I originally had a different blog post planned for today that I was really excited about doing but after the events of today I decided to write a blog post about something else. This post hasn’t been published at the usual time of 3PM because I have been having a room clear out and sorting through all of my stuff but I just have so much stuff I have accumulated and don’t want to get rid of because in my head it has some kind of ‘meaning’ and reminds of the ‘history’ of my life but really I don’t need to keep as much stuff as I actually am, anyway, until about two years ago I always used to buy teen magazines, I had about three different magazines that I bought monthly and I counted down the days until the next issue came out because I loved them so much. Today I am going to be talking about those magazines, sorry if this title mislead you in some way and you thought it was going to be about something different.
I have entitled this post ‘poisoning teens’ because I think magazines are really unhealthy, I didn’t used to, as stated above I used to desperately wait for the next issue but having sorted through all of my magazines today and leafed through a couple of them I’ve realised how terrible they really are.
Every magazine is basically the same – make-up, hairstyles, clothes, shoes, relationship advice, advice on how to be more comfortable with your appearance, women/girls in bras and tiny shorts and men. Lots and lots of men, shirtless and fully clothed, talking about love or things they find attractive in women and it just goes on and on for pages and pages, all this toxic information telling us how we should look, what and who we should like and what we should think about and none of it is healthy.
The make-up pages were full of products to buy, some of it being incredibly expensive, and there were hardly any tutorials or information on how to actually use the stuff we were buying it was just telling us that we must have it or else we can’t fit in with other people our age. Even now I don’t really know what half the make-up products are or how to use them and I love make-up. But looking a these magazines just made me feel sick at the idea that I was once consuming this and I once wanted all of this stuff even though I didn’t know what it was or how to use it. From the age of about 8 I was desperately trying to convince my Mum to let me where layers of make-up from deep red lipstick to winged eyeliner, mascara and bright sparkling eyeshadow and I always got really upset when she wouldn’t let me because how could any guy like me if I didn’t wear make-up and how could I be cool and make friends if I didn’t wear make-up? Even at the age of 8 I wanted to do all these things to my body to make myself look more ‘beautiful’, I was thinking about boys and relationships from the age of 8 rather than thinking about things that 8-year-olds are supposed to think about like playing games, Christmas lists, toys etc.
There were pages and pages of clothes in each issue, there were pages comparing one celebrities outfit with another celebrities outfit. There were pages of pastel clothes, pages of floral clothes, pages of retro clothes, pages of gothic clothes, pages of bright oranges and deep reds, there were just hundreds of pages of clothes telling us what it was that we should be buying from shorts to skirts, tops to dresses, crop tops to bras, jumpers to bikinis and it was just ridiculous! Not only have we spent about £4 on the magazine but within the magazine is just pages instructing us to spend even more money that we don’t have on things that we really don’t need and most likely don’t want but if we don’t have these things then we can never be cool or beautiful. I remember reading these magazines and wishing that my parents would give me a ‘clothing allowance’ like some of the readers who had written into the magazine were given because my clothes just weren’t cool enough and I needed cooler clothes so I could be beautiful like all the women in these magazines. I spent a lot of my life wishing I had nicer clothes and being repulsed by the clothes I was actually wearing and hoping that no one paid too much attention to me. I wanted a bikini at the age of about 10 because I thought that was a ‘sexy’ and ‘attractive’ look. I had all of these thoughts because of the magazines I was spending my time reading.
There were pages on shoes, considerably less pages than the pages on clothes but all the shoes we either £60 or they were about £8 from Primark but would have been really bad quality and lasted about two days before falling apart.
There were quite a few pages on relationships and how to get guys to like you. There was a quiz on how good at kissing you were… I mean seriously?! The people reading that magazine couldn’t have been older than about 15 and there were quizzes on kissing? It’s not even legal! There were photos of celebrities in relationships and them kissing, there were interviews with celebrities asking them about their dream date or their dream girlfriend/boyfriend, questions about what they look for in a potential girlfriend/boyfriend, the appearance of potential girlfriends/boyfriends where they comment on ideal hair colour, eye colour, clothing etc. there were quizzes on whether your boyfriend/girlfriend was cheating on you, there were advice pages on sex, there were quizzes on how to identify whether your crush likes you and it’s just so sickening to think that I was reading all of that at the age of 12! I remember one day me and my Mum were having a conversation and I told her I knew more about love than she did – a woman who had been alive for about 24 years longer than me, had had a number of boyfriends in her life, had been married and then divorced and had three kids – and my basis for knowing more about love than her was that I watched the Disney channel and she didn’t, terrible right?! The truth is I don’t understand love at all, I don’t even know what it truly means, I’ve never been in a relationship or kissed anyone so what would I know about all of this?
There are pages on how to be more comfortable with your appearance, from having horrible split-ends and damaged hair, to not liking your breast size or the spots on your face. Yes, it’s good that there are advice pages on this stuff but the only reason people are bothered about it is because of magazines and them telling us we should be bothered about it. Magazines promote skinny, spotless, large breasted, glowing haired women to us and therefore we feel self-conscious about our own appearance. I remember reading one article in one of those magazines where a girl had written in saying she was uncomfortable with her breast size and felt that they were too small and what could she do about it, the magazine told her that it was okay and that lots of celebrities had small breasts giving Kristen Stewart as an example and honestly, the poor woman, all she wanted to do was be an actress and now her breast size is being used as an example to make a young girl feel more confident in her own body all because magazines like these promote the idea that women have to have big breasts.
The only pictures of women you get in these magazines are either them wearing dresses, bikinis or crop tops and tiny shorts and of course high heels! If there does ever happen to be a picture of a woman not wearing any of the above there’s always a comment saying how wrong it is that they’re wearing jogging trousers and a sweatshirt whilst exiting an airport after a long flight having just spent six months filming in another country or something along those lines. Most of the time when we see these images of women in dresses, bikinis etc. they are comparing the bikini of one celebrity with the bikini of another and also giving you a huge selection of bikinis that you can go and buy from chain clothes shops.
Whenever we see men in these magazines they always have little words or hearts around them indicating that you are supposed to find them attractive, there are many posters of movie stars and boybands and all the latest gossip on said people from their relationships to what they were last seen eating in a restaurant. There are a number of posters of men shirtless and a number of comments made about the person in questions six-pack or their biceps and it’s so ridiculous, it just makes me so angry! Urgh!
Through my experience of spending lots of time standing in front of the magazine stands there are very few magazines for guys and if there are they’re usually comic books or magazines about computer games or films and where do girls that aren’t interested in fashion, hair, make-up and men go?
Although I used to be a lover of magazine and I still sometimes see a few magazines in the shops promising a poster of Joe Sugg or an interview with an actor that I like – having looked through my magazines today I don’t think I will ever buy one again, I think they’re really unhealthy and just really toxic and teenagers have enough stress in their lives without having magazines add to that but reminding them that they don’t have a model perfect body, or glowing blonde hair, or a boyfriend. I spent so much of my life when I was younger wishing that I could buy the clothes and make-up advertised in the magazines I was reading and wishing that I looked like Selena Gomez but after looking at those magazines today I realised quite how much I’ve grown up and got over all of this stuff and how actually, I’m pretty comfortable with myself and who I am.
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That’s all for now!
Inspired Teen 🙂