Lost and Othered Children in Contemporary Cinema

full name / name of organization: 
Debbie Olson
contact email: 
debbieo@okstate.edu

Chrystal Sanders-Robinson
November 20, 2010

Are Teen Magazines Exempt from the Rhetoric of Advertisements

The responsibility a parent has is great. Parenting is the most important job you will ever have. It is a career you will have for life, with no retirement. The help and support from grandparents, family and friends are exactly what a parent needs. The wisdom and guidance that is given throughout the years is priceless. It truly does take a village to raise a child. Well, what about the support and responsibility magazines should have. Are they exempt from this responsibility?
The advertisements from Seventeen Magazine are constantly telling our adolescents a story. The first photo I observed from Seventeen Magazine is a Dove advertisement promoting young ladies loving themselves as they are. These are three jubilant young ladies, healthy looking! They are not typical models that are normally seen constantly on every other page of any magazine. Yet, this is what the average impressionable teen and young adult looks like. The Dove body mist and deodorant ad campaign is what parents need to help build and maintain self esteem and confidence during these very important years of adolescence and young adult hood. The models have on clothing that fit properly, nothing provocative showing. This picture is very clean, wholesome, which portrays purity. The soft white and pink mist background, with pastel colors, and of course blue jeans, everyone’s favorite, who could resist such a picture as this! This is an ideal advertisement anyone would be thankful to see when picking up a magazine that influences young ladies. It is a scene that makes anyone feels that progress has finally been made in this industry and for women; especially in a worldwide society that constantly tells young people “less is more.” This is a rare photo in today’s society when it should be ideal. Unfortunately it is time to turn the page.
Inside Seventeen Magazine also is a four page spread of Britney Spears advertising Candie’s, a clothing line exclusively sold at Kohl’s stores. In all of the four photos Spears is dressed sexual, and portraying some form of a sexual “childlike” innuendo. In two of those photos Brittney Spears is posed like an awkward little girl playing “peak a boo,” as she bears a shoulder of seduction, sitting on a table with candles and dimed lights, with red lipstick on “what are they really selling.” The other photo has Spears tossing her hair very erotically, again playing “peek a boo” with her legs. This is a teen and young adult fashion magazine! Looking at these photos in Seventeen Magazine that attract an audience of thirteen to twenty-one years old girls, it is quite obvious Candie’s is not trying to attract mothers and grandmothers with this advertisement. Is this really what any parent needs when they are teaching girls to respect themselves and boys to respect women? Is this the only way to sell clothing to teens and young adults? Will Candie’s sell more clothing and young adults buy more of these items because of these seductive photos of Britney Spears?
This is sending young adults the wrong message about “who” they are, and “how” they should act and appear. The message that Seventeen Magazine, Candie’s, and Kohl’s are sending to young ladies is very disrespectful, degrading and irresponsible. Responsible parents work relentlessly to build self respect in their girls. This Candie’s campaign takes it all away in an instant, even the name “Candie’s is provocative. A question is asked on the last page “Do you like Brits Looks?” A man’s response would says “hell yes, I want some of that Britney!” The problem is, this is Seventeen Magazine, not Playboy! How can a child respect the inner core of themselves when Seventeen and friends are not? Is this the only way these items can be successfully sold.
I am applaud at the irresponsibility of Seventeen magazine. I grew up with this magazine, and at one time purchased it for my daughter until I took the time and looked through what this magazine was really selling. It sold sex, sex, and more sex. I am not a naïve, out of touch person or parent that is afraid to allow my children to grow up. I am not a overbearing parent, that knows it all. I am frustrated, concerned, and sometimes outraged with society and the expectations they constantly brainwash our children with worldwide. As I said before, parents need and want support to build a loving, respectful child with self confidence and I feel society gets an “F” when it comes to contributing to the wellness of our children mentally, physically, and psycologically.

cfp categories: 
african-american
childrens_literature
cultural_studies_and_historical_approaches
ethnicity_and_national_identity
gender_studies_and_sexuality
modernist studies
popular_culture
rhetoric_and_composition