Ruby's Corner Teen Beat Ruby Karp

I like reading magazines almost as much as I like reading Tumblr. Have you seen itsapuglife.tumblr.com? It’s awesome. It’s devoted to pugs. But wait, I was going to talk about magazines.

I’m getting frustrated with magazines that are supposed to be for teenage girls. Like, seriously. Why do you think I want to read CRAP? Why do you think I want to read LIES? Why doesn’t it occur to you that really, I would love to read an interview where Kathleen Hanna is talking to Taylor Swift about how to write a punk rock song, or Abby Elliot interviewing Miranda Cosgrove about comedic timing? You know, interesting combinations of cool girls of different generations talking about whatever their craft is. I’m so sick of seeing these covers with collages of all the cool teen stars – it’s the same photos I’ve seen over and over and over again. I’m so sick of reading magazines where it’s assumed I’m not intelligent and don’t want to be challenged in any way.

I mean, God forbid a teen magazine – and let’s face it, they’re targeted at girls – mention the word FEMINISM. Or talk about how girls and boys are of equal value. Or address issues of body image. Or anything real in a girl’s life that she could use wisdom on. I mean, thank goodness for moms and also, the Internet.

Still, here are some magazines that get it right:

MAD MAGAZINEMAD MAGAZINE makes fun of our society. They are probably one of the funniest magazines out there. If they’re going to tell me about Ashley Tisdale eating celery, they’re going to have fun with it. And that’s a whole lot better than making it a NEWS FLASH.

SEVENTEEN and TEEN VOGUE, sometimes Both have a lot of fashion for teen girls. Which I almost am. I mean, I’m a ‘tween. So ALMOST. But anyway, they have fashion and I like to look cute and I like that these two teen magazines are focused on clothing rather than gossip, gossip, gossip. Like it or not, fashion is a part of a girls life. 

NEW YORKER Real life stories written by JOURNALISTS. Like, writers who have FACTS in their stories. I know, what a concept, right? Yes, it’s a lot of words with very few pictures, but I like that. I love that David Sedaris. He’s so silly. So yeah, they  have funny magazines articles, yet they have a reality check in them.

So if you’re going to start a magazine for teens, here are some tips:

1. I DON’T NEED TO KNOW WHAT SELENA ATE ON TUESDAY.  Teens don’t care about celebrities eating habits; we care about their health. And also, stop picking on the girls who aren’t stick thin. Seriously, that’s not cool.

2.  STOP WITH THE FAKE STORIES. I can’t stand the magazines where you can tell everything is fake. Stories that make it seem like Selena is mad at Justin, supported by a photo with her pouting? That’s misleading. Stop cobbling stories that use quotes from other articles. Just write something real. Something I can believe in.

3. YOU TALKIN’ TO ME? THEN START TALKING TO ME FOR REAL. Teen magazines talk to us like we are in pre-school. Like, really? If I want to feel like I’m 5 again, I will pull out my Fancy Nancy books. So don’t talk down to me; I can see right through that.

4.  GET YOUR HEAD IN THE GAME Give us some crossword puzzle. Give us some quizzes with substance. Give us some quizzes that are funny. In other words, challenge us, make us laugh, give us a quiz that’s fun.

5. MAKE IT WORTH MY 5 BUCKS. These days, if I want to connect with the girl universe, I can go to my computer and pull up HelloGiggles. Or my favorite Tumblrs. Or if I want to see a photo of Justin Bieber, I can go to People.com or something. So If I’m going to spend money on your magazine, give me something I can’t find anywhere else. Give me an experience that brings me back for me.

If you could create your dream magazine, what would it be? LMK!

And please read/follow my blog, tweet at me @rubykarp or do the “like” thing with my Facebook page. See you next week!

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  1. If you like reading non-fiction, about what goes on dayanows I recommend these two 1) “Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader”written by Bradley K. Martin2) “Rogue Regime”written by Jasper BeckerThese two well-written books give an insight about the North Korean Government.Fiction?Try all the books written by Clive Cussler (mystery/adventure/drama type). I would suggest you start the books from the first; some of the story lines tend to follow into subsequent novels. The hero is Dirk Pitt, with his sidekick Al Giordino. These fiction books by Clive Cussler are well-written. Was this answer helpful?

    Anonymous | 3/20/2012 11:03 am
  2. I would sign up in a second if HG put out a magazine! *nudge nudge* ;) Great article Ruby!

  3. I was just thinking about that the other day! Mind you, I’m no longer a teenager, but a young adult (22). Still, I’ve been wanting to read a magazine that had actual substance, while still being entertaining. Many of the magazines marketed toward my age group – like Cosmo or Elle – don’t really appeal to me. And I can’t look at the magazines in the teen section – they all look like they’re marketed towards celebrity-crazed five-year-olds, with all the bright colors and more pictures than words. Though I kind of miss YM, which was my favorite magazine growing up – they had some decent stories. How awesome would it be if HelloGiggles were to put out a magazine?

  4. I wish reading only adult magazines was an option. It is for lots of kids.

  5. Oh man, you are SO ahead of your time Ruby! I wish I’d known who Kathleen Hanna was a year or two (or five) earlier than I did!

    You should start a zine! You can make sure it’s a zine you and all your amazinggoddessyoungwomen would love to read!
    Here’s a site you could check out:

    http://grrrlzines.net/about.htm

  6. Ruby, they speak in that language because unfortunately, our dumbed down education system combined with a lack of parental involvement (not to mention the preference to play with things that require electricity rather than read a book) ensure that tweens are reading at levels lower than any other time in history. You are the exception, not the rule. Go read tweets from young people. Reading tweets and status updates on FB from teens and even younger 20-somethings makes me weep for our nation’s future because we’re raising a generation of functional illiterates.

    Until your peers start showing the (very rare) maturity you’re showing, you’ll do better to stick to blogs.

    • Laura I agree with yu that adults need to pay attention to us more, the ones we live with and the nes we g to school with and the o nes selling us things. I know I am lucky that I have a mom that supports me, and that my mom has friends that have helped me my whole life but I also have a teacher who calls me “a dumb blonde”. But I also think that kids are smarter than adults think we are. I think that’s why so many of us have started tumblrs and why we all follow each other, because we like silly things like llamas and farts but we also want to hear the truth, which sometimes hurts and sometimes doesn’t. But I still like holding a magazine and I wish that magazines made for us could either be made by us or at least include what we really wAnt to rad about.

  7. You are the coolest tween ever.

  8. Great article! I hope my little girls grow up to feel the same way!