Let’s Read Seventeen, November 1962!

We looked at a Seventeen from the 90s a little while ago, and it was a lot of fun – so let’s take a look at Seventeen from a far less female-empowered, far more pink-tinted and soft-focused world and see how things have changed! One thing that has stayed consistent is the amount of teenage girl fantasy. The only appearance of parents in these pages is a short section of complaining about how they put too much pressure on you. And going from this issue, there WAS a lot of pressure on young girls – to look pretty, to have impeccable manners, to be social and popular, to be a perfect party hostess. Of course there’s there’s the lush escapism of going on a ski vacation with just your friends and throwing a lodge party with no parents in sight, visiting your swell college boyfriend on the weekend at Dartmouth, wearing impeccably cute clothes and tons of makeup, and oh – getting married and having babies! Wait, what?

59687B0A-43AD-446E-AD24-481CB8BC11D0

Simply, darling, you can’t. But you can look incredibly cute on the cover of Seventeen.

I decree that cat is named Lady Baltimore.

Apparently calling someone a “winner” in 1962 teen slang was on the level of calling someone “special”.

“Contacts are the greatest thing since men!”

The two very different responses to Bob Dylan perfectly predict where the country will be within the next five years.

More innocent times and all, I’m sure, but this really does look like the start of the most wholesome porno ever made.

I appreciate the mad-lib quality of the tagline that clearly betrays that the person writing the copy hasn’t seen the movie yet. [Star] as a [profession] who [verbs] you to [places] and does [things]!

Admittedly this is the movie that brought us “Return to Sender”, which is a great song.

Some scoop on Girls! Girls! Girls!, Elvis’s seafaring epic in which he hunts for tuna, forcefully woos some girls that baffle him, but OH DON’T YOU WORRY he’s got it all under control in front of exotic oriental backdrops and cutesy racism. Or so that’s what this article tells me. Poignantly, this movie ends with Elvis eschewing all pleasures and temptations of the flesh to pursue his dangerous obsession with catching the tuna that eludes him. MY ONLY GIRL IS THE SEA, he cries, throwing his guitar overboard, as the women sob from the docks.

More things to be grateful for today – the tapered edge of lipstick, ubiquitous now but new and innovative in 1962.

Some misogynist tripe which comes off as trying to be funny but mostly just comes off as “more things that girls will never be good at”. Well screw you too, Jimmy Wescott. Seventeen just needed to stop with the “boys point of view” section, since still sucked even into the 90s.

Aside from the styling of this ad done up to make the models resemble world-weary business partners of 30 years, Chanel’s advertising is instantly iconic.

…Also his last comedy!

Not exactly, but calling it a “stage hit packed with laughs” is definitely pushing it.

They were really amping up the gore hype here. You’d think this was The Devil’s Rejects or something, unless “Bette Davis in doll makeup twirls around with youngsters on a beach” was really the subconscious nightmare of 1962 America.

And now..

The bitch squad. Louise, Patty , Gail, Paulette. Paulette is actually 36 years old.

Queen Bitch, Valvoline McBride. Her daddy owns every gas station in the county.

Bobbie Brooks, our plucky heroine. Bobbie likes sports, fails adorably at all attempts to be domestic, and daydreams about going to the winter carnival with the cutest boy on the cross-country ski team.

Bobbie’s best friends, Shelly and Suzy. After a lifetime of quiet and loving partnership, married at last in 2004.

The senior girls that the bitch squad is terrified of. Barbara, Valerie, and Jackie. The dog on Valerie’s lap belonged to the last girl who crossed her. She had it stuffed.

Fashion club. Charlene, Claudette, and Chanel. Chanel’s name is actually Lois.

April, May, and June O’Rourke, the sweet-as-pie sisters