The finalists are here and I can applaud what they are trying to do in theory.
In theory, they are trying to do what Sassy did. They are trying to put real girls on the cover.
In theory, they are also trying to do what they were known for in yesteryear: providing scholarship funds and early publication opportunities to young female writers.
In theory, both of these editorial decisions should be applauded.
Still, in theory, I don’t think editorial looks and editorial content should be so expressly intertwined. I mean, yes, in reality, guess what? They are. Editors select content for their magazine. That content has to appeal to readers and advertisers. Ann Shoket needs to project a specific brand image in her magazine.
I’m just galled that she had the idiocy to expressly say “yes you have to be pretty to be on the cover”. There’s so much to unpack in that statement that I can’t even begin. Hence my initial reaction of “Blargh Garg Flames a;jdflkajsfl;asjf”.
It’s like she’s missing the point of everything that a teen magazine should be. A teen magazine should be encouraging and inspiring to young women. It should teach them to revel in their individuality and embolden them to take risks.
I never submitted to the Seventeen Magazine fiction contest because I was terrified I wasn’t as good a writer as Sylvia Plath. If sixteen year old me was told by an editor that she not only had to be as good a writer as Sylvia Plath, but “pretty” according to Ann Shoket’s hazy guidelines, then I would have been walking around with two massive inferiority complexes. I mean, I was already flipping through Seventeen and comparing the angles of my face to Natalie Portman’s. A contest like this would have had me not only doubting my nascent abilities as a writer, but my ability to ever be loved or successful based on looks.
“If the world isn’t going to hand you your every wish and desire, she seems to want to say, just write it yourself. If they wanted to become actors, says Fey, “I’d try and spare them from the life of an actor, where you only get work if someone picks you. You want to be someone who makes your own stuff. If you make your own thing, you can be doing it at a community theater or on Broadway. No one can really stop you. It’s a better, more cool life.”—
This has sort of been my mantra in the past ten years. It’s also why I’m a little bit sad when I see young women who just want to be actors or models or singers*. Write! Design! Compose! Don’t wait for someone to tell you who or what or how to be! BLAH!
*I mean like, they just want someone to make them famous. They aren’t touring, working actors like Ellen or classically trained opera singers like Lisa.
If you really want to read Anna Karennina, I wouldn't say right now. I read Anna Karennina when I was in thenth grade but it took me from the beginning of the tenth to halfway through the eleventh. It's a great book but its a long one and it takes time, especially because of the language conventions of Russian Lit. It did for me at least. Sometimes I read the book after the film and compare the effectiveness of each afterward. Regardless, Cheers! -Audrey
Thank you, Audrey!
I’m trying to read Girls Like Us (a biography of Carole King, Joni Mitchell and Carly Simon) right now, but I’m having trouble getting into it. Probably because it jumps around each of the women’s biography so it’s tough to remember who’s mother is who and what year each of them got their heart broken for the first time.
I might download it on my space book* and just see if I feel like reading it this summer.
“She is a famous beauty. She is nine months old. [Model] Baptiste [Giaconi] gave her to me for Christmas to watch for two weeks when he was away but then I refused to give her back. I thought she was too cute. She is like a kept woman. She has a strong personality. She has lunch and dinner with me on the table, with her own food. She doesn’t touch my food. She doesn’t want to eat on the floor. She sleeps under a pillow and she even knows how to use an iPad. She has two personal maids, for both night and day. She is beyond spoiled.”—Karl Lagerfeld on his kitten, Choupette
Look, if I could go back in time and yell at my mother for one thing, it would be for convincing me that it was okay for me at nine years old to dress up with a feather headband and call myself “Dancing Moon” in a room full of other socially awkward white kids—especially since before we started Indian Guides, I literally asked her, “Are you sure this is okay?”
I would not yell at her for putting me with a group of other socially awkward (and welcoming) boys and girls, though. She thought she was doing the right thing.
This piece is just how it really sucked that growing up in my home town there was either the sexism of the Boys and Girls Scouts or the offensive racial stereotyping of the YMCA Indian Guides to choose from. I preferred the group where being a girl wasn’t what defined me. That’s all.
Acting like “your date is the one who has to impress you” seems like a solid way to avoid second dates.
I don’t know. We live in a culture where every single bit of advertisement shilled at women whether it’s for cellulite cream or self-betterment is filtered through the attitude that we have to win and keep a mate, and we’re a failure if we can’t do that. I’m in no way suggesting that any woman should put on airs, but it should be equal effort.
I can’t tell you how many guys I’ve met and how few have actually put in any effort. Not like “I’m the greatest dude ever!”, but “Hey, I like you. Here’s my deal. I’m not going to lie to you. I’m going to listen and be polite and treat you as though you are valuable.”
I’m just saying that if the media and culture tells young women to bust their asses to be the best versions of themselves to impress a mate, then they should be on the watch for someone who appreciates that and will put a little effort in themselves. Young women should be taught to value themselves as complete people outside the dating scene.
Again, if you read the piece it’s for the type of girl who freaks herself out to the point of self-hatred before a date. So, I think remembering it’s a two-way street is good advice.
Thanks for reading! Have a nice day!
P.S. Insecurity NEVER works in seduction. Cockiness isn’t attractive, either, you’re not wrong. But CONFIDENCE…that’ll get you some. That’ll get you everything.