Teens and Their Magazines
There is not a day that goes by where I don’t witness a teenage girl in the mall dressed very provocatively, wearing short skirts, tight shirts, and covered in make-up. The group of girls she associates herself with is also dressed very sexy and in my opinion inappropriate for their age. As they walk they giggle and hold conversations about fashion and what they did with their boyfriends last night. Checking out stores for the latest trends, they also take a look at some sexy lingerie in the display at Victoria’s Secret. Seeing some cute boys walking past they all follow the steps learned in Seventeen magazine’s “How to Catch a Guy” feature. Just making it home by curfew, they all rush upstairs to their room to read their latest edition of Cosmo GIRL with plans to do it all again tomorrow.
Teen magazines are sending the wrong messages to young teenage girls. These magazines are urging girl’s to capitalize on their looks and transform themselves from the average girl to the “hot” girl. Girls are reading these magazines and conforming to the images portrayed in these magazines, without even realizing it. They are focusing more on their image and what other people think of them, than what they think of themselves. Most teen magazines center around making yourself look better with headlines consisting of “Dress to impress.” “Easy hair makeovers.” “Find the perfect hair, makeup, and style for you!” “Be a knockout! (Beauty and the Teen). Girls are faithful magazine consumers and they take what these magazines say to the heart, feeling pressured to live by the rules of the magazine. As a Kaiser Family Foundation study pointed out, 42 percent of the girls aged twelve through fifteen relied on magazines to keep abreast of current trends (Liebau). Teen magazines are constructing young girls to believe that in this world being beautiful or, as they say in the magazines, being “hot” is an obligation.
Body image is also a huge depiction in teen magazines. These magazines feature articles about how to be healthy and what foods and workouts can help achieve a healthy body. But what these magazines forget to mention is that being healthy doesn’t mean you have to be a size zero. In articles that focus on being healthy there is likely to be a picture of an undersized model with tight abs. These are the type of images in teen magazines that shapes a girl’s view about body image. Joan Jacobs Brumberg, author of “The Body Project: An Intimate History of American Girls,” stated that “many young girls worry about the contours of their bodies especially shape, size and muscle tone because they believe the body is the ultimate expression of the self” (Gibbons). As girls view the ads and pictures of all these size zero models, they began to think that that is what people expect girls to look like. A study conducted by the Center on Media and Child and Child Health pointed out that 70% of teen girls agree that magazines strongly influence what they think is the ideal body type (How do Magazines Affect Body Image?).
Teen magazines are easily seducing young girls by putting their favorite singer, model or actress on the cover. When on the cover of these magazines these stars look phenomenal and flawless. What these young girls don’t seem to realize is that professional photographers are just that, professional. They use their knowledge of lighting, angles and distances to make the picture look that much better. Then after they get the picture they’re looking for, they re-touch and airbrush it, removing fine lines, wrinkles, freckles and blemishes with the touch of a mouse as if they were never there to start with. In reality, behind the make-up and airbrushing, these stars look just as normal as the girl reading the magazine, but this is the side that these girls don’t see. All they see is what’s in front of them and that’s the glimmered up, flawless, perfect physique, fashion setter on the...
Cited: Gibbons, Sheila. “Teen Magazines Send Girls All the Wrong Messages.” Women 's eNews. 29 Oct. 2003. 9 Oct. 2009. .
Grace, Rebecca. “Teen Magazines Send Mixed Messages.” AgapePress. 9 Oct. 2005.
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“How Do Magazines Affect Body Image?” Education.com. 2008. 12 Oct. 2009. .
Liebau, Carol P. Prude How the Sex-Obsessed Culture Damages Girls (and America, Too!). Rochester: Center Street, 2007.
Oppliger, Patrice A. Girls Gone Skank: The Sexualization of Girls in American Culture. Jefferson, N.C: McFarland & Company, 2008.
Terrill, Noel. “Popular Teen Magazines and Their Possible Effect on Teenage Girls”. Associated Content. 30 May 2006. 11 Oct. 2009. .
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