Seventeen was the first magazine with a focus on teen readers. Part of the Hearst family of publications, the magazine for teenaged girls had its debut in 1944.
The introductory letter from Editor, Helen Valentine of Vogue and Mademoiselle greeted a new kind of readership.
“As a magazine, we shall discuss all the things you consider important — with plenty of help from you, please. Write us about anything or everything. Say you agree with SEVENTEEN or disagree violently, say we’re tops, say we’re terrible, say anything you please — but say it!”
The intent of Seventeen was to recognize your women who at “the age when a girl is no longer a child, yet isn’t quite a woman.” The content reached beyond fashion as “liking boys” to issues that affected people in that age group.
Photoshop and airbrushed models
Some controversy hit the magazine in 2012 when Julia Bluhm, a teenager from Maine, successfully gathered 85,000 petitions to get Seventeen to stop airbrushing and Photoshopping photos.
The petition called for the “Body Peace Treaty” wanted Seventeen to “commit to printing one unaltered — real — photo spread per month.” Bluhm argued that touched-up images poison teen girls with an unrealistic expectation of how they should look.
“Here’s what lots of girls don’t know. Those ‘pretty women’ that we see in magazines are fake,’ Bluhm wrote in the petition. “They’re often photoshopped, air-brushed, edited to look thinner, and to appear like they have perfect skin. A girl you see in a magazine probably looks a lot different in real life.”
CNN reports airbrush news in 2012
Things have certainly changed since the first issue of Seventeen Magazine in 1944.
Feature Stories through the years
- 1945: Farming Trivia Quiz
- 1947: Advances Square Dancing Techniques
- 1950: How to interact with your teachers and navigate the lunchroom.
- 1955: “How to choose a guy” with a warning about “The Brain” who will be more interested in microscopes than girls
- 1960: “17 Ways to Make Popcorn”
- 1966: “A prediction that people will still be listening to the Beatles in the 21st century.
- 1968: “Dating Do: “Do make suggestions when he asks what movie to go see. Otherwise he’ll think all you want to do is neck.” [Hint: in case you don’t know, “necking” = making out!]
- 1970: 1970 Dating Do: “Do read his palm. Say something like, ‘What an extraordinary thumb! Mind if I have a closer look?
- 1974: “Like other teen-agers everywhere, Princess Caroline often wears jeans.”
- 1979: Dating Dilemma: “Ex-Boyfriends — Can you still be friends?” Their advice? “If you feel like you want to kill your ex-boyfriend, it’s best just to avoid him!”
- 1982: The Private Life of the American Teenager (no relation to The Secret Life…!) that showed how much more liberal American teen girls were becoming. 80% of girls said they wanted a career, and 74% said they would live with a guy before marrying him.
- 1996 This issue had an Ultimate Guy Gift Guide, so you can figure out what to buy your BF for his birthday based on his astrological sign.
- 1997: It was declared that “pagers are the new communication tools of choice.”
Seventeen magazine ceased its print publication at the end of 2019 and moved its magazine to online.