Magazine article Insight on the News

Alternative Magazines Promote 'Positive View' of Womanhood

Magazine article Insight on the News

Alternative Magazines Promote 'Positive View' of Womanhood

Article excerpt

While Jane magazine advises teenagers on `Sex, Sex, Sex,' lesser-known publications are exploring `Sexual Harassment in School' Teen Voices, Brio, Blue Jeans and similar magazines mix multiculturalism and politics in articles such as `Republican Women of Color,' proving that some teens have more on their minds than makeup and diet fads.

Feminists and conservatives may be unlikely allies, but they are banding together to fight sexually explicit teen publications by creating their own magazines. Often written by teenage girls themselves, these magazines create an alternative feminism by avoiding articles on makeup, sex and dieting.

"We got tired of magazines that advertised 7-foot-tall, 90-pound drug-addicted models," declares Tali Edut, the managing editor of Hues. "We wanted a magazine that promoted a positive view of womanhood."

The new breed of publication, with titles such as Teen Voices, Brio and Blue Jeans, offers articles on "Republican Women of Color," "Teen Motherhood" and "Sexual Harassment in Schools" and advocates multiculturalism, positive self-esteem and the empowerment of women. Ads cannot promote diet products or contain nudity.

While Seventeen, the feminist stepmother to these new teen magazines, refrains from overtly endorsing teen-age sex, the magazine displays provocative ads. The 54-year-old publication has changed drastically since the days when Helen Valentine founded the magazine in response to women's changing role during World War II.

"Seventeen takes credit for defining what teen girls today are all about." says publisher Lori Burgess, 37. "Before Seventeen came along, girls were children who turned into their mothers. The magazine has created the essence of the modern teen."

But Jane magazine, a recent startup, is something else. Sample headlines: "Sex to Write Home About" and "Sex, Sex, Sex." Articles give teen girls tips on how to have an orgasm and explain a "hands-on approach to oral sex." In "Get What You Want," teens are advised how to respond if their boyfriend suggests a menage a trois.

Alternatives to this fare have been around for nearly a decade. Alison Amoroso, 32, cofounded Teen Voices in 1988 while she was earning her doctorate in social work at Harvard. …

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