By Patricia Mcentee
A growing coalition of parent and media groups are speaking out against sleaze in Seventeen magazine.
Threesomes, drugs, nudity, and violence – Spring Breakers, a new movie starring former Disney tween-idols Vanessa Hudgens and Selena Gomez – earned a hard R rating for such content, but that hasn’t stopped Seventeen magazine from promoting the film to their readers who start as young as twelve.
Think for a moment about who reads Seventeen magazine: Eighteen-year-old girls don’t aspire to be seventeen-year-old girls. Instead, it is young girls, primarily those in the 12-17 age range, who are the primary target audience for Seventeen. And the magazine editors believe that a steamy sexual threesome – including actors beloved and admired by young girls through their Disney Channel programs – is appropriate content to inspire the behavior of our daughters and granddaughters.
To anyone who is paying attention, it should come as no surprise that we’re living in a time of hyper-sexualized media — much of it directed squarely at our children. But even the savviest parent might well be shocked at the influence of the porn culture creeping into mainstream entertainment, and being marketed directly to pre-pubescent girls. Spring Breakers is being hyped for a sex scene between Ashley Benson, Vanessa Hudgens, and actor James Franco.
Many parents have felt for some time that Seventeen misses the opportunity issue after issue to promote healthy choices and lifestyles for young girls. Sex is assumed, abstinence is non-existent, and a pop culture image is projected regularly.
In checking the magazine’s website and searching for articles about sex or about abstinence, this writer came up 288 in the past year about sex, and only 6 that even contained the word abstinence! And a search for the ‘marriage’ found far more mentions of ‘gay marriage’ than traditional Judeo-Christian marriage!
A recent survey commissioned for UK-based parenting site Netmums.com found that nearly 70% of parents believe childhood innocence now ends at the age of 12 because of a “toxic combination” of media and cultural influences. Two in five thought magazines aimed at tweens but containing sexual content suitable for older teenagers forced their kids to grow up faster. Sad to say, Seventeen magazine is now squarely in the camp of innocence-eroding toxic influences that are robbing our children of their childhood.