Justine vs. Seventeen

The man who trafficked me convinced me to run away from home with stories about Hollywood.  He said he could help me become a model, an actress, or a songwriter, and that he could introduce me to famous people.

A critic commented on my story with the Associated Press, stating that a 14-year-old is old enough to understand that wasn’t a reality.

I beg to differ.

The world created by the media for young teens is saturated with stories about celebrities.  When I was 14, I believed that you had to have one of three things in order to be somebody, in order to matter: beauty, money, or fame.

The idea of being famous or becoming famous is pushed on almost all types of media.  From 16 and Pregnant to American Idol, teens are watching girls transform from being their peers to becoming household names.  And these are the names mentioned on MTV, on the radio, and in fashion magazines.

Since I’ve been on the topic of fashion magazines this week, I decided to post a comparison between the December/January issue of Justine magazine (a magazine for “teens, real teens, just teens”) and the February issue of Seventeen magazine (one of my old favorites).

The editor’s intro to Justine begins as follows:

At Justine we have conversations all the time about who or what represents the REAL girl. Everything we do is driven by responding to the real-ness in your life…real wearable style, real affordable beauty, real life advice, real teen issues.

But lately there has been so much in the news that has made us question what is truly REAL. When ‘reality’ star Kim Kardashian announced her divorce after only 72 days of marriage, I think everyone paused for at a least a moment wondering if the entire wedding was simply staged for TV…

The editor’s intro to Seventeen begins as follows:

This month, we’re celebrating Demi Lovato’s brand-new life! She’s a year out of rehab, and she’s healthier and happier than ever. It’s the prefect inspirational story to kick off the New Year- we all want to start fresh in 2012! So what do you want for yourself this year?

Here’s my little secret: Instead of a New Year’s resolution, I pick a word to be my mantra for the year. It’s not really as woo-woo as it sounds. I write it down on a Post-it, stick it to my computer, and use it as a little reminder of what I need to achieve my goals…

Both introductions are wonderfully positive; unfortunately, they both focus on comparing our lives with those of celebrities.

Let’s see how the magazines compared in showing images of women in the real world.

Types of Images Justine # of Images Seventeen # of Images
Models 52 157
Readers/Regular Teens 35 (some group pictures) 23
Celebrities (Not Directly Associated with a Movie/Show Ad) 29 50
Celebrities (Directly Associated with a Movie/Show Ad) 110 12
Working women authors, fashion industry, motivational speaker, editor editor, stylists, beauticians

Next, let’s see how the magazines compared in content associated with celebrities.

Justine articles/quizzes without a celebrity focus:

One-Page Article/Quiz

 ‘You’re In!’- topic, the first college acceptance letter

‘Just your thoughts’- topic, readers’ New Years resolutions

‘What’s your fashion era?’- topic, fashion

Two-Page Article
‘A Day in the Life’- topic, women working in the fashion industry

‘Dorm Roundup’- topic, decorating your dorm room

‘A Tale of Two Besties’- topic, two best friend authors who have maintained friendship

‘Girltopia Rocks’- topic, one Girl Scout troop’s celebration  100th birthday (includes pictures of girls with celebrities)

Spark Holiday Picks- topic, books for your little sister

 Seventeen articles/quizzes (which didn’t contain advertisements):

One-Page Article/Quiz

‘Why diets are dumb!’- topic, nutrition

‘Are your texts :) or :( ?’- quiz about texting

‘Make $400 by spring break’- topic, easy ways for teens to make extra cash

‘Pulling an all-nighter’- topic, how to survive staying up all night

‘Get killer confidence!’- topic, ways to boost self-confidence

‘The hottest campus hookups’- topic, college readers tell how they met dates


     Two-Page Article

‘Secrets of Crazy-Great Flirts’- readers weigh in on best flirt moves

‘Occupy wall street changed my life’- 17 yo reader tells of making a change

‘Traumarama’- readers’ bad day scenarios

     Four-Page Article

‘Best V-Day Ever!’- V Day topics

‘The truth about love’- topic is dating violence

Articles/quizzes focused on celebrities/movies/models:

Justine Article 1 pg 2 pg 3 pg 4 pg 5+ pg
Erica Dasher, actress X
Nick Roux, actor X
‘Celeb-Inspired Gift Guide’ (7 actors featured) X
PG-13 Movie (4 actor interviews) X
Hunger Games (movie) quiz X
Unleashed (book) authors’ interview X
Eric Hutchinson, musician X
Monique Coleman, online columnist X
Seventeen Article 1 pg 2 pg 3 pg 4 pg 5+ pg
‘Is Your Love Forever?’ (questions based on
new PG-13 movie)
‘What you think!’- readers write in about past
celebrity interviews/articles
‘Faster, Stronger, Hotter in Just 3 Months’-
TV actress encourages fitness
‘Demi’- article about Demi Lovato, singer X
’366 Days of Hotness’- male models give
love advice.
‘Listen Up!’- new music guide X


This information isn’t meant to judge which magazine is better than the other.  It’s just meant to give an idea of exactly what is contained inside magazines meant for teenagers.

Next, I will compare the number of advertisements in each magazine.  Stay tuned…

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