Those Damn Teenager Magazines.

I think it's cool that they make something for teenagers to read, but why is so much of it so stupid? Of course, I speak of our friends the teen girl mags. Some say "Well at LEAST she's READING," but that's like praising an unpopular girl for making friends with druggies for ruining her life because "at LEAST she's being SOCIAL." If it's not good material and it might be wrecking her mind, why be glad just because she's incorporating ideas into her head through text?

I don't read them, and I don't know what's good about any of them because I don't read them. So this essay will probably come across rather biased, seeing as how I am mostly responding to what I remember of these magazines when I read them as a teenager and also to what I see on the covers of them nowadays. Here are my complaints.

So, you may ask, is there anything I LIKE about these magazines?

No, not really.

I suppose it could be said that they help certain age groups gain an identity, but is that a good thing considering what they're having them identify with? It could be said that these magazines have lots of useful information; sure they do, but useful to what purpose? I suppose sometimes they have good articles; once in a while I have seen a really good one on eating disorders, compulsive shopping and how it really happened to one girl and how she got over it, stories of other girls who don't feel so popular, et cetera. But then after the page on eating disorders you see the too-thin model in Levi jeans. After the compulsive shopping article you see fourteen ads for things the manufacturers want you to buy. After the "it's okay to be yourself" ad you get the pointers on how to be cool in school. The bad outweighs the good. Check them out if you don't believe me.

Teen Vogue ¤ Seventeen Magazine ¤ BOP & Tiger Beat

I guarantee they're full of how to catch your crush (assuming you have one), how to wear your makeup (assuming you want to) and how you're supposed to look (assuming you give a rat's ass).

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Comments from others:

Mikey: Ok well I have a few comments on this first I agree with everything that was said and I will say I think of one good thing about these magazines (if it means that some kids will spend more time reading and less time on the TV then more power to them ) it is really shameful how many of people of the younger generation don't read. And my second comment is simple sex sells the media and advertisers make sure to plant that in the heads at a young age.

Sardonyx: WORD. I never really grasped the importance of being "popular". What's that mean, anyway? Prancing around with low-cut jeans, scoffing at chubby people, judging by looks, saying "like" after every other word, squealing like a hyperactive dolphin when the most trivial thing excites you? If all that defines "popular", I'd rather be spit on and kicked every where I go. Believe it or not, being 13 and boyfriendless isn't a national disaster. Like OMG, candy-sprinkle eyeliner! Aaron Carter, squeal-squeal, like OMG! And such hypocritical articles saying "We all come in different shapes and sizes" and then there's Paris Hilton on a Simple Life ad on the next page. Get that girl to eat something, her ribs are so outlined. Anyway, thank you, you're so sensible. Entertaining essay. ;)

Marceau: You're right about the "phat lingo" thing. It's insulting. I have NEVER talked like that in my life. This is from "Vibe" but it's the same principle: "My homegirl was in trouble a few months ago so I lent her a grip of dough. Now I see her ballin' out with Chloe boots and a new pocketbook, but the B hasn;t offered to pay me back. Is if officially fist-'o-clock?" ...Sure.

Marintha: I just want to vomit as I type this but... Sadly... you're wrong. :dies: I'm in a high school mostly populated by "rich" kids. (It's actually known as one of the richest high schools in Indiana, so I'm not making it up) The school is ridiculous in the fact that everyone DOES look alike. All the girls have tiny waists and big (or padded) breasts. They all die their hair blond and wear the EXACTLY the kinds of things talked about in teen magazines.

Before coming to the Oh-so-prestigious-and-snobby school of Floyd Central I always went to small hick schools, you know, the kinds of high schools with some variety. The floyd school has rules against goths, hippies, the works, and is almost as bad as those badly made teen movies and romance novels we've all heard of. It's disgusting. @.@

An example: Short skirts are against the rules! Unless you're wearing your cheerleading outfit to school or have nice legs. (On days before a game, the hallways are awash with people in cheerleading outfits or dance outfits. This happens about once every 2 weeks)

Ok, this is getting a bit longer than I wanted it to. ^^* But one last thing, the entire fat = fugly-you-will-die-unmarried-hahahahaha drives me nuts. Especially when the girls who weigh less than a pumpkin talk about their new weight-loss diet plans. x.x

:crawls off soap box:

Dove the Unoriginal: It's kind of funny, actually. You see, the reason models were thin was not originally because being thin was hot. It was because the people who designed the clothes wanted dramatic drapery with the least amount of body fat altering the shape of the clothing.

