Advertisement

Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Teen Girl Magazine Tips — And a Girl Who Is Living By Them

posted by Nell Minow

Eight years ago, I wrote an article for the Chicago Tribune about magazines for teen girls.

Like Cosmo Girl, Twist, Teen and other magazines aimed at teenage girls, Seventeen strikes an uneasy balance between being empowering and being trashy. This is the result of another uneasy balance between their two constituencies, readers and advertisers. Girls want to attract boys. Advertisers want to avoid controversy.

The magazines are filled with tips on dating, fashion, makeup, managing stress, decorating and hair. After all, those of us with two X chromosomes love tips. Women secretly believe that all problems can be solved, usually with the female equivalent of duct tape: twist-ties, scrunchies, nail polish remover and cucumber slices. We love tips that make us feel like we are improving anything.

Advertisement

The magazines have tips on more than good grooming and accessorizing. Cosmo Girl’s internship survival guide has first-class information and lots of good advice about finding a job, acing the interview and demonstrating professionalism and commitment in the office.

An eighteen-year-old named Jamie Keiles has undertaken something she calls The Seventeen Project. She is living her life by the magazine’s tips for one month and documenting the results online. This will be good practice for college; the site notes that she will be studying economics and gender studies at the University of Chicago in the fall of 2010.Selena-Gomez-On-The-Cover-Of-Seventeen-Magazine-Prom-Issue-2010.jpg
Keiles is sharp and funny about herself as well as the magazine. She is pleased with the results of a hairstyle she tries from the magazine until she looks at it again and finds that it was voted “not” by the magazine’s readers. I loved her comment on some of the dresses in the special prom issue: “Seventeen calls this trend ‘High-Low’ but I think ‘Mullet Dress would be a more fitting name.” She has some very thoughtful comments on the glossy magazine’s portrayal of race, gender, sexual orientation, and sex. “Teen mags often do better in the race department than their adult counterparts, including women of a variety of races and even offering some pretty level-headed advice on interracial dating. Still, out of curiosity, I wondered exactly how the racial content of Seventeen broke down. So I counted!” Keiles was pleased to find that the races of the models in the magazine were proportionate to the races in the US census, with the significant exception of Hispanics. But she astutely noted that there was more racial variety in the females than the males. “It seems like Seventeen’s idea of female beauty is more varied, while the races that are considered attractive for males are extremely more limited.” What could have been a stunt is an engaging, impressive, and nuanced assessment of the magazine, its advertisers, and its readers. We worry so much about media messages and the way they influence children and teenagers. It is a pleasure to see this kind of objectivity and analysis from a young woman. I hope she gets a lot of readers and I look forward to her next project.

  • http://emo-girl.info emo girl

    that is my favorite mag to read! =]

Previous Posts

Mission: Impossible -- Rogue Nation
You think you've seen it before? Well, it is a familiar situation. Hitchcock had an assassin waiting in a concert hall for the right moment to ...

posted 5:54:06pm Jul. 30, 2015 | read full post »

Best of Enemies
Once upon a time, network television news was dignified, objective, and delivered in stentorian, voice-of-God tones by white, vaguely Protestant men, ...

posted 5:23:39pm Jul. 30, 2015 | read full post »

Exclusive Premiere Images: Molly Moon and the Incredible Book of Hypnotism
Molly Moon's Incredible Book of Hypnotism is now a film starring Dominic Monaghan ("The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King"), ...

posted 4:57:43pm Jul. 30, 2015 | read full post »

Interview: Joshua Oppenheimer of "The Look of Silence"
Joshua Oppenheimer has made "a companion piece" to his stunning documentary about government-sanctioned gangster killings of more than a ...

posted 11:40:16am Jul. 30, 2015 | read full post »

Tom Cruise Tells Kevin McCarthy about the Airplane Stunt in "Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation"
My friend Kevin McCarthy asked Tom Cruise how he shot that incredible stunt that has him holding onto the side of a plane while it takes off for "Mission: Impossible -- Rogue Nation." The 53-year-old actor did the stunt himself, no green ...

posted 8:59:43am Jul. 30, 2015 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.