Dear Seventeen Magazine,
Last week I purchased your magazine for the first time in over 30 years. Let me offer my congratulations to your continued success. I am also in a kind of shock that I purchased a magazine for my teen that my mom purchased for me. It seems that as much as the world has changed since my teenage years the more it has stayed the same within teen stardom land.
It is because the world has indeed changed that I writing to you. I bought the current issue because my teen is currently obsessed with all things Sabrina Carpenter. This photo is how I won best mom of the day award.
What the photo doesn’t show, but the article inside does, is that your cover girl also suffers from anxiety. Something most teenage girls grapple with as they enter high school (and beyond). Reading the article, I’m sure, your writer reached a lot of young woman who struggle with anxiety and issues that involve social media.
Two days after I won #momoftheyear I received a text from my daughter that another one of her idols, Demi Lovato, had overdosed. She was knew of Ms. Lovato’s struggles thanks to Ms. Lovato’s open and honest interaction with her fans. This allowed the two of us to have a frank discussion about how difficult drugs are to live with and how addiction affects not just the person, but their family, friends and in Ms. Lovato’s case a legion of fans.
I ask you to please, should (or when) Demi Lovato decides to share her story that you feature her on the cover. That in the interim you have serious and frank articles of other teens who struggle with addiction and assist in providing them with the tools they need to resist the urge to try “just once”. Instead of glamorizing or normalizing substance abuse, use the Star power in your magazine to educate our children in their own words. Just as their songs touch our girls, so do how they explain their struggles and triumphs.
My daughter was, of course, upset when she heard that Demi Lovato had overdosed. She wasn’t angry and never felt let down. Instead she felt this woman’s struggles were real and important, a lesson to a young teen who will get asked, “don’t you want to just try”. When these Teen Idols take their fans seriously and responsibly, they teach teens how to stay safe and how to be the best they can be.
Being an Idol doesn’t mean you are without flaws, just that you triumph over them.
Yes, the world has changed since I was a teen. But Seventeen has evolved. In 1984, a cover of Seventeen Magazine would ask about grades, rush and skin care routines. In 2018 Seventeen Magazine has the opportunity to still have fun and beauty articles while also depicting teens who struggle with anxiety, depression and, sadly, addiction.
While I wish the world could go back to fluff, I’m happy to know this staple of a teen girls life gives this mom the tools to broach subjects, with Star power to back up my mom wisdom.
I’ll be ordering my teen a subscription