Conservative Christian organization Focus on the Family has announced the relaunch of Brio, a fashion-centric magazine for teen girls that approaches issues from “a biblical worldview.”
Focus on the Family is a group perhaps best known for its opposition to abortion, premarital sex, and gay and transgender rights, but evangelicals have long regarded it as a source for solid parenting advice. The group’s founder, James Dobson, is also the author of a 1970 parenting book titled Dare to Discipline.
“What would the Bible have to say about bullying or peace-making or peer pressure or sexual purity?” asked Brio’s publisher Bob DeMoss. “Focus on the Family would say and Brio would reflect: ‘Hey, sex was God’s idea so why not follow the game plan that he laid out in the Bible?’”
Despite the magazine having been previously shut down in 2009, DeMoss said that the re-issue had already attracted more than 56,000 subscribers through direct ads sent to Focus supporters. According to Sorcha Brophy, a sociologist at the University of Pittsburgh who said she read Brio as a teenager, the magazine tries to “normalize being a Christian teen” by encouraging readers to attend church and avoid sin. At times, she added, the message could get very moralistic — in one instance, she noted, Brio featured a pop culture quiz that deducted points from those who correctly answered questions about popular music and celebrities.
According to Susan B. Ridgely, a professor of Religious Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the magazine ignores topics of abortion, female sexuality, and homosexuality in favor of “what Focus sees as the right kind of behavior.”
“With homosexuality, for girls especially, lesbianism almost never comes up in any of their material,” said Ridgely. “Girls aren’t depicted as people with a sex drive. Their whole job is to keep young boys’ sex drive under control.”
Read the full story at The New York Times.