Today, I was flipping through my old stack of Seventeen magazines (which I of course have stopped buying because I am no longer seventeen…) and I reached the ‘Love’ section…
Eventually, I flipped to all the ‘love’ sections in all my Seventeen magazines and analysed them. I began to realise that many teen magazines created an inconsistent and false image of boys and fantasy of a perfect relationship where the boyfriend drooled over the girlfriend and the girlfriend did whatever she wanted.
1. Inconsistency and Illogicality
One edition included an advice section on whether to zip or spill a secret when in a relationship. Apparently, we girls were supposed to ‘ZIP IT!’ if we were seeing other guys! Because we supposedly have the liberty to keep it to ourselves ‘while the relationship is casual’. I did not and do not understand this – why would a relationship be casual? Is not dating one of exclusivity and honesty? If not, what is the point of dating? – So that we can selfishly take all and give nothing back? – Ironically, teenage girls reading Seventeen were supposed to ‘SPILL IT!’ if they once dated their boyfriend’s friend, but ‘ZIP IT!’ if they were currently dated other/more than one person.
Shortly after, another edition included a whole page on how cheating would break a guy’s heart and cut him deep.
2. Conformity To Absurd Rules?!
All teenage magazines encourage girls to ‘be yourself’, ‘go against the grain’, ‘ let haters back off’. Yet, it readily defined what dating moves were ‘sexy or snoozy’. Sorry, did I hear that right? Apparently, sharing an ice cream was not ‘flirty’ enough than sharing a sundae, and wear ballet flats instead of running shoes was not a strong enough indication that you were into a guy.
Also, the analysis and explanation of hookup behaviours was something that magazine editors could tell clueless 15 year olds, because 1. they were assumedly hooking up by that age and 2. they could read a guy’s mind and tell you that he was ‘really into you’ or ‘on the fence’.
I like Seventeen and other teenage magazines for their fashion, makeup tips and interviews with various celebrities. But the one thing I could never understand was the advice on dating and relationships. It seemed bizarre and silly to have considered them seriously and it was not surprising that I instinctively skipped those sections when I bought a new magazine edition.
However, I know that many girls out there are still absorbing these ‘love’ sections into their systems. ‘Wait a day or two before you reply him.’ These are not the rules to adhere by. By following these ‘rules’ (besides, who ever made them up?), you are restricting yourself and your own personality. So much for trying to be yourself. Honestly, they are childish and unrealistic depictions of what a relationship should be and how many teenage boys think.
More importantly, I think it is very dangerous. Teenagers are at that age where they believe that their peers and teenage fashion magazines have a lot more credibility than their parents and teachers, some teenagers more so than others. These sections, the love advice and the pictures that accompany these writings, they fuel a wild imagination and expectation of what their non-existent-but-soon-to-come-true dating life should be. It creates a dogged belief that this is the norm and therefore, it is right (the appeal to popularity fallacy).
In fact, this applies to everything we watch and read. What we see is ultimately etched into our minds and engraved in our hearts, and it plays a significant role in our actions and thoughts through the application of these ideas.
Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.
What happened to these?