What are young teenage girls are reading?

Deirdre McCarthy takes a look at publications aimed at the teenage female market. Are these magazines a form of exploitation or education? 

The content and in particular, the apparent explicit sexual nature of some of the articles has raised the question whether girls as young as eleven or twelve should be reading them.

Marian Elders, Lecturer in Social Studies at UCC, argues that teenage magazines do not reflect the actual reality of the lives of teenage girls. 

14 year old Catherine Dineen and 12 year old Saoirse Moore say they read the magazines for the 'Problem Pages' and Horoscopes. 

Concerned parents Judith Meade and Ben Barrett feel that many teenagers are growing up too fast and that these magazines depict a false sense of reality.

Publishers, on the other hand, say that the success of their magazines depends on finding editorial content that their readers find entertaining, informative and useful. 

Magazines targeted at teenagers have a vital role in telling their readers what they want to know.

Marian Elders comments

The underlying message is still socialising girls into specific gender roles.

Reporter Deirdre McCarthy speaks to some of the readers of these magazines to get their views on the magazine content, from body image and sex to fashion and make-up tips.

Parent Sally Whelan says the problem is that the magazines are not age specific so it is more difficult for parents to manage what their children are reading.

This 'Nationwide' report was broadcast on 19 February 1996.