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Do you remember when, aged 11, the ultimate in rebellion was to buy Just 17? And a few years later, to progress to 19 safe in the knowledge that you wouldn’t be that old for ages and ages. That was me at least, but with this “rebellion” comes problems. I got hooked on an American magazine called Seventeen, and realised when I turned 18 that I’d have to give it up, but boy, did I not want to. Now I’m 19 and occasionally, I’ll still buy 19. I’m allowed, you see, for another 4 months or so, but after that, well, it’ll be sad. Pathetic. Mad. Who after all wants to read about what, ahem, little kids are up to?
I have in front of me the May issue of the magazine. The cover is a psychedelic mix of orange and pink, with a rather tubby looking Gwen Stefani pouting out at us. I bought it not because of this, but because of the “Fake sperm, willies and boobs! We train with the new 18-30 reps” declaration in the top right hand corner. As some of you may know, I’ll be repping his summer (for the same company although not, I hasten to add, with the Club 18-30 aspect of it) and I figured it’d be a bit of a laugh to see what that lot were like. At £2.30 the magazine’s not even all that expensive, and assuming I get my usual number of reads for this op, I’ll be well on my way to paying for it.
Inside, it soon becomes apparent that this a pretty much typical teen mag. There are star interviews (if you can call Brookside actors “stars”), gossip columns, investigations into topical areas, book, film and video reviews, sex tips, fashion updates, hair and make up ideas and so on. Here’s what I learnt when I read it from cover to cover:
Britney Spears’ credit card was declined on a shopping trip to NYC recently.
All men like kebabs, alphabetically arranged CDs, beer mat collections and computer games, and there’s not much us lasses can do about it
How to look good in bed, and what dictates whether you should be on top or not (and believe it or not, this is all to do with the state of your belly and boobs, and not at all dependant on what you, y’know, like)
How to wear leopard print without looking tarty
Useful stats like 25% of men have had cyber sex (new Internet Forum category, anyone?)
So useful info then.
‘’‘’ The Good Bits ‘’‘’
“Oh the shame” is their embarrassing moments section, and the things some people confess to having done are hysterical at times. The star sign section is usually good read especially if you can get hold of the last month’s issue, because their horoscopes are always 100% entirely wrong. They have good, clear health tips and followable advice. The job advertisements at the back are a great starting point for jobs abroad in areas such as au pairing and repping. The language used is clear and generally concise, but at the same time very rarely condescending.
‘’‘’ The Bad Bits ‘’‘’
Their letters page seems to be devoted to worshipping them – either by really sad readers, or cunning ones intent on getting their hands on the star prizes (mobile phones, cosmetics and cash). There are far too many adverts for my liking – you have to wade through 7 or 8 pages of them before you find anything worth reading. Only about 8 of their “156 new hairstyles” are remotely wearable, and maybe it’s just me, but I didn’t think girls wanted to spend their time looking at pictures of other girls with scary hair. The cover’s printed on shiny paper, and if you’re not careful, you can get it covered in fingerprints and all scruffy looking (the neat-freak in me rears its ugly head – what? I just like clean neat things, ok?)
‘’‘’ The Freebie Potential ‘’‘’
19’s generally not that bad in terms of free gifts. Over the years I’ve had make up, cosmetics and hand bags, books and so on. Nothing particularly spectacular, but hey they’re free.
‘’‘’ The Verdict ‘’‘’
19 is probably aimed at 14+ year olds – if it were truly aimed at my age group, I’d be quite worried right about now – and seems harmless enough. The odd bits of advice they do give are worth following, and nothing seems to promote underage sex or eating disorders – the two things teen mags are always being blamed for. At £2.30 / month it’s affordable with pocket money, and you get articles to read and pictures to look at. You could do a lot worse.
As for the reps? Well let’s just say I hope they’ve cleaned up the hotel and give the staff counselling by the time I arrive there for my training course next month…..