Learning about sex in teen magazines

Themes:
AcademiaIdentity and Culture
What:
Talk
When:
Friday Aug 04   11:45 AM to 12:45 PM (1 hour)
Where:
Bouzy
Tags:
AcademiaAdult content
Discussion:
0
Before the internet and its wealth of (mis)information was available, many teenage girls got most of their sex education from their magazines, learning about safe sex, emotions, social expectations, and physical practicalities from articles and problem pages.
Revisiting twentieth century teen magazines including JackieJust SeventeenMizz and More!, this paper will explore the voices of both producers and consumers of magazines in the confusion of messages about how to say no and when to say yes, what girls should expect from sex, and whether boys really are ‘just after one thing’. I will draw on the advice published with the magazines’ authorial voices, as well as the published letters from readers who were grappling with how to apply the magazine advice to their own lives, and consider the magazines’ aims in the ways these interactions between producer and consumer were framed. 
The paper will also draw on recent survey data about women’s recollections of their own consumption of teenage magazines, to examine the way these messages about sex have stayed with readers, sometimes decades later. Prominent in those recollections are the ‘position of the fortnight’ in More! magazine, and Just Seventeen’s slogan ’to be sussed is a must, but sex under 16 is illegal’, as well as mixed emotions about the appropriateness of the magazines’ sexual content, and whether the lessons learned turned out to be useful ones, and an acknowledgement that sometimes there were simply no better sources of information available. 
Participant
Feminist parent knitter roleplayer academic geek

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