Magazine article Marketing

Sex Talk and the Single Girl

Magazine article Marketing

Sex Talk and the Single Girl

Article excerpt

The sexual content of girls' teen magazines has spawned a moral campaign in the Commons, but editors and advertisers are unbowed.

'Condom Conundrums - Four Blunders to Avoid...' blares a Tampax-endorsed 'Sex Special' supplement, bound into the March issue of Sugar. The 'Sex Misadventures' spread grabs its readers' attention with subheadings such as 'pulling out', 'slippery!', and even 'he says he's too big'. Sugar, published by Attic Futura, counts 13-year-olds among its target audience.

Are such features smutty, salacious and overly-explicit? Or are they providing sensible information, appropriate for teenagers who would otherwise be left in the dark?

Tory MP Peter Luff has banned his 11-year old daughter from reading teenage girls' magazines, and has started a campaign calling for magazines such as 19, More!, Sugar and Mizz to clean up their act.

The campaign includes a private member's bill, the Periodicals (Protection of Children) Bill, which would require magazines to carry cover page warnings about articles that may be unsuitable for readers below a certain age.

Although sources indicate the government will not be supporting it, the bill will be given a second reading on March 1, after winning support in the House of Commons last week.

No such thing as bad publicity

Luff told Marketing he felt he had already achieved many of his aims by bringing the issue to the public's attention: "Publishers are now on notice that a very large swath of British public opinion is profoundly unhappy with the content of the magazines in question."

Editors claim that a health warning would be counter-productive. Sugar editor Joanne Elvin says: "We stand by our editorial policy but we also believe that any age limit printed on the cover is the best way to encourage 11-year-olds to read Sugar." Her argument is strengthened by Sugar's latest ABC figures, which have risen 50,000 to 318,000. …

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