Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

'Zines for Teens: Everything from Brad Pitt to Bad Zits

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

'Zines for Teens: Everything from Brad Pitt to Bad Zits

Article excerpt

What do women want?" Sigmund Freud famously asked, then failed to answer in a slew of books. But suppose he were still with us and asked, "What do teen-age girls want?" That's easy: Brad Pitt and a nice prom.

That conclusion is reached after deep and prolonged immersion in the fat, glossy magazines that cater to that cohort of females. The two most successful magazines are Seventeen and YM (which stands for young and modern). The New York Times recently reported that those two, each with a circulation of about 2 million, are in hot competition for the advertisers who are in hot competition for the loose change in the pockets of the baggy jeans of teen-age girls. It is a tidy sum: $34 billion. It can buy a lot of skin cream ("Every moisturizer is soft on skin. Here's one that's tough on zits"), compact discs, prom dresses and tickets to Brad Pitt movies.

Pitt played the younger brother in "A River Runs Through It." In it he was a terrific fly fisherman. He is even better as a subject for magazine stories, such as "Heartbreak Hunk Brad Pitt" and "Brad Pitt's Weird Secret" (the secret is that he carries a roll of toilet paper in his car). He even creeps into advice on decoding dreams: "If you dream about Brad Pitt, you want a long-term romance with a guy you're crushing on."

About that last item, two things to remember. First, "long term" is a phrase with elastic meaning. Witness a letter that begins, "My boyfriend and I got into a fight on the night of our one-month anniversary." And if the use of "crush" as a verb in the paragraph above gives you the willies, you will find these magazines hard sledding. Their texts are blizzards of sentences featuring words like "stressed" and "bummed" and "psyched" and "grossed." And "like," as in title of an article: "Like, Yuk: Don't be a fashion disaster." And "omigod," as in this cover headline: "Omigod! My boyfriend gave me a gross disease."

Which brings us to the subject of sex. It does pop up. About everything: "extra: best bikini (make him sweat)." The New York Times says that YM, somewhat the brassier of the two magazines, features "sex-on-the-surface articles about how to attract young men and then avoid sex with them. …

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