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Reach For Those Stars? (AKA Shame On You Seventeen Magazine)

The first and only issue of Seventeen Magazine arrived at my home when I was almost 16 years old. My father took one look at the magazine cover, which boldly highlighted the word “sex” five times, and immediately cancelled my subscription. I wasn’t having sex at that age, but Seventeen Magazine, who is well aware that their primary readership are young girls age 12-16, sure assumes that young girls either are or should be, because their magazine seems obsessed with teaching your girls the tricks of the trade (bad pun intended).

seventeen magazine covers scandal taylor lautner

Recently I came across this Seventeen Magazine cover featuring Taylor Lautner of Twilight fame. Featured prominently by his right temple is Seventeen Magazine’s checklist for its readers interested in Hot Guys like the magazine cover model, starting with the command “Be His Best Hookup!”

Be His Best Hookup Exclamation Point

This is female empowerment? Teaching young ladies that pleasing an inconsequential teenaged boy, striving to be the favorite meaningless conquest in a string of “hookups”, is a worthy goal? Really??

Shame on Seventeen Magazine for trying to imply that our daughters’ worth is measured by how well they perform sexually. Teens are not mature enough to be ready to take on any of the consequences or responsibilities of being intimate (or even fully understand them), yet magazines marketed to them are irresponsibly promoting a sexual lifestyle. Isn’t this contributing to the delinquency of minors? No wonder 15 year olds are becoming pregnant in record numbers and children are having sex at younger and younger ages.

  • Marianna

    You know I read Seventeen way back in my teen years and I don’t remember it being this bad. I certainly wouldn’t want my teenage daughter (or son) reading about how to be a good hookup and I can’t believe this is what we market to our youth. I agree – shame on you Seventeen.

  • Lindsay

    Yeah, I’m NOT okay with this. Why would they actively promote such a thing!? That is seriously messed up.

  • Ugh. I never purchased Seventeen except once, and I have to say it mentioned many things in their about sex. How sad. They should really be teaching our girls other things, not sexual behavior. They got the fashion on the money, but how to be a flirt, be the best hookup, and that is only on the front cover.

  • Virginia from That Bald Chick

    This is one magazine that my daughter will NOT be allowed to read, for sure!

  • Alisong

    I really can’t believe they published something like that! Sometimes I’m glad I don’t have a daughter.

  • Thanks for this post, I didn’t have a clue… although my children are younger than school age, this is a very scary thing! I read seventeen magazine back in my day as well, and I can assure you, it was nothing like this! What happened to age appropriate makeup tips, fashion, etc.?? This just shows how warped our society has become! Thumbs up on your post, thumbs down seventeen magazine!

  • So sad that this is what is being shoved in our teens faces. Another reason to parent closer, and let our teens know where we stand on topics. My daughter just turned 9 and I have already had to tell her where I stand about kissing boys and sex. Thought I would have a few more years before that talk, but society puts too much pressure on kids even when you are a very close parent and do your best at parenting. We need a positive power teen magazine for positive thinking skills not how to catch boys attention!

  • Donna

    I am so sick and tired of magazines and TV pushing sex onto our kids. Just about every magazine and TV show targeting teens, talk about sex or sexual innuendos. Teens are bombarded with it in the media. Enough already. Shame on you Seventeen!

  • Heather

    I remember reading 17 when I was fairly young – 14 maybe? And it wasn’t that bad at all. I wouldn’t want my daughter reading whatever comes after that headline. Sad that we as a society are willing to do whatever it takes to make a buck…even demeaning young girls. This is why our civilization is headed to the toilet and young girls think it’s cool to get pregnant.

  • ohkeeka

    Gross. Someone should really get fired for putting that on the cover. I’m all for educating teenagers about sex, but that? Is totally not the type of education teenage girls need.

  • Megan

    Wow, just wow. I only pay attention to All You Magazine for the coupons. I’ve never read Seventeen and I cant believe this.

  • Rebel Chick Jenn

    And this is why I never read Seventeen magazine – I was always a Sassy girl. Seventeen and YM were always posting photos of girls with their pants unbuttoned, even back in the early 90’s!

  • Linda White

    Yes, they are that bad! Ive looked thru them before and was shocked at the letters that the magazine encourages the girls to write in about different experiences with boys! Some are very explicit and more experienced than teenagers need to be. One was about her boyfriend “eating her out” every weekend in her bedroom. Really…. and the girls sound proud of their exploits!

  • Heather!

    Ugh. Just…ugh.

  • Crystal @ Simply Being Mommy

    Wow, I’m speechless! This is unacceptable.

    What company publishes this magazine?

