Friday, January 13, 2006

Dynamite! The Explosion of Teen Magazines In and Out of Schools

This article deals with the popularity of teen magazines and their effect on adolescents, particularly girls. The author of this article seems to agree with allegations that teen magazines are sending strong and often misleading messages to young girls. The overall purpose of the article, other than to provide some statistics and research on this issue, seems to be to encourage educators to consider incorporating this material into the classroom and using it to promote critical thinking and questioning in students.

I definitely agree with this standpoint and feel that confronting the issue is much more effective than censoring it, or even worse, pretending it doesn’t exist. Instead of ignoring the issue, we should be teaching students to critically analyze and evaluate the content of these magazines so that they can distinguish between appearance and reality. If we, as educators, try to ignore the factors influencing our students today, then we ourselves are being quite naïve. Much has changed in our society in the past ten years since I myself was a young teenage girl and yet those magazines probably had the same effect on me as they have on the adolescents of today. Why are we so reluctant to teach students to think for themselves? If we don’t talk to them about these issues, they will find their information elsewhere and not always from reliable sources. As the article points out, if schools simply ban the magazines, students will find the magazines elsewhere: the public library, on the Internet or from friends. It is very sad to hear that many girls feel that teen magazines provide them with “valuable answers” that they would not find elsewhere (Manohar 2002). I can’t help but think back to my teenage years, naively pretending that I knew what French kissing was all about and wondering about puberty and all the rest. When I started reading the teen magazine Seventeen, I began to feel informed. I am not sure how accurate some of this information was, but at the time it was all that I had to go by. I definitely was not going to ask my mother such things and I didn’t want to admit to my friends that I didn’t know what they were talking about.

I feel that it is silly for us to think that we can stop students from reading these types of magazines. Instead, I believe that our role as educators is to equip students as best as we can by helping them to become better informed, capable of critically evaluating the information that they are reading.


Blogger Mélanie said...

I completely agree with Chelsea. Censoring or denying teens from media is not even a possibility, never has been never will be. We have to give our students and our children the ammunition that they need to differentiate between reality and fiction. Media tends to promote fiction!

3:09 p.m.  

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