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Taking a Look at Teen Magazines.

by JoAnn Hibbert Hamilton

Teen magazines may appear to build up teens, but teens and parents need to beware of the other ingredients that are thrown into the mix, according to "Plugged In" Magazine, April, 2002. So often these magazines paint sexual expression and activity as normal parts of growing up. "Page after page is filled with instructions and advice about sex itself," so stated the article entitled "Teen Magazines and the New Feminism" by Lindy Beam. I think what is put forth as "truth" would not be considered so by most of us.

And guy’s magazines have other problems as well. Let me explain. As I have lectured rather extensively for the past two years about the issue of protecting our families from pornography, a number of wonderful people have talked to me. Some have said, "I used to have that problem, i.e. sexual addiction, but I’m away from that now." Usually the problem had caused years of unhappiness for themselves and their families. I always ask somewhere in the conversation, "What got you started?" and the answer is almost always the same: "Swim suit stuff and things like that." For a few it has been the lingerie section of catalogs.

Now with that thought in mind, look at some of the teen magazines aimed at guys. Then find out for yourself what the articles recommend and see if those ideas are the ones you want in the mind of your youth.

One of my concerns is all the inappropriate things considered "normal" by today’s youth, so many of whom are being educated by their friends who got the information from the magazines that are so very available.

Many image-conscious young women are full of insecurities and feelings of inadequacy because they feel they must have "the look."

New York Times columnist Alex Kuczynski has called Seventeen Magazine the most prim and mother-approved teen magazine, noting that from 1975 to 1993 it was edited by a former num. "But recently, Seventeen and its peers have tried to scuttle any hint of (what they consider) prudishness. They’re opting instead for Girl Power Rule #3. To prove our equality with the boys, we will be bad like the boys. Language has gotten increasingly unladylike. Crude expressions and profanity dust the pages like body glitter. Girls who get into trouble at school are sometimes spotlighted as victims of first-amendment rights infringement," states Lindy Beam in the above-mentioned article. She points out that even the singers and entertainment recommended in teen magazines promotes bad behavior. She says, "these magazines . . . behave like a cool older sister putting an arm around a shoulder, offering a listening ear and dishing out advice.

Girls and guys need to know they have worth. They intrinsically have value. Proverbs 31:10 states, "Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies." And in verses 25, 26, "Strength and honour are her clothing . . . She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness." But to be that way she has to be exposed to an environment and example that produce those qualities, and teen magazines found on the store displays don’t do that.

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