How has Seventeen, that giant in the world of teen rags, changed over the last forty years?
Mostly by becoming younger and smaller. How old is that cover-model? 40? A special supplement for newlyweds? And it is huge! September-issue Vogue huge! Look how it compares to the issue currently on the news stands:
Let’s go to the headlines:
“Learn A Lot” sounds kind of complicated, but really it is quite simple if you keep one rule in mind: dress like a demented Raggedy Ann doll at all times:
Alternatively, mix-n-match huge plaid pieces with all of your friends:
I’d be careful in wearing those huge collars on a windy day- you might float away like some sort of secular, clown-clad Sister Bertrille.
Things look better in the Hair Department:
Let’s all go get Vidal Sassoon’d!
The title is misleading. In summary: that girl in your class that everyone says is having an abortion might just be visiting her aunt in Connecticut! Everyone is so mean to Liz Taylor and Jackie O! Did you know that gossip dates back to Shakespeare’s time?
I also kind of resent my good name being used in the hypothetical example:
“If Molly feeds you tidbits about close friends, you can be fairly sure she’s telling them juicy items about you.“
Why, I never! I only feed people juicy pineapple tidbits encased in gelatin!
We are also reminded that the article’s authors, Dr. Sugarman and Ms. Hochstein, are the authors behind something called “The SEVENTEEN Guide to You and Other People”, which sounds like something that teenaged body-snatchers might carry around in an attempt to blend in.
I only include this article at all because of the truly nightmare-inducing illustration that accompanies it:
Gah! These sculptures were actually commissioned, photographed and are probably to this day lurking in the bottom drawer of a file cabinet in the Hearst Corporation’s headquarters!
Sewing is for squares! Just iron decals onto everything!
Studio couches and faux-Audubon lithographs!
Not busy enough?
This is what I imagine the protagonist of Go Ask Alice‘s bed room looked like. If I had to live there, I would totally run away and become a heroin addict.
I was pretty much done with Seventeen by the end of my freshman year of high school, but 40 years ago the magazine was definitely targeting a collegian-and-newlywed demographic. The advertising is chock full of trousseaus, silver patterns, china patterns and engagement rings.
This issue also includes a pull-out cook booklet published by the Rice Council of America entitled “Man-Pleasing Recipes”. Being 1973, most of the recipes are touted as “economical” and “meat-stretching” as well as “guaranteed man-pleasin'”.
But where will I turn when I want to decorate my brand new split-level in High Seventies Harvest Gold-and-Avocado Green Style? Luckily, Seventeen‘s got me covered:
Why use your cupboards when you can just dangle sharp objects all over the walls?
I bet some Beef-a-Roni is cookin’ up in that electric skillet!
And finally, how about a bed room that is impractical and looks like a space station?
That TV set is perfect for watching Space: 1999.
In addition to the Reader’s Letters (which are surprisingly dull) this issue contains a reader-contributed section called Free For All, which is an adequate description of its content. The submissions include:
a (possibly drug-induced) short story about a baby hippopotamus who escapes from the zoo and wears a band uniform and goes to a health-food store and trades a soggy sneaker for twenty-seven pounds of seaweed.
A personal essay about working with an experimental school program for Troubled Teens
A review of an academic volume called Comics: Anatomy of a Mass Medium (“Are sob sisters like Brenda Starr and Mary Worth liberated?”)
A list of the newest slang from New York City (Bad means Good? What is this world coming to!)
And finally, a poem:
The cold camps in the city and
settles in for a season’s stay.
Prepared to overcome us all with
weapons of sleet and snow.
I defend my body as I huddle in
the fortress of my cap and coat
Wondering if my memories of barefoot
on sun-kissed beaches are
to keep me through the siege…
Enough! Let’s go to the Ads:
What every well-dressed Stepford Wife will be wearing this spring:
The night a Temptation filled in for an Osmond:
It’s not a beanbag, it’s a LEISURE CHAIR!
No matter how many showers I take after vacuuming or studying I can’t wash the shame away:
Nothing says “Seventies Hippie Shampoo” like a contour line drawing!
Cybill Shepherd urges you to wear 50 pounds of blue eyeshadow:
And finally, there is this great interactive ad from the good people at Art Carved, who are totally willing to help you nudge your steady into popping the question! Just take this simple test and they’ll tell you which of their engagement rings is right for you! As a bonus they will also send your boyfriend “10 Helpful Hints on what he should know about the romantic girl”. I imagine that this was probably the source of all sorts of awkwardness involving the overly-eager and/or malicious pranking on the part of your high-school enemies (click to enlarge):
Well, at least 1973-teen wasn’t going to make her boyfriend give up skydiving.