Confession time: I was a regular reader of Seventeen, the virtual Gray Lady of teen rags. I also had a subscription to YM, for the sole reason that it included two personality quizzes per month to find out if Billy was going to ask me out (spoilers: he wasn’t).
I did not regularly read Sassy as a teenager. I found their editorial choices, such as having staff writers sign the articles with only their first names, unbearable. And overall, the pose of ironic detachment that the 30something editor goes for (“Things that are popular, aren’t they totally the worst?”) is frankly a little creepy. It does lead to some interesting juxtapositions in content: Jane Pratt and her reader-followers never miss on a opportunity to snipe about “Beverly Hills 90210”, for example; but they also carry the same full-page shampoo advertisement featuring the cast of 90210 that every other teen magazine did. Revisiting Sassy as an adult results in my coming to the same conclusion that I did as teenager: like, they are trying so hard to act like they’re cool but you know what they’re not!
Let’s go to the headlines:
Who? He is the star of “Class of ‘96” one of the teen-oriented nighttime soaps that glutted the airwaves during the summer in the wake of “Beverly Hills 90210”, which then disappeared before Labor Day. Maybe you remember “The Heights” (“90210 with a band!”), “The Round Table” (“90210 in Washington DC!”), “2000 Malibu Road” (“90210 with Drew Barrymore!”) or “The Hat Squad” (“90210 with hats!”). No? Just me, huh? Well, maybe this will jog your memory:
Or perhaps give you some unwelcome sartorial flashbacks.
The title is a tease, and should really read “DO GIRLS EVEN USE COMPUTERS?”
The article itself is pretty cringe-worthy, as intrepid girl-reporter Margie gets a (male) intern to hook her up to this whole internet thing and then she makes a mess out of it by accidentally posting to a BBS instead of sending an e-mail (“an electronic letter you can send to a bud’s computer as far away as the other side of the world”) to somebody and all of the hackers are totally mean about it!
“SASSY, the essential thing you haven’t clued to yet is that in here, we’re not boys and girls, we’re beings. Any damn thing you want to be, you can be. If you’re the girl who was always smarter than any of the guys, and they knew it, in thyberspace [random spelling is big here] you can become an all-powerful dominatrix with dozens of virtual slaves. I know one girl who can blue box [break into phone systems] with the best of them, and she would probably be more interested in the passkey number to your magazine’s PBX [private branch exchange- accessing it would let her make illegal phone calls on us] than anything that’ll ever appear between the Clearasil and Jovan ads.” Not sisterly!
Margie comes to the conclusion that the internet consists of one thousand 15 year old boys who are just going to try and lure you into their Multi-User Dungeons with lines like “I heard you spread like peanut butter”. Girls can pretty much just ignore this whole internet fad, it will probably blow over in a couple of months.
Also, alternative names for The Internet that did not catch on: Computerland, Cyberworld, The Technosphere.
Dear Mary Kaye and Margie: I loved your article “Embracing the Trekkie Within” [February], but I have a few things to say. For starters, Commander Riker is not a putz. He may not be perfect, but are you? Am I? I think not. He takes good care of his captain and crew. Secondly, since when did it take a convention to bring you out of your shells? How totally un-sassy of you to have to hear others say they like Star Trek before you would. Tsk, tsk. P.S.: “Trekkie” is not an insult. If you find it insulting, call whoever called you that a “90210-ie”.
Dear Margie and MK: I have one question: WHERE THE HELL DO YOU GET OFF CALLING COMMANDER RIKER A PUTZ?!! HE’S A SENIOR OFFICER, FOR GOD’S SAKE! You lowly subhuman slime!
Wow. That is way harsh, Tai.
“What are we thinking about bell-bottoms right now?”
Also, plaid flannel everywhere. Including bathing suits:
Rising star alert!
He is exactly like Luke Perry, what with his potbellied pig named Jerry Lee Lewis and marrying a girl who sent him a box full of underwear. Only Latin.
And of course…
I missed out. We should have totally gone to meet shirtless vest-wearing Joey Lawrence at Target.
Remember when saving the world was so much easier? All you had to do was buy some Benetton products! Or even really just look at their ads. I’m feeling more righteously harmonious already.
Sun-In: still around, ruining a new generation of hair.
Troll dolls. I guess they were a thing.
And finally I’d just like to say:
“Don’t worry, 1993-Molly. This stupid decade won’t last forever. It only feels like it will.”