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‘Teenage magazines present images which result in low self-esteem amongst their readers.’ Discuss.

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Introduction

'Teenage magazines present images which result in low self-esteem amongst their readers.' Discuss. In the average newsagents there are a large number of magazines which are aimed at the teenage girl market, for example J-17, Sugar and Bliss. These magazines have various factors in common. They all contain adverts for and features on fashion; they have adverts and articles for beauty products; actresses and pop stars are interviewed; they have reports by 'real-life' people and they have problem pages. The main focus of these magazines therefore is fashion, beauty and boys. Perhaps the most striking similarity is that all the models, actresses and 'real-life' people are slim, attractive, have perfect hair and complexions which are blemish free. This type of magazine is heavily criticised by many people for lowering self-esteem in their readers, but is this the case? As soon as you pick up one of these magazines the first thing that strikes you is all the dazzlingly beautiful models splashed over the pages. They all have perfect hair, perfectly in place, radiant skin without a single blemish in sight and they are wearing expensive and fashionable clothes. ...read more.

Middle

However, 50% of teenagers in the United Kingdom do not currently have a mobile phone so many girls may be feeling inadequate. Additionally in these magazines there are many beauty products and various types of make up advertised which can be expensive. Cosmetic companies are constantly trying to expand their market, and there are therefore constantly new products being launched. This means that it would not be possible for anybody to afford or posses all the products. Furthermore the message implied by these cosmetic adverts is that in order to be beautiful you need the products and therefore with out them you are unattractive. The fashion pages are often filled with expensive clothes and accessories which many girls may not be able to afford. As a result the girls may feel that they are not trendy and when they go out with their friends they may have less confidence in their appearance. Additionally magazines often feature 'what's hot' and 'what's not' articles. Often clothes shown by the magazine one week as being fashionable may only two or three weeks later be classed as out of fashion. ...read more.

Conclusion

The informative and educational articles provide facts on issues, which focus on aspects greatly affecting teenagers such as drugs, sex and crime. These articles use street jargon commonly used by teenagers. As a result the reader will feel more confident at being able to discuss these types of issues with their peer group and will benefit from having a clearer understanding. Whilst it could be argued that some aspects of these magazines lower self-esteem, in my opinion, a teenage girl must have had some previous incident in her life, for example divorced parents or bullying at school, which has resulted in her self confidence being lowered or shaken. A person who is confident and has a good self-image is unlikely to be adversely affected by teenage magazines. This is especially true of those girls who are aware of the various devices used by the magazine editors to produce these perfect images, such as touching up photographs, computer manipulation, using professional lighting and expensive make-up. On balance, it is my opinion that images presented in teenage magazines do not lead to lowered self-esteem amongst their readers. I believe this because last year in the UK many thousands of teenage magazines were sold and would this be happening if this type of magazine was causing frustration, pressure and unhappiness? ...read more.

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