As with most magazines, there are overwhelming amounts of advertisements, beauty secrets, and new clothing trends in magazines directed toward teenage girls. Occasionally, there are more serious article topics that focus on young women who went through traumatic experiences, and naturally, there were the articles on love and relationships. With pages chock full of dating advice, workout routines, horoscopes, and clothes, society must question what message that these magazines send to young women.

 

May 2013 Seventeen Magazine cover (seventeen.com)

While flipping through an old stack of teen magazines, I found a multitude of articles about how to “catch his eye,” “decode his style,” and “how to ‘hook up.'” The one article that particularly caught my eye was entitled, “Have a No-Strings-Attached Spring Break,” followed by the caption “a whole week of awesomeness is just ahead — don’t waste it getting tied up with one guy! These tips will keep your break flirty and fun!”

 

I could not help but think about the implications of this article. What would young women take away from it? Although there was a blurb about sticking with your girls at the end of the night, it was more of an encouragement to spend your time flirting with as many boys as possible, rather than simply enjoying your time with friends on the beach. Many of the other advice columns about love and guys focus around formulaic ways of male-female interaction, often basing it off of stereotypes, and the idea of being single and independent was never really a topic of discussion.

 

Only every so often did I come across articles on topics that were hard-hitting and serious. They varied from topics such as sexual abuse, the dangers of sorority hazing, and discussions about sexually transmitted diseases. These topics are important, and are the kind of stories that magazines for young women emerging into adulthood need to be reporting. Magazines have the opportunity to publish articles that keep young women well informed about the world around them and encourage independence, instead of solely focusing on how they can interact with the opposite sex or wear the cutest clothes. Although most people read magazines as a pastime and often do not take all their advice to heart, there are some devout readers who do.

 

In looking back at the images and articles published, most of them may not intentionally make young women feel as if the opinions of the opposite sex are vital to their self-confidence, but that is often the message they portray.

 

What messages do you think magazines send young women? Let me know in the comments below or find me on Twitter @whatsthesich