glad for her. By all accounts, she’s quite delightful as a person.

I genuinely do not understand what is going on here.


Do you have things? Put things on your things! Put things on incorrectly! Put more things on over that! Try to look like an accessories rack at Limited Too fell on top of you and you’re struggling glamorously to get out from under it!

omg did you hear that Mackayla got her leg ripped off at the mall? Yeah! Seriously! Like her clothes had all these little little cheapass ribbons and pendants and fringes and dangly shit and it all got, like, sucked up into the escalator and it ripped her leg off! She says if she hadn’t been wearing her fugly scarf she would have gotten decapitated. I KNOW, RIGHT? I’m making her a card, do you wanna sign it?

That could have been me, thought Giordynn with a thousand mile stare, suddenly conscious of her long straight hair and the ridiculous flappy ties on her faux-suede boots. I was a perfect low fat snack for that escalator. And yet it chose Mackayla. I am destined for greater things. I am destined to go through life with both legs. I have to make the most of this.

This actually hurts to look at. I worked at a department store around this period and not only was it the worst customer service job of my life, I remember getting armloads of shirts and skirts like this out of the dressing rooms, and all the little gewgaws that were sewn into the clothes (yes, the necklaces were often sewn directly onto the blouses, beats the hell out of me as to how they didn’t destroy every washing machine in an explosion of beads and string and little bits of metal) would get tangled up in each other and I’d have to spend half an hour pulling all the little chains and beads apart and ugh sometimes there was LACE but it was shitty polyester stretchy elastic and you’d just rip right through it when it got caught on a button and AAGHHHH

Again, I was not at all in the loop for most of these things, as these were my “I don’t even OWN a TV” college student years, but I do believe they were on to something with High School Musical being a big deal.

Aww, Paramore. I haven’t heard anything from them in a while. Let’s trip down memory lane.

That hair…is not good hair. It was not good hair in 2006, it is not good hair now. I listened to something from their 2017 album and it wasn’t half bad. They’ve also been in the news a bit recently, thanks to a Vulture interview with Hayley in which she explained the slut-shaming aspect of “Misery Business” as “I was 13 or 14…I was a dick”. So, that’s refreshing.

I like how many of these dreamy romantic moments involve giving the girl cake.

The age of American Idol was certainly something to reckon with, wasn’t it?

And since I have two other issues from 2004 at hand, let’s take a quick look at some other gems that were too good to go un-commented on:

Not…all…of these are awful, I guess? You could get these exact shoes at Payless up to about a year ago when Payless closed. Which maybe says more about Payless than I originally thought.

An ad so dated that the CW was still called The WB!

My favorite part about this is that Master P coaches his son’s highly acclaimed basketball team.

Make it Britney!

Make it Christina!

Jeremy Sumpter went on to star in a notorious Lifetime Original Movie about internet porn addiction called Cyber Seduction: His Secret Life, which is well documented as being a very entertainingly terrible work of television.

Filmed in MEXICO. Also I thought we were well beyond AOL keywords by 2004, but I guess not.

I was under the impression that this was the era of Hanna Montana, but that show didn’t premiere until March of 2006. So, hold on, Queens Raven and Hilary, for DESTINY RIDES A PALE, SCARF-BEDECKED, CHEAPLY SEQUINED HORSE, AND ALL SHALL CALL HER MILEY AND DESPAIR.

Hands up if you had this! I worked in a store that sold these (I worked a lot of retail jobs in 2004), along with a bunch of other Klutz craft books, and I remember this one in particular. Keep it sassy!

Just take it all in and weep for more innocent times.

And that’s it! Thanks for reading. Thanks again to Lowfat Ranch for sending these magazines my way. My workload is more demanding than I expected out of this shelter-in-place period, which is why I announced that I was writing this back in April and now it’s halfway through May. Whoops. So will I do more of these soon? I dunno. I’d like to. Anyway, hope you liked this trip down memory lane and I am going to go just soak up all my elderly feelings now. Take care.