The Seventeen Magazine Project

 

This one came to my attention via daily e-newsletter I Heart Daily, as well as Girl with a Satchel, and I thought it was such a novel idea that I just had to check it out.

The premise of the blog is to track Pennsylvania teen Jamie Keiles’ “final month of high school, my prom and my graduation,” while hopefully prompting her readers to think “critically about beauty, media and the role they play in our society… If I can foster a discussion that broadens someone’s view even slightly I’d be satisfied.”

Those are some big ambitions for someone so young, and I have to applaud Keiles for coming up with this social experiment, much less expanding it to a global audience.

The actual blog is updated daily, with posts ranging from prom preparations, manicure advice and trying the “tribal trend” to original pieces on depictions of race in Seventeen, for which Keiles actually crafted her own statistics and pie charts, and relations between adults and teens.

My favourite post is “The Opposite of Tanning”, in which Keiles takes Seventeen’s advice on which is the right swimsuit for you (“I took bathing suit inspiration from a photo of Annalynne McCord… Like her, I wore a ruffled top and frilly bottom. Unlike her, I refused to pose for a photo like I was in the midst of a spontaneous frolic”), reading The Purity Myth by Jessica Valenti, and ignoring Seventeen’s call to “take some beach time to flirt with boys on adjacent blankets, but the beach I go to is mostly middle aged Jewish men”.

Keiles comes across as witty, snarky and savvy. How many 18-year-olds do you know who read “feminist prose” (á la Kat in 10 Things I Hate About You) and attend Conan O’Brien gigs (“The opportunity to see this show came to me at the last minute, and I wasn’t going to turn it down just because no one wanted to go with me. Not sure if this makes me lame or awesome, but I’m excited either way”)? I know I certainly didn’t do those things at that age.

I bet many Seventeen readers don’t either.

Related: Is There Really a Beauty Myth?

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