I live in St. John's Newfoundland and the teen magazines
that are on our newsstands are YM (young and modern), Seventeen,
Twist, Teen People, Teen, and Jump. YM is mostly about beauty
and fashion with the exception of one real life story in each
issue, such as "My best Friend Committed Suicide".
Twist is mostly about fashion, television shows and movies. Teen
and Jump are about fashion and try to be about fitness but they
do not exactly give the right information about how to be fit.
Seventeen is about fashion and beauty but it is more realistic
than other magazines: it tells you how to do a certain kind of
make-up do but does not make you believe it will make you look
like some actress. Teen People is about real issues like STD's
and how teens deal with stress. It is also about celebrities.
Many of the teen magazines today focus on a teen's looks, how
much money he/she has, and the material things in life. When
I read one of these magazines I often wonder: who exactly are
these magazines written for?
All of these magazines are from America except Jump, which
is from Canada. Teens from America who read these magazines may
feel that they reflect them, but I think that if these magazines
are going to be sold in many different places they should reflect
all teens. My friends and I do not feel these magazines present
a true picture of what we are like, and do not represent our
interests and concerns.
In my opinion these magazines are reaching out to rich girls.
And exactly how many of them do you know? The teens I know do
not have $200 to blow on make up so they can "get glamed
up" or another $500 to spend on clothes to "suit her
sizzlen style". The people I know, on an average get about
$5.00 a week for allowance and many more don't even get that!
There is another thing: Why would you go spend $100 dollars to
buy a new outfit so you could "sweat in style?
Average teens also do not use the sort of language used in
magazines- "How to snag that hottie", "sweat in
style", "Sarah Michael Gellar, Liv Tyler snag their
stellar looks", "double duty booty", "rents",
and "The ex files". The way the magazines talk about
getting guys is awful. You would think that every girl in the
world had to have a guy. For example, seven articles in one YM
magazine I read were related to guys and boyfriends. This language
is also misleading: the article which tells you how to "snag
their stellar looks" only shows you how to do their make
up. Do you really think that if you did your make up the same
way as someone else you would look like them? I don't think so.
And who calls their parents "rents"?
Another thing that is almost insulting to the teenage race
is the quizzes that are presented in these magazines. "How
do you rate as a first date?" are you a wimp or a winner?"
and "Discover your skin type and get a flawless face".
The way these quizzes interpret teens you would think the biggest
problem we have is chewing bubble gum and doing our hair at the
same time! Teens do have real problems like teen pregnancy, STD's,
family problems, drugs, and alcohol. By reading these magazines
you would think all teenagers are shallow airheads.
Not only are the quizzes extremely ditzy, so are the top 50
reason lists. "50 ways to feel good about your body"
and when in fact you are done reading this article you feel worse
about your body because to do what they say, you would have to
spend at least $200. Others are "50 reasons why it's great
to be a girl". Sure it's great to be a girl, it's great
to be a guy too! Another is "How to fake a perfect life".
The number one reason is to clean up your room in 10 minutes.
Tell me how your life would be perfect if you cleaned up your
room in 10 minutes?
The worst thing that these magazines do is that, instead of
making teens feel good about themselves they make them feel worse.
Most of the teen magazines I looked at showed the skinny models
half-dressed advertising perfume. I know when I see these advertisements
that I don't feel very good about my self-image. I think the
people who publish these magazines have a picture in their heads
that an average teen is tall, skinny, with long blond hair, basically
a Barbie girl. How a teen feels about her/himself is a very important
thing. Being compared to these is not good for teens self esteem.
I did a totally random survey on teen magazines in my school/grade.
I asked which magazine they liked the best out of YM, Seventeen,
Twist, Teen People, Teen, and Jump and why? What do you think
should be written in teen magazines for people to have good self-esteem
and a good self- image? What don't you like about today's teen
magazines? To answer the first question most people liked Seventeen.
On average they said that they liked it because it has true stories
and is very entertaining. To the second question, most people
answered that they would like to see average size models and
good fitness information. The answer to the last question was
the most interesting. One girl said, and I quote: "these
magazines portray females as male crazy, self-bashing, fashion
freaks who look like models". Others said they didn't like
the ditzy language, the skinny models, or the senseless quizzes.
In my opinion out of the magazines YM, Seventeen, Twist, Teen
People, Teen, and Jump I find Teen People the best. This magazine
focuses on real issues. In one issue, for example, there were
articles on "STD"S: facts you need to know" and
"Stressed out, teens tell how to deal". This is the
kind of thing I like seeing in a magazine.
Seventeen is okay in my opinion, but a lot of it is about
fashion. YM, Twist, and Teen are the magazines from which I got
most of my negative examples. They use a lot of the language
I have criticized and have really ditzy quizzes. One thing I
do like about the YM magazines is that they publish a real life
story in every issue. I find Jump to be mostly advertisements:
in one issue I read, every second page was an advertisement.
Another thing I don't like about Jump is they have a slogan
on the cover that reads "For girls who dare to be real".
This couldn't be further from the truth. I find that many girls
I know feel the same way about teen magazines as I do, yet we
all continue to buy them. That is something I will never be able