I’m always interested in how the media and young people interact and shiny, glossy, page-turning magazines interest me no end.

In a question resembling the age-old chicken and egg conundrum, do publications promoted to a teen audience reflect the culture of the time? OR are they a force of their own in trying to manipulate and create it?

Hmmm, could there be possibly both? A reflection and reinforcement of what is currently ‘in’ as determined by the audience themselves, as well as promotion (courtesy of huge beyond belief advertising budgets) of what the next ‘in’ thing is going to being engineered as? It’s really difficult to say with certainty and I’m not ready to debate this see-saw…. quite yet, but I shall say that I do have my leanings.

Tonight, I’ve just had a very interesting browse through some covers of the archetypical American girl teen magazine,  Seventeen. An archived collection of cover pictures show the progression of the magazine from 1944 through until now, 2013. To be honest the greatest change, other than the obvious clothing trends – is the quality of typography and layout, because it seems that the interests of teen girls in 2013 is not actually that far removed from their 1944 counterparts.

Seventeen is a publication, despite its name, which is promoted to young girls from their pre-teen, or tween, years. It’s a super demographic for marketers to be targeting as these readers are highly susceptible to trends, whims and bandwagons – cha-ching goes those cash registers. Cyncial? Who me?

Anyway, check out these covers – some of them are very gorgeous in a retro and kitsch way … but to their own extent they all reflect a readership of young women unsatisfied with who they are, how they look, what they have and the list continues … sadly.

source: www.seventeen.com

source: www.seventeen.com

With my teen sons not particularly into magazines as their media of choice, there is some current reprieve from this in my household. Phew indeed!

But I am left to wondering what the cover of Seventeen will be featuring in 2023 , when my daughter (now aged 3) will undoubtedly be attracted to trash popular media of this ilk. What do you think?


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