Sunday, March 04, 2007

seventeen.com - a post by Josh

From having a sister who is three years older than me I know that a fairly popular piece of media for teen girls are magazines. I remember seeing stacks of Seventeen Magazine in my sister’s room when she was in her teen years and I was her annoying little brother (which I still am). As the age range of adolescence continues to start lower the forms of media that were reserved for older teens begin to seep into the culture of pre-teens.

I was in Chapters yesterday wandering through the magazine section and I noticed something odd. A girl reading Seventeen Magazine, but she wasn’t a teenager. She looked like a teenager, but mini-sized. This girl was probably around nine or ten years old. She was flipping through Seventeen Magazine and talking on a cell phone! I was shocked. I assumed that the messages the magazine passes on to the large population that read it were probably sub-par at best, but I wanted to check it out for myself. And rather than the shoppers at Chapters thinking I was some kind of creep reading Seventeen Magazine, I chose to check out their website instead.

Seventeen.com boasts handy articles like “Learn how to Apply False Lashes” and “No Fail Hook-Up Moves”. If this is the stuff that teenage girls are being told is important than we as youth ministers have our work cut out for us. The site also has a built in BMI calculator that measures your body mass index. This is positive because it helps determine healthy body weight, a concern for all teens whether male or female. There is an entire section dedicated to “Guys”. No wonder the notion of purity has become a gray area, for even churched teens.

Adolescent girls are starving for something more to cling to than shopping, fashion, and boys. They’re searching for their identity in the midst of popular culture. Our responsibility is not only to show them the gospel, but to show them Christ’s love at the same time. So more girls don’t end up reading up on “No Fail Hook-Up Moves” while chatting it up on their cell phones in Chapters.

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5 Comments:

Blogger Gordon said...

oh wow..thx for posting this josh. this is very helpful material for youth ministry. i always thought it was difficult to minister to teenage girls, esp the quiet one's who don't have much opinion. i guess i just wasn't looking hard or deep enough.
i've been praying and thinking intently about the youth lately. i am convicted that serving on a sunday worship and youth night is not enough. leaders who have a vision for the youth should think bigger and take the extra step to get them outside of church building context. there all these things that are shaping the worldview of our teenz today and maybe 17 magazine isn't of our interest, but since youth are our interest, i think it's worth lookin into. thx josh, u have inspired me...props man*

11:28 p.m., March 04, 2007  
Blogger Joel said...

It is sickening how teenage girls are abused by the media in being told how they should live. The media plays on their insecurities and uses them to make more money. One example of a corporation using the insecurities to make money is the Gap. The Gap is known to have pant sizes that are larger than most companies to make girls feel smaller and in turn makes them want to buy Gap pants. it's sick and It's something we need to pay attention to.

8:43 a.m., March 05, 2007  
Blogger Shauna-Lee said...

As a girl who has gone through that "teen magazine stage" to know how easy it is to feel targeted by magazines such as Seventeen. I mean there was not just one magazine out there there were several like Bop, YM and etc. All of those who presented the "right" way to be a teenaged girl. For me it was always baffling how the magazine knew so much. As I look back on my experience of such magazines and then reflect on the impact it still has on young girls today its pretty sickening. No wonder pre-teens have a distorted idea of what beauty is. They are constantly fed lies and deceit about aspects of life that only God can give them. If only there was some way to lessen the materialistic grasp this world has on our youth!

1:24 p.m., March 05, 2007  
Anonymous Jeanette said...

This is a huge issue for teenage and preteens. I realize how easy it is to think less of yourself after reading these magazines and that is exactly what is happening. Right now in my youth group I am dealing with issues such as that. The popularity contest is over clothes, makeup, hair, looks, ect. It is challenging to get the youth to look past all those things that teen magazines say are important and to look at who they are. It is diffucult issue and the kids struggling are getting even younger, which should be a concern for all youth pastors.

9:01 a.m., March 09, 2007  
Anonymous Andrew said...

You make some good points Josh, something that I would like to add is that what I believe is the reason to which teens search for identity today. I believe that as a culture or as a society we have removed Christ as our source of identity which has left us searching for our identity somewhere else. I liked your comment that it is our responsibility to give them the gospel and to show them Christ’s love. I believe we also have to place Christ back as their source of their identity which will help them to navigate with world that seeks to sell them what they believe is right and wrong based on their sales of the magazine

12:47 a.m., March 12, 2007  

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