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The student newspaper of, by, and for Ames High School.

The WEB

The student newspaper of, by, and for Ames High School.

The WEB

Seventeen: Cute or Beastly?

At first, I was excited when we decided to feature Seventeen in the Opinion section. I thought it had potential; I thought it would be a classic WEB piece with some witty quips, decent jokes (well, we try ) and perhaps ultimately make some decent points without being offensive. I still maintain a hope against offensiveness, and perhaps isolated humor is not out of the question, but the fact of the matter is that I’ve come to realize that Seventeen magazine is no laughing matter. I don’t think it is cute or feminine; I think it is beastly and cutthroat in nature, degrading humanity by taking advantage of identity-developing teenagers using care and wisdom as its disguise, preying on their powerlessness for the sake of profit. I truly believe it is among the most deceitful and destructive things available to a teenager today. Seventeen presents item after item in issue after issue concerning just how to create an existence rooted in sexual identity. Maybe this seems like an overstatement; I’ll admit, I may have worded that strongly, and the magazine may not emphasize the act of sex so much (although that’s arguable), but what I’m getting at is an actual identity that it glorifies, which is ultimately dysfunctional, and is also illogical and extremely hurtful. I don’t think it’s just me when I say that the purpose I detect in the magazine’s material is to serve as a sort of how-to in getting what you want from society by artificially forging an image for yourself in such a way that men drool over you and women are jealous of you. The foundation of everything in this magazine is unadulterated manipulation. Do we expect good things from manipulation? A little thought reveals a nearly exact correlation between manipulating people to get what you want and drinking unicorn blood. The dysfunction of it all is evident. It gets illogical when you consider that these manipulative techniques only elicit manipulative behavior from those originally intended to be subdued by it. Moreover, from the beginning, readers are being manipulated by the magazine itself; it presents an image allegedly desirable and successful, claims to have the know-how to make it achievable, and makes money off of the human desire for acceptance. Unfortunately, what is force-created when people follow what Seventeen has to say is an abundance of surface circumstance with a mismatched foundation; what is described in Seventeen as "love" is really two people, each trying to get as much out of the other for themselves as possible. If I could misquote The Swan Princess here, "This isn’t my idea of… love." Love is a giving thing, and we have enough unloving motives to deal with simply by nature without Seventeen exploiting them. Please, if you are consulting Seventeen as a source of wisdom; if you have determined your ultimate goal according to its guidelines; if you find yourself formulating ways to establish yourself socially for your own satisfaction; if you are given to believe Seventeen over common sense, or even if you are not, stay away. Throw every copy you own away. Cancel your subscription. Don’t visit the media center if that’s what it takes to keep yourself from reading it. Please invest your effort in unselfishness. There is no easy road to take, but you won’t regret choosing to give and, for that matter, give up Seventeen . The same cannot be said for the selfish life this garbage promotes.

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