There is nothing stranger and less out-of-touch than magazine dating advice. It’s been this way for as long as I can remember. I can remember being 15 and reading a Seventeen Magazine article about what boys like and how to get them to notice you.
I was confused and a little bit angry.
How could they possibly know what the guy I liked was interested in? Why did they always want me to accidentally run into him in the hallway? Why did I have to prove I was cool and not all about drama like the other girls?
I never understood the section where guys gave their advice or talked about what they were looking for in girls. Why should I care? This was just Justin, 16, New Jersey’s opinion. Who cares if he likes girls who can watch football? Why do I need to impress him?
Today, the articles are a little bit different. They encourage girls to be themselves and to not sacrifice who they are for a boy.
However, these articles still aren’t great. They’re still over-generalized, occasionally sexist and a little bit ridiculous.
Seventeen still continues to be a big resource for young teenagers when it comes to dating advice. In a recent article called “How To Play It Cool In Front Of Your Crush,” Amber Madison answered some questions girls had about dating and boys.
Madison told girls to be themselves, which is a positive thing. However, it seemed like she was saying that girls should be confident because boys like it. I don’t know if that’s what she intended, but it still sends the message that girls are supposed to do everything for male approval.
In a more extreme example, Elite Daily recently published an article called “7 Reasons Why You Should Date Someone Who’s Just A Little Bit ‘Crazy.'”
This article is as ridiculous as it sounds. Apparently, women should seek out men who are mentally unstable because it’s fun and exciting. Yes, because mental illness and lack of support, stability and love are just so much fun.
If you look on Cosmopolitan’s website, you’ll find hundreds of articles about what men are looking for and how to be better in bed. I will say that Cosmo has changed a lot of their content and has been featuring more empowering and diverse articles online. But the headlines featured on the cover each month don’t seem to reflect those changes.
It’s not a bad thing to care what a guy thinks about you or to think of ways to get his attention. It becomes a bad thing when we teach young girls that a guy’s approval is the only thing they should care about. I recognized how silly, superficial and useless most of these articles were a long time ago, but many women and young girls haven’t.
I think a lot of magazines continue to publish these types of articles because they know they’ll get attention. There are always going to be women looking for love advice and magazines know that they can profit from that. Magazines need to start questioning these articles and making sure that they are sending healthy messages to impressional girls.