Over time, people began to think being thinner was more beautiful because OMG that model looked so sexy and fashionable in those clothes! Admittedly I'm guessing on the reasons for how the trend started but it's still true, I think, that the focus went from the clothes to the women. And it's hurting the women the most. (Of course, America is also an uber-fat nation but I don't recall reading what era fashion models were created in and when they became so popular, so I don't know what effect that factor had.)

D.: Cosmopolitan is just as bad.

Viorica: It's a vicious cycle. Teenaged girls read the magazines, act out what it says, and the magazine keeps printing the same garbage because the girls reading it are used to it. Meanwhile, they aren't being exposed to anything remotely challenging except in school (and it's GEEKY to like schoolwork don't you know) so they never expand their minds or think beyond what the magazines tell them. Which is why I stick to stuff like Writer's Digest and online 'zines like FerretBrain. I wouldn't advise trying to tell your average teenaged girl this, though. People who don't like teen girl magazines are labelled two things: a) An adult who doesn't understand, or b) A geek.

Akira: Ah, those teen magazines. I think they're part of a sinister plot to corrupt the minds of impressionable young girls around the world. With each successive issue a girl reads, she is indoctrinated into society's amorphous and elusive standards of beauty. She is bombarded with images of skeletal young women with "perfect" thin bodies. They plant ideas into her head that she is fat, and boys won't like her, and she'll amount to nothing. Her self-esteem slowly erodes as she tries in vain to emulate their manufactured beauty by dieting, exercising, and sticking her finger down her throat. Eventually she'll completely hate herself and her body for not looking like those reanimated corpse^H^H^H^Hsupermodels on the catwalks, who somehow are able live on a diet of lettuce, Diet Coke, and Ex-Lax. Maybe she'll die trying.

Perhaps in this respect I'm lucky to be a guy, woman and girls are under too much pressure to conform to society's fickle and largely unattainable standards of beauty. Being beautiful doesn't seem very beautiful to me, it's downright hideous and brutal!

Synesthesia: The teen magazines are irritating enough, but the adult women magazines drive me up the ceiling.
Plus they commit the sin of being pink and orange at the same time. No offense to those who love those colour combinations, but it makes me feel sick and I have no idea why.
But mostly it's the stupid articles such as HIS BUTT can tell you about his personality.
That is a real article. It had me cracking up seeing HIS BUTT in huge letters. Not to mention the sort of sex advice that probably would send a man to the hospital, not that the oportunity as come to use such advice yet.
But it should be obvious that few men really like teeth getting near that part of the anatomy. It tends to make them unhappy and I'm still frolicking with unicorns for crying out loud.
Why must men's magazines be slightly more interesting and have nice darker colours? There should be a magazine for women like me. Something like-
Moth and Butterfly or Awesome Pictures of Dir en grey. Or Everything Interesting Under the Sun, what you specifically should be reading and listening to right now!

Bree: I'm 14 and I hate those magazines. I've only ever looked at them when I'm at a doctors office and they have no Discover magazines. They're a waste of trees...

Wolfgang: "Is your best friend trying to steal your man?"
Okay, two questions.
"Are you in an agreed-upon closed relationship with a person who identifies as male?"
"Is your best friend currently trying to engage him romantically?"
If you answered "yes" to less than 2 of these questions, your best friend is not trying to staeal your man.
If you answered "yes" to exactly 2,(s)he is.
If you answered yes to more than 2, you probably shouldn't be in A.P.Calculus right now, should you?
Or I assume that's how the quiz goes.

Leigh: The absurd things that society teaches young girls nowadays... I cannot say that I'm proud to be a teenaged girl. I'm a fourteen year old aspiring author and I find your website simply marvelous - and I agree with a lot of the points you make.

The entire world seems to be getting more and more idiotic, but you certainly give me hope.

I apoligze for any spelling mistakes - I am writing on a Play Station Portable (a long story that is meaningless).

Cliffjumper24: The question is: Are these magazines helping teenagers gain an identity of their own, or just the one prescribed by the magazines?

A magazine might as well come with a cookie-cutter and a title that says "If you don't fit this shape, there's something wrong with you!" *sigh*

I had a nice cheese cliché yesterday..... oh wait, that was a quiché! ;^D