  • Cat Davis

    Ugh, this is why I will never let my daughters read magazines like these. They are always full of such trash and bad advice. Not to mention their air brushing and false view of what’s “beautiful”.

  • Colleen

    I have to say I’m pretty un-strict with my children in many things but I don’t like this at all.

  • Jenny

    I’ll be keeping that magazine away from my teenagers!

  • hairstyles for girls

    Wow, that is pretty sad.

  • This is pretty infuriating. They should seriously take a look at themselves. Not cool.

  • Anne

    That is ridiculous and unacceptable.

  • Robyn Rasmussen

    What a great blog and post! I am in 100% agreement with the point you make here. So sad the message the world is passing on to young women. So glad to have met you through Twitter!

  • Heather

    It’s really disgusting. I’m scared for the world my daughter will grown up in.

  • Kenda

    It gets even better:
    “How to Hook Up” – http://www.seventeen.com/love/advice/how-to-hook-up
    “How to be a Good Hook Up” – http://www.seventeen.com/love/advice/hookup-dos

    Shame on them, indeed.

  • WOW 17 used to be one of my favorite magazines well 20 yrs ago but I’m really shocked that they have that in there

  • Kelly

    I just saw a cover with one of the girls from Glee on it and in the magazine she’s talking about how she’s hooked up with girls in the past to turn guys on and that her kisses on screen weren’t the first girl-girl kisses she’s had. Such a bad example to set.

  • Jeni in KC

    When I was a teenager, my dad would read through the magazine first and tear out the pages that were inappropriate. Eventually he just canceled it! As a mom who is raising (twin) sons, I’m scared to death of the girls out there that are just so willing!

  • Mamaliza

    Great post! Pathetic, 17. Truly Pathetic. I haven’t paid that much attention to what is going with 17 magazine, but I am not surprised. I have watched Cosmopolitan turn into nothing more than a sex rag over the years. I was glad to see that Publix at least puts a shield over the cover. Every month, the majority of the cover headlines involve sex. How ironic! The first magazine of the women’s lib generation — when the cry was, “I am not a sex object!” and yet now, 40 years later, that’s what they are all about. Going to do some research — I wonder if 17 and Cosmo are owned by the same company.

  • Penelope

    That’s exactly how I feel…if empowerment meant we were not to be sex objects but instead respected for our minds and as equals worthy of the same dignity and rights, why do we want to teach our daughters to care what men think of her sexually compared to other women, or anything like that? When are we going to teach them what we should really be measured by?

    Then again, Gloria Steinem was a proud playboy bunny and felt this gave her power over men, so I really don’t understand the point of it all…refuse to let men pay for dates or hold the door open, but insist they grade your sexual prowess and watch you prance around in underwear? Letting men judge you in comparison to other women is a win for the sisterhood?

  • Mamaliza

    Brilliantly spoken, Penelope! There are so many layers to what is wrong with this picture that it is hard to articulate it fully, and I think you have brought up a part of problem that I had not recognized before. Since when did Women’s liberation mean free to do anybody? Crazy! We are more than rutting animals! And I checked it out — Cosmo and 17 are both owned by the Hearst empire.

  • Angie Haddock

    Everytime I read an article lije this I sigh of relief comes out . thank God there aré still people with common sense!! What in the world is wrong with these irresponsable people who publish this crap to our daughters?

  • Brandi @ Flip Flop Mama

    That’s scary to even think about, especially since I have 2 girls. Its sad all that companies know how to market to tweens and teens are sexual messages.

  • trisha (mom blogger)

    On the plus side, Taylor Launter is hot.

  • Whitney

    Wow. That is ridiculous. My daughter hasn’t turned one yet, but I can only imagine what these magazines will be publishing in 10 years when she’s old enough to read them. It’s a scary thought, really.

  • leah- diaries of a domestic goddess

    Wow. I’m speechless! I got Seventeen when I was around that age and I don’t remember it, though I don’t expect to. But man, that is just horrible.

    Shame on them.

  • Jen-Eighty MPH Mom

    This makes me sick…and yes, it encourages young girls and makes them think it’s okay…which it is not!

  • Nicole Flowers

    I am so glad you posted this, I cruise through the magazine aisle and I am appalled by what they put on the pages.

  • Courtney

    Sickening. I could careless what people thought about my looks as long as I was happy with myself.

  • Marcie W.

    LOVE this post and as a mother of 2 daughters, totally agree. Although it isn’t for 12-16yr olds, I’d invite any parent to check our Discovery Girls magazine, more for tweens, but very positive for female empowerment and self esteem!

  • Marcie W.

    Hell YES he is. I can’t watch Shark Boy & Lava Girl (where he was like 10) without feeling guilty for liking him NOW.