May 2018 was the GIRLTALK Magazine’s one year anniversary! To celebrate, we wanted to dedicate an issue to love and culture. However, we figured summer would be a perfect time for this theme. While summer brings excitement and relaxation, the pressures of “summer flings,” bikini bodies, and body image also persist. Last summer’s Body Issue examined the physical expectations of women and how it affects the way we relate to ourselves and others. The Love and Culture Issue focuses on the different ways emotional elements of romantic and sexual relationships also affect our relationship with ourselves and others.

Before we give a preview of this month’s content, we want to say a massive thank you to everyone who reads and supports the GIRLTALK Magazine. Whether you’ve read all seven issues or this is your first time reading us, it is your support that motivates us to continue empowering high school students to participate in the struggle towards gender equity. We are immensely grateful to our writers for their thoughtful, hard work, and to everyone who’s given us kind feedback that reminds us our goal during the harder days: to give young women a platform to voice their ideas about gender in a world that is throwing contradicting and confusing messages at us more so than any time in history.

Among the messages being thrown at us from all angles are various ideas of what relationships are supposed to look like, and this issue discusses the messages being thrown at people of all ages, nationalities, religions, and cultures. We examine “hookup culture” and relationships as high schoolers, how cultural expectation influence marriages in different religions and cultures including the Latinx community, the Asian community, and orthodox judaism, media’s way of portraying love, and personal reflections on concepts such as virginity. There’s also a special account written by two of our writers who recently travelled to Mexico and spend two weeks with the women of the Chiapas community!

We hope everyone is having incredible summers. Enjoy this fun, entertaining and thoughtful issue!