I personally don’t buy teenage magazines, but I do buy a special interest music magazine every month in place of them. I stopped buying teenage magazines about 3 or 4 years ago, when I ceased being interested in the topics covered, and when I realised that I usually didn’t agree with the opinions I was told I should agree with. I first used to buy “Smash Hits”, “Top Of The Pops” and/or “Shout” when I was about 10. I bought the first two because I liked reading about the music I was listening to at the time, and I bought the last one mainly for the shallow reason of it usually had free gifts.
I then started buying “Mizz” and “Sugar” after I thought I’d ‘grown out’ of the previous 3. For this essay, I will be focusing on “Cosmo Girl” and “Sugar”. They are both monthly magazines, and cost i?? 1. 49 and i?? 2. 00. I hope to use these magazines to prove that teenage magazines do indeed present a stereotypical view of young women. In both magazines, there are several pages dedicated to feedback about the magazine from the readers. I noticed that although they all have different names attributed to them, they’re all written in the same tone, style and structure, each one praising a different section about the “mag”.
This could mean one of two things. The magazine is praising itself under the personas of 15 year olds from Manchester in a bid to convince 15 year olds from elsewhere to follow suit, or that these Manchurian teenagers in question have joined thousands of adolescents in the fashion industry’s successful ploy to brainwash the said generation into becoming the boy-crazed stereotypical dumb blonde that the magazines assume they are already. It is hard to think of a reason, though, that any one would feel the need to write a letter in to a magazine with the sole purpose to praise it, with nothing to gain from it.
Most of the letters are so vague there hardly seems a point printing them at all, fake or not. Despite my views on the subject, I understand fully why a magazine may not want to print negative letters, assuming it’s the 2nd scenario, because it might put ideas into their impressionable audience’s minds. They fail to notice, that the magazine may even benefit from doing this though, because it would give them a seemingly valuable opportunity to defend themselves, or to admit they were wrong in order to show the readers that they actually care bout their opinions.
The fact they don’t do this shows that in reality their opinions count only if they mean the magazine company are being done out of pocket money. Material presented very bitty – short sections, many pictures and bright colours ==> easier to read/attention grabbing. OWNERSHIP OF LANGUAGE = POWER. Power over opinions. Very critical over unfashionable people ==> (Sugar pg. 8) “Pink is far from pretty in her bizarre ensemble of granddad’s string vest, dodgy scarf and wonky visor. Yikes! ” (Cosmo pg.14)
“Janet’s clearly gone the way of her wacko brother”. Cosmo pg. 128 “Dogs Dinner is never a good look” – makes teenager feel the need to be accepted or fit into the mould of the people the magazines praise. (same pages) Use 4th person. “We like… ” sense of community. Like a ‘club’. Patronising. To make you feel like you belong. Both magazines seem to dedicate a large percentage of the articles to real life stories, including headings such as “Abuse Made Me Cut Myself” and “I Lost My Dad in America’s Twin Towers Tragedy”.
To me, this almost seems like the magazines are trying to promote a ‘At least that didn’t happen to me’ idea. This can be positive, as it could make teenagers feel more grateful for what they have, but They stereotype by using such words as “Teen queen. Princess etc. ” This can be quite downgrading for some of the lesser attractive women and might lead on to disorders such as anorexia They use simple words. This could be due to the fact that many women are stereotyped to be quite un-intelligent.