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Rebecca Hagelin / May 11, 2010

Sleazy Seventeen

If you dare to look behind the gloss, glam and glitz, it’s enough to make you sick. Sick about how our pre-teen and teen girls are being used and manipulated by the fake “friends” that write and publish teen media.

One of the worst perpetrators is Seventeen Magazine. And the May issue is probably the sickest of them all, complete with an extra dose of duplicity and hypocrisy.

The cover of Seventeen features the “star” of one of the most popular trash television programs for teenagers today -The Secret Life of the American Teenager - a program filled with teen sex. They do this, of course, so teen girls will slap down some serious cash to find out why starlet Shailene Woodley isn’t “the girl you think she is”. (I’m not sure what teen girls “think she is”, but the article gushes about how the 18-year-old “Shai” and her boyfriend packed their bags and moved to NY where they shacked up.) And, get this: another feature article in the same edition discusses how television shows like The Secret Life of the American Teenager can “trick” girls into “getting pregnant”.

Of course, while pretending to criticize such programs, the magazine also heavily promotes those same shows in their publication throughout the year. It also portrays “hooking up” as normal behavior for teens, runs ads that tells girls how to get guys to touch their legs, and frequently promotes hot sex and lesbianism.

On the surface, it might look like Seventeen and one of their major partners, The Candie’s Foundation, are truly concerned about the physical and emotional well-being of our young women. Afterall, they are engaged in a campaign to help reduce teen pregnancy - how can that be bad? Because they are hypocrites. Because while they brag about spending so much money to come up with “cool” ads aimed at reducing teen pregnancy, they are simultaneously part of the media culture that is constantly encouraging our young girls to have sex. To give the appearance of looking responsible, they “attack” other media outlets for doing exactly what they do every month: brainwash our young women into believing they have to be sex kittens. Our girls deserve better.

It’s time that parents watch and read what your girls are consuming. Watch the trashy shows like Gossip Girls, The Secret Life of the American Teenager, and Glee. Pick up a copy of the sleazy Seventeen, Glamour and Cosmopolitan. Do it one time and you will suddenly realize that today’s teenage girls are being treated like red meat, and encouraged to serve it up as a part of normal teen life.

Our young women, thanks to adults who have skillfully learned how to manipulate their emotions, hormones, insecurities and hopes, are being degraded and devalued more than any generation of American girls before them.

The message that is being drilled into their psyches is painfully obvious: Forget about your intelligence, your goodness, your kindness, your grace or your moral integrity - the way to get ahead in the world is by using your sexual power.

Start deconstructing the shows and the messages with your daughter. Let her know that she is being used and manipulated into buying the magazines, the sponsor products, the Candie’s shoes, etc. Show her how her natural teen interest in sexuality and boys is being skillfully twisted and manipulated by adults who are masters in marketing their wares to her age group.

And of course, find something else fun for your daughter to do with all of that time she is wasting. Above all else, let her know how much you love her, and that she is a person of high value. Introduce her to movements like www.PureFashion.org who understand how fashion and morality can work together. If she’s college bound, encourage her to become involved in groups like the Network of Enlightened Women - www.EnlightenedWomen.org , who expose the rabid media culture and radical feminism for what they are: damaging and degrading to women.

Your daughter does deserve better. Help make sure she knows it.

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