By Jonathon Van Mren
Teen magazines have always been trashy. The covers scream sex advice at young girls, giving them thousands of sizzling tips on how to keep their boyfriend happy, all of which seem to involve a wide range of sexual behavior at a very young age.
Self-objectification, apparently, is sexy.
Glamour magazine has actually promoted dangerous “at-home” abortions. Teen Vogue recently decided to shill for porn-addicted young men everywhere and published a handy guide promoting anal sex to young girls, despite the fact that doctors are reporting a huge influx of girls that need to be stitched up—and are even using tampons in their bottoms—due to how damaging these practices are. And now, Cosmopolitan has released an article titled “8 Reasons You Should Rethink Your Stance on Cheating.”
I noticed the article when one of my friends, who is a high school teacher, posted it on Facebook with this angry comment: “Trash like this is the reason why so many of my students are completely lost when it comes to the topic of sexuality and relationships. They’re bombarded with articles where dignity is completely disregarded and replaced with twisted self-satisfying philosophy.”
That is precisely the case. In the article, Cosmopolitan makes the case that “judging” and “shaming” are a bad thing, that affairs can be fun, and that we all need to “get over our monogamy squeamishness.” In other words, teenagers who are upset that their significant other cheated on them are judgemental and squeamish dinosaurs who need to stop cheater-shaming other teenagers and just realize that a dedicated, loving relationship with one other person is impossible, and that they should just beat their dreams to death with a copy of Fifty Shades of Grey and get used to being lonely while also getting laid a lot. Or not, of course. Depends if soulless and sterile sex is your thing.
Parents, if you are reading this, you need to be paying far better attention to what your teen children are reading. These magazines are not harmless, as many of you might assume. They are promoting a very specific worldview, and they are doing it with the help of glossy pinups, celebrity interviews, fashion advice—and loads of sex tips. Most significantly, these magazines are sending the message to your daughter that this sort of lifestyle is normal—everyone is frolicking around in the hookup culture, so make sure you don’t get left out.
Not to mention the fact that at a time when teenage girls are bombarded with awful signals about their value, these magazines inform them that their worth comes from how they look and how well they service the boys. What these magazines are doing is grooming—read Nancy Jo Sales’ horrifying book American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers. Sales, who is a journalist for Vanity Fair, was commissioned by her editor to find out why so many teenage girls were killing themselves. Initially, Sales had no problem with pornography and the other trash that has hijacked teen life. After traveling to high schools across America and interviewing dozens of girls, she speaks at anti-porn conferences.
Today’s teen girls live in a time of unprecedented pressure. There is pressure to look a certain way and dress a certain way, regardless of how comfortable they are. There is enormous pressure to succumb to requests for a variety of sexual practices—including anal sex—that most girls do not want to engage in (this is something I often hear from girls when I speak at high schools on pornography.) They are told that hookup culture is the norm, and that they can’t expect anything better—as Cosmopolitan says, they can’t even expect a guy who won’t cheat on them. This creates cynicism, disillusionment, and depression.
Toss these magazines in the trash where they belong.