Focus on the Family Focuses on Young Women Again

  Focus on the Family's  Brio  magazine relaunches in May with a target audience of tween and teenage young women

Focus on the Family's Brio magazine relaunches in May with a target audience of tween and teenage young women

NPR reported today that Focus on the Family is resurrecting its magazine targeted to teenage girls, Brio. A powerhouse in the evangelical subculture of the 1990s, the magazine used to cover popular culture, theology, and life matters from a conservative perspective. For some girls who read it, it may have been the only place they felt safe to take dating advice from, for example. The magazine even crowned a girl of the year (which I absolutely applied for in 6th grade, full disclosure). 

The NPR article focuses on women who read it growing up, but now express that they would most likely disagree with its stances now. A relic of a conservative childhood, almost. Focus on the Family maintains that it's an important voice among the Seventeens and Teen Vogues of the world, which frequently feature politically liberal stances in their editorials, as well as sexually explicit dating advice. 

Some of my past research has involved women who were raised in conservative Christian environments but have since left the faith. Their identity as women was so tied to the version of womanhood presented in those circles that their post-conservative lives has been challenging to navigate. While I did not ask any of them about Brio specifically, I would imagine they were at least aware of it, if not subscribers. 

Therefore, both the article and I have focused our attention on the people who once loved this but now eschew it. Important to remember, however, is the people who once loved it, and will now delight in providing it to their daughters. Faith is frequently taught and modeled in families and so women who embrace Focus on the Family's definition of femininity/womanhood will model this for their daughters and perhaps this news is received with gratitude. 

As a researcher in the intersection of gender, sexuality, and religion, I will be keeping a close eye on sales of Brio. If any interesting questions are raised, I'll cover them on the blog.