Wednesday, May 22, 2013

why i hate seventeen magazine {a rant}

Friend: "Hey, did you see that article about Ed Sheeran in Seventeen? He's your favorite singer, right?"

Me: "Yes he is. But I haven't read the article... I've never actually even opened an issue of Seventeen before."

Friend: "WHAT?! You haven't?! Girl, you need to pick up a copy sometime -- you'd love it."

Me: "...All right?"

Before the above conversation took place, I had never even thought about reading a teen magazine. I had zero interest in them. But last week I went against my better judgement and picked up two back issues at the library -- I mean, I'm only going to be seventeen for a few more weeks, right? Reading this magazine is like a rite of passage or something, and it was one I was determined to experience.

I opened the magazine with low expectations,  but what I saw surpassed them -- and not in a good way.

There were makeup and hair tips, shallow dating articles, and ads for overpriced products. No surprise there. But what did surprise me was how close it teetered over the edge of vulgarity at times. One article gave advice on "hooking up" and another smaller one praised the book 50 Shades of Grey. And I calculated that the average price of the products they were advertising was $65. What the what?!

Granted, there was some good material; mostly about loving your body type, etc. But the trashiness of the remainder of the content completely obliterated anything positive. Seventeen, do you really think that some self-conscious 14 year old is going to listen to you tell her that she's beautiful just way she is when your cover model looks like this:

Holy crap, what teenager naturally looks like this? Oh wait, NONE OF THEM. 

Because I'm pretty sure that she won't. 

After I was done being thoroughly disgusted, I did a little research on the history of the magazine. What I found shocked me: the magazine was actually originally started to improve the minds of young women. {Fancy that!} Issues included knitting patterns, literature {fun fact: Sylvia Plath was first published in Seventeen in the 1950's,}and lessons on modern art. They even had whole issues dedicated to encouraging young women to support the war effort during WWII. Again, what the what?!

The cover of the June 1950 issue. {It's a letter encouraging American girls to buy war bonds to "hasten the victory".} 

I think I like the original version of Seventeen better. 

And I'm pretty sure that I'm not the only one. 

~ Abby

Two back issues of Seventeen {February 2013 + March/April 2013}

p.s. Seventeen, I understand that your target audience is empty headed high school girls. But maybe putting in some content that is actually thought stimulating and doesn't immediately reduce the reader's brain to a quivering puddle of mush wouldn't be a bad thing. Seriously though, a lot of us don't give a carrot stick about who Ashley Greene is dating, or whatever that one article was about. I really can't remember, because it wasn't an engaging topic. #sorrynotsorry #offensiverunonsentence 



Katie Elizabeth Hawkes said...

This post is fantastic. I wish Seventeen and the adult versions of these magazines could get dozens of letters just like this, every day. That and less people buying them so they go out of business or have to put some real, intelligent content on their pages. Keep fighting the trend :)

Abby said...

Thanks Katie! :) I completely agree... Can you imagine a world with informative, brain stimulating magazines? It would be pretty awesome.

Kelsie Johanna said...

YES! thankYOU! I don't read these magazines for this reason. haha I really couldn't care which celebrity is dating which (when they're probably going to break up in a month;). And the things they encourage young girls with. Saying to "love your body" yet putting someone on the cover who is photo-shopped and has had their hair + makeup professionally done and are half-dressed. blech. haha

I agree, I think I would like the original version much, much better! :)

Anonymous said...

I thought I was the only one! This magazine is complete trash.

Sammi said...

This is awesome :) I just posted something similar to this on Seventeen's Facebook page, scrolled down a little after posting, and saw your post. I'm glad I'm not the only one.