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Teen magazines: Hopelessly devoted to sexual content

Sunday, October 29, 2000

By Bob Hoover, Post-Gazette Book Editor

Simple, unadult(-ered) straight sex is a fact of life for American teen girls, so you might as well both have it and enjoy it, or check into the dork corral, say five standard teen magazines.

In November's issues of Teen People, YM, Jane, Mademoiselle and Cosmo Girl!, the message is all the same -- good bod, great sex.

Here's how they sell it:

Jane justifies its unrelieved emphasis on having sex while looking great with one article of social import. This month's dose of castor oil is a cursory look at illegal adoptions in Guatemala, but the big story is a first-person account of trying out to be a Los Angeles Lakers cheerleader. Other in-depth studies include paste-on erect nipples, what young men really feel during sex and hangover cures.

Mademoiselle advises that a fun trip to the cheap no-tell motel can liven up the sex lives of the under-21 set (apparently many teens are already bored with doing it), that it's OK to weigh 138 pounds (that's average for the American teen girl; just don't think you can appear in any of Mademoiselle's ads, you cow) and please don't e-mail after the first date if it includes a roll in the hay. Use the phone.

Cosmo Girl!, despite its Helen Gurley Brown lineage, keeps the sex tips to a minimum, butit is top-heavy on beauty and fashion, male pinups and even college-admission advice. Hint: Cheaper means better chance of Dad and Mom saying yes.

Teen People uses the stuff big People threw in the trash, meaning all of those paparazzi photos from parties and film premieres. Breaking news! You can meet a creep on the Internet! Stop the presses! Fashion makeovers and horoscopes fill the white space around the usual teen product ads.

YM follows three Iowa City studs as they cruise for girls in the heartland. Chief BS topic: the posteriors of several corn-fed lovelies. Other topics: creepy stepdads, banishing teen angst and how to avoid spilling the beans about your messed-up life when some hot guy turns you into Jell-O.



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