Well, dang, Seventeen magazine has changed!
We recently stumbled upon this very eye-opening comparison between the cover of the popular teen magazine from 1973 and an editorial from 2010, which highlights how drastically the periodical has shifted its focus in the past four decades.
The 1973 issue features an image of a young Navajo girl, as well as a report inside on Navajo youth, which is incredibly refreshing to see and the reasons are twofold: 1) the photo is not airbrushed or otherwise glammed up to be artificially "sexy," 2) it prominently features an indigenous woman of color instead of the usual "all-American" blonde model.
It's pretty mind-blowing coming from a teen magazine!
Meanwhile, the more contemporary editorial from 2010 features "Navajo-inspired" pieces of clothing and accessories worn by a white model. Not only are the clothes culturally appropriative, but a lot of the items are not even actually Navajo. For example, dreamcatchers originated with the Ojibwe and later spread to other Native American tribes.
It's a mess, basically, and only more troubling when compared to how progressive the magazine was in the past.
Older covers generally tended to be more inclusive, less retouched or not retouched at all, and less commercial. Even the stories within had more substance than they do now.
The issue from 1973 even includes prize-winning fiction, art, and photography, whereas now the mag's pages are filled to the brim with a plethora of beauty and fashion articles.
Now, we don't want to imply that all past issues of the magazine were flawless and all newer issues are terrible, but it's interesting to note how homogenized current issues have become.
We even did a little digging ourselves to illustrate these examples. Go ahead and take a look at a comparison (below) between an issue from 1985 featuring gymnast Mary Lou Retton looking perfectly normal and an issue from 2013 featuring Ashley Benson in a highly stylized pose with perfect hair and makeup.
The 2013 cover is also much more colorful, to the point of distraction, with far too many headlines that make it look cluttered.
Another comparison (below) further shows how Seventeen has moved from focusing on regular people, like 18-year-old dancer Pamela Jones from the Dance Theatre of Harlem, to exclusively showcasing celebrities like Rihanna, who is of course airbrushed to otherworldly perfection.
Man, now we're getting nostalgic for some of these older issues, especially ones that include stories on Martin Luther King's daughter and how to bake your own bread, as opposed to more pieces on hairstyles and the "perfect jeans."
Times naturally change and a magazine should reflect that, but it seems like lately magazines targeted to women and girls have become more and more superficial, especially with regards to all the overzealous Photoshopping.
We think we need a revolution.
Check the gallery (above) for more vintage covers!
[Image via Seventeen & Shamless Magazine]
Tags: cover shot, fashion smashion, nostalgia, sad sad, seventeen magazine, spread 'em