|Title of host publication||Women's Periodicals and Print Culture in Britain, 1940s-2000s|
|Subtitle of host publication||The Postwar and Contemporary Period|
|Place of Publication||Edinburgh|
|Publisher||Edinburgh University Press|
|Publication status||Published - Oct 2020|
Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceeding › Chapter › peer-review
As Angela McRobbie remarks in her pioneering work on youth cultures, Just Seventeen’s signal abandonment of ‘silly’ photostories represented its rejection of the ‘romantic individualism’ promoted by earlier magazines like Jackie (1964-1993) and instead set the tone for a fresh generation of ‘sassy’ girls’ magazines, including Mizz (1985-2012) and More! (1988-2013), that responded directly to ‘a new climate of confidence and self-esteem among their potential readers’ (164). In the only academic article to explore the rich contribution made by Just Seventeen to the media landscape of the 1980s, Janice Winship usefully identifies the magazine’s indebtedness to ‘the women’s movement and organised feminism’, while also acknowledging the writers’ studious avoidance of ‘the label of feminism’ (42, 37). Winship thus discerns in Just Seventeen a feminism ‘that dare not speak its name’, presciently evoking the ur-critique of postfeminist culture that would later emerge in the 1990s.
In this chapter I undertake a detailed analysis of how feminism is fashioned and refashioned between the covers of Just Seventeen and its market competitors. Focusing on issues from the first ten years of production (1983-1993), I examine Just Seventeen’s depictions of feminist ideas and actions – from its coverage of the Greenham Common campaign to the ‘safe sex’ messages carried in the advice pages – in order to illuminate the magazine’s complex and dynamic engagement with the changing politics of the 1980s and 90s. In doing so, I argue that the style and content of girls’ magazines in this period are not only shaped – as Winship argues – by the debates and discourses associated with the ‘women’s movement’, but also, more explicitly, by the tone and texture of feminist periodicals, including Spare Rib (1972-1993), which developed distinctive strategies for mediating ‘new politics through familiar forms’ (Fell 2).