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October 1, 2011

Weekend Reviews: Most teen mags nothing but rags

Daily Star

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I have always been a fan of magazines. When I was younger, not even quite a "tween" as most call it today, I would steal my older sister's magazines out of the mail and read them cover to cover, examining every detail.

Among the magazines I hoarded from my sister on a monthly basis included Seventeen and CosmoGirl!.

I found everything in these publications so fascinating, from the articles on how to dress for your shape, the completely accurate quizzes that tell you things like "What kind of friend are you?," the section where girls write in their most embarrassing moments, and even the articles that I didn't really understand yet.

Sometimes, say if I were really bored or desperate, I would pick up one of the trashier magazines, such as J-14 or Tiger Beat. OK, I would read these because, like any other girl my age, I admired the celebrities that the staff shamelessly plastered all over the pages of these fine reads.

Looking back now, I often wonder not only why I found the magazines so irresistible, but why they're published in the first place. Until recently, when my mom finally made me clean out my bedroom before the new school year, sometimes I'd still find old BOP magazines wedged in between old books and school projects in my closet.

Honestly, to me, these superficial publications seem like a giant waste of money. The actual content on the page is either poorly written, all pictures, completely false, or most of the time, all three.

While I understand that these magazines simply serve as entertainment for young girls, I wonder why this is an acceptable form of entertainment for girls.

Yes, I did read these magazines on occasion when I could beg a "yes" from my mother, whose patience at times still astounds me, but for the most part, I stayed away from obsessing over boy bands and tween actors.

And when you really look at magazines such as Seventeen, which is known primarily for its fashion and beauty tips, as well as advice columns on how to get guys to like you, it's no wonder why girls become obsessed with superficial qualities.

This is why when I happened upon a little-known indie magazine called NYLON at my local supermarket newsstand, I was instantly enthralled. NYLON, its name coming from the abbreviations for New York and London, two cities synonymous for their overall cultural identities, is a super-magazine.

It is true that NYLON is primarily a fashion magazine, but what is so unique about it is that it shows you up-and-coming designers and brands, as well as different ways of wearing something you already have.

Among my favorite columns in NYLON is one called "Factory Girl" where the columnist, Dani Stahl, writes about different clothing articles and is fortunate enough to take tours of different facilities that specialize in that product. Some examples include the Levi's jeans factory, Reebok sneaker factory, and the most recent tour of Coach Leather, where she was able to design and make her very own Coach bag.

Every article in NYLON is impeccably written, whether it be a review of a new store in Brooklyn or an interview with the newest covergirl.

But another reason that I am such a big fan of NYLON is its utter originality in every aspect. Its layouts and page designs are attention-grabbing and whimsical, bold but not distracting. Not only are there pages upon pages of fashion, but there are whole sections devoted to indie music and movies, as well as lifestyle and culture pieces.

I really appreciate and respect NYLON because there, the people understand that just because we're teenage girls does not mean that boys and lip gloss are not all we care about. I even have a letter written to NYLON that they published to prove it.

So next time you're bored or simply looking for something to read, pick up NYLON. You definitely will not regret it.

Maggie McVey is a senior at Oneonta High School. 'Teen Talk' columns can be found at teentalk.