But now some young girls are working to change that.
New Moon, a teen magazine with no diet tips, no ads for the latest jeans and no dating advice, is run by young women age 8 to 14. And it is read by about 30,000 girls worldwide.
One of the things the magazine does annually is sponsor a beauty contest that has nothing to do with looks.
"I'm beautiful because I'm smart and funny," says Olivia.
"I'm beautiful because my mind is unique," declares Drew.
"I think I'm beautiful because I love my family," explains Sunny.
The girls are hoping to start a new beauty trend that's not about what's "in" or "out," but what's inside.
More role models than supermodels, the girls are featured in the "25 Beautiful Girls" issue of New Moon magazine.
"We were like, 'Well, if People magazine is going to create this magazine with 50 most beautiful people for their looks, then wouldn't it be great if we counteracted this and said, "Hey, why don't we pick 25 girls for their inner beauty?" Because that's really what we believe is more important,'" says Rachel Johnson, editor of Moon Magazine. "It's one of the most important priorities of the magazine."
Each girl was chosen based on an essay written by a friend or family member. The winners got a trip to New York and a chance to meet with pros from the magazine world. And they got to share their ideas about how women should be portrayed in the media.
The girls also met actress Janeane Garofalo, a self-proclaimed fan and supporter of New Moon magazine. She says the teen publication is important because magazines with pretty pictures of celebrities can poison a girl's self-esteem.
"For me, when I was young, I really believed that I was the only unattractive person," says Garofalo. "When I saw the New Moon issue, which I was aware of when it was coming out, I thought, 'Wow, that's great. I wish that was around when I was younger.'"
The editors of New Moon says it promotes the search for inner-beauty.
"It's about looking into people on the inside and digging deep and finding what that is and celebrating it," says Johnson. "It really is a celebration of who we are and what we can offer to the world."
Most of the girls Tracy Smith interviewed seem to agree with Johnson as they proclaim their beauty, confidence and kindness that comes from within.