Teen lives by Seventeen mag, chronicles experience on blog


18-year old Jaime Keiles from Pennsylvania isn't really the girly magazine type of girl, but she's been spending the last month of her high school career living "according to the gospel of Seventeen Magazine." The result is a funny, witty observance of the discrepancy between what's being marketed as teen culture and what actually is — at least in her life. For example:

...today I woke up in the morning and got dressed for school. I took fashion advice from the page of "French Nautical" looks, and hair advice from Elisabeth, 17, in Maine, who suggested I wear a high bun because it was, "quick yet elegant and perfect for my low maintenance beauty routine." Then I went to school. Then I came home. Then I had 10 hours of time to fill between arriving at my house and writing this post.

Looking inside the magazine for suggestions of activities to partake in proved to be of little help. The vast majority of the activities offered were some variation on flirting. There were also tips for starting my own business, but I was not looking to pursue an endeavor of such grandiose proportions on a standard Tuesday evening. An article enticingly titled "High Times" actually made efforts to steer me away from smoking pot to fill my time, but failed to offer me even one other comparable recreational activity that I could participate in without the presence of boys, my friends, or some sort of substantial financial backing.

The Seventeen Magazine Project


  1. No offense to the great writers of bOINGbOING, but her blog is the best thing I’ve read on the internet in a year.

  2. Being a 17 year old (guy), I can attest to the great lengths people go to for a simple senior prom. The slutting up of high school girls is a little ridiculous (not that I mind, I am not gay). I also have a 50-some Trig teacher who tells girls that he likes the lace collar on their (low-cut) shirts. He chaperones and does not seem to mind either.

    Although I can 1-up the senior prom. I go to a very small rural school district, 2 towns, 200 in the high school. We have the junior high in the same building as us. When they do their “8th Grade recognition”, it’s basically like a junior prom, complete with $200 prom dresses, but with even more high-school drama, as they think it’s cool to have it.

  3. She can construct a proper sentence and set the theme for a paragraph. I say she should jump over the young adult daycare centers known as undergrad and go directly to graduate school; preferably with a fully paid scholarship.

  4. Quite a while back, National Lampoon ran a parody of Seventeen. One of the stories on the cover was “$2000 Worth of Products Just for Washing Your Face.”

  5. This young woman is an inspiration. Good on you Jaime!

    The obsession with Prom is scary. I graduated in the late 90’s and dropped about 200 bucks on everything (a car, clothes, flowers) so a friend and I could go and have a fine time. Even then I thought that was excessive.

    One of my cousins just had her prom and the whole bill came in at nearly two grand. I imagine when she gets married she’ll just have to hawk a kidney.

  6. “To go with my “Bright Prints” look, I also got my nails done to follow the “Bright Colors” trend that Danielle, age 15, from Minneapolis speaks so highly of. She writes, “Whenever I’m feeling down, I can just look at my nails and feel peppy!” This is bleak. I wish Seventeen would suggest a hobby for Danielle so she didn’t have to look to idle nail-gazing as her only source of joy.”

    This may not be the best brain food blog, but I’m loving the snarky bits she throws in.

  7. About time these awful, awful teen magazines were taken apart by the demographic at which they’re aimed. This blog is witty, clever and vicious – exactly what “Seventeen” needs.

    Magazines the world over are going out of business through lack of sales. Gee – I wonder why?

  8. Someone should do the grown-up version and live by the gospel of Vogue.
    Which is no less silly.
    “Today I bought a La Perla Bra to stare wistfully into the black and white ocean of the fotoshoot, with my silk scarf billowing in the breeze. Afterwards I imagined eating the cake in the pictures of my new coffee table book which cost more than three coffee tables. I read about exhibitions in places I might never get to and gazed at shoes, wondering if Vogue is actually more of a catalogue and where the difference between ads and articles lies.”

  9. This is great!

    My favorite part is how she reminds her readers that this is not definitive analysis, but a thoughtful exploration of the experience. I don’t see that distinction made very often.

    Also, she can compose coherent thoughts better than just about anyone I know. Better than I can, certainly.

  10. Living according to any media source, no matter how banal or insightful, is a bad idea. There was the time I tried to live by the gospel of BoingBoing, but then I walked past a fruit stand and spent the rest of my day just looking at awesome bananas. Just looking at them.

  11. Hilarious! “I haven’t paid much mind to this rule [about hanging up pictures of ‘hot guys’] on the blog, but I assure you that for the past few weeks I have been living among strangers– strangers with follicles that swoop, abs that ripple, and eyes like deep pools of money.”

  12. Awesome blog, though I always assumed Seventeen and its ilk was aimed at younger girls – young teens and preteens, the ones who WANT to be 17. By the time they’ve hit that age, I expected people to have moved on to weightier stuff. Maybe there IS no weightier stuff on the market for women?

    The saddest part of this is that some commenters seem surprised a 17 year old can form coherent thoughts, or have a brain and a wittily expressed opinion.

    Do opinions and brains normally only come in at 18 in some places, or something?

    Even the magazine staff seem to make that mistake, though, and they really ought to know better.

    Thankfully, not one person’s said “at 17 she’s surely not old enough to know her sexuality.” Good on you all :)

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