WAYS SEVENTEEN MAGAZINE FUCKED ME UP AS A TEEN
I read Seventeen from the ages of 13 (late 1993, when my mom finally allowed it) to probably when I went to college (late 1999). Let's just say that their advice was less "on fleek" than you'd hope.
- •The page of embarrassing stories that was maybe called "trauma-rauma"? Or was it YM that called it that?Rather than comfort me by making me realize embarrassing moments are universal, these columns sent me to school terrified I would get my period every time I wore white jeans or walk out of the girls' bathroom with my skirt tucked into my underwear. And thank god I wasn't a cheerleader - those girls were ALWAYS accidentally flashing the crowd or having their tampon fall out during a routine (to which I say: maybe try underwear, ladies?)!
- •The page of ads in the back that sold items like "The Get Him System": comes in a brown paper package so your parents don't know you're so desperate for a boy to like you that you've resorted to sending a personal check to a PO Box for help.Of course I ordered this. I might even still have it somewhere (I really hope I do, despite my recent obsession with Kondo-ing stuff like that). I don't really recall what the advice was, but I am certain it did not help me "get him."
- •The skinny skinny models.Who were all, like, 14, which, you know, probably contributed to my feeling that things like hips were disgusting and had to be dieted off at all costs.
- •The horoscopes.I would star the fuck out of whatever my lucky days and love days were...and then wonder why nothing happened. I think some intern wrote these, honestly.
- •The sex advice.There was some q/a that scarred me for life where someone wrote in and asked if she could get pregnant if a guy came on her leg and the geniuses at Seventeen were like "well, maybe...because sperm can CRAWL into your vagina." I spent much of high school worrying about crawling sperm. My high school boyfriend probably still hates Seventeen Magazine for this reason.
- •I wonder if the writers back then realized how much they were affecting us?I think @hellogiggles and Rookie (@tavi) do a phenomenal job of interacting with and respecting their audiences today, and I think Jane Pratt was aware of this back in the day with Sassy, but I'm not so sure about the other mags I grew up with. (If anyone has thoughts/experience in this area I'd love to hear!)