Last week, I posted a blog entitled “Accidental Sex?” in which I commented about an article in Seventeen Magazine entitled “Shocking Ways You Could Get Pregnant By Accident.”
I got an email from a listener who had written to Seventeen to complain about the article. She sent me a copy of their response, or as she said: “let’s be sure not to alienate anyone, was their bottom line. Good grief!”
Good grief, indeed. I’ll let you be the judge. Here’s the letter from Seventeen:
Thank you for your letter. We are very interested in all of your comments, questions and concerns.
Seventeen has a readership of millions of girls, and it is our mission, indeed our obligation, to give these girls information, entertainment and advice they can turn to. As the oldest magazine in existence for teenagers, we also have 60 years of experience in talking to them and finding ways of getting them to listen. We have found that when teens feel they are being lectured, condescended to, or getting nothing but “don’ts,” they stop listening.
What we attempt to do in every article is to give teens basic facts and warnings, in an effort to make sure that if they do decide to take a step, like to become sexually active, they are aware of the most likely issues and safety conditions and will at least think twice about what they are doing and try to do it in the most responsible way possible.
We at Seventeen work as best we can to get the right kind of message across without alienating readers. We will continue to try to give our readers advice that works, and to serve them as well as we can.
Thanks again for writing us.
The EditorsTrackBack URI
Any woman who has ever been pregnant knows how absurd it is when we hear about some young woman who did not know she was pregnant until the moment at which she is giving birth to a full-term baby. Preposterous, of course. Its more like she’s not willing to take responsibility. Well, the February issue of Seventeen magazine focuses on “Shocking Ways You Could Get Pregnant By Accident.” Huh?
The cover piece does mention the option of not having sex, and even points out that “studies show that girls who have a big plan for their future are significantly less likely to get pregnant,” but the main focus of the magazine article is not about how to avoid sex simply because you feel all tingly and your girlfriends are doing it or the guy tells you that you won’t be popular if you don’t. It’s mainly about accepting that it’ll probably happen, so this is how you talk him into a condom or how you take the pill (which, by the way, does not protect against sexually-transmitted diseases).
“…sex is a natural, healthy and fun part of loving relationships.” That is a fact. What Seventeen does not take an entire issue to explain is that every time you feel butterflies or are hot for someone, it isn’t love. The issue does not spend page after page extolling the virtues of mature awe, respect, admiration, friendship, trust, etc., which take years to develop and can really only take place once you’re a mature adult.
Surely Seventeen magazine knows that the number one issue for teens is acceptance and fitting in. To be such a formidable influence in the lives of teens and to be so remiss in cheating them out of the blessings of true intimacy – instead, touting the fulfillment of urges as love justifying sex – is a sad, irresponsible, and disgusting misuse of their power.TrackBack URI