The Seventeen of today is not the Seventeen of yesteryear, thanks to Editor in Chief Atoosa Rubenstein. Sure, there are articles in the magazine today that were there when I was that age. There are the evergreen teen-health-related articles about how to "Get Rid of Underground Pimples" and "Your Period 101" (I'm guessing that all male readers are heading for the door right about now). There's fashion advice on the best prints for your shape and how to achieve the perfect pedicure. There's emotional guidance in such articles as "How to Deal When People Gossip About You," and "Prom--No Date, No Problem!" which showcases a group of attractive high school girls renting a limo and intentionally going to senior prom dateless.
But outside of these topics, today's Seventeen does something that it didn't do in mine: assumes that young girls are diverse, smart, and dealing with complicated issues that past generations haven't.
"Take Action (before it's too late)," a piece by "MTV News'" Suchin Pak, concisely outlines the issues of global warming, privacy, poverty and anti-American feelings by dividing each topic into two brief paragraphs: "what it is" and "why you should care about it." "Drugs destroyed my family," not only relates the story of Jestine Estes, a 17-year-old who, at age eight, was taken by Child Protective Services because of her mother's meth addiction. It outlines the signs of a user, presents a before-and-after photo showing the physical effects of drugs, and gives advice on how to cope in similar circumstances. That advice, by the way, is from "Miss Seventeen" winner Jennifer Steele, a 20-year-old college student whose parents are addicts--and in prison.
In "Atoosa's Corner," the editor in chief addresses her audience directly, "Never let an unkind glance or word get in your way," she writes. "Instead, see those moments as the obstacles you need to overcome in your journey to being the best you possible-- the you who can truly touch and change the world." Funny, but when my mom told me to ignore people who picked on me, it didn't sound half as cool as it does coming from a 34-year-old editor who signs off every letter with love and her e-mail address!
The interview with Pink left me somewhat ambivalent. The artist has created major buzz of late with her provocative hit song and video, "Stupid Girls," where she parodies stars like Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton in their lesser moments, asking, "What happened to the dreams of a girl president?/She's dancing in the video next to 50 Cent." Though Pink discusses the issues of low self-esteem and loving one's self, I was a bit put off with her statement that "I'm a stupid girl every other day. I'm still a stupid girl." To cure herself of this, she says, she visits 6-year-olds with cancer who are without legs as a result of the disease, then self-berates for being upset about her heavy, muscular legs. I understand the message, but come on, Pink--I'm not a stupid girl, and I have days when I hate my legs, too!
All in all, I'm glad that I'll never have to experience being a teenager again. And I'm glad that for those going through adolescence now, Seventeen is still around to help them through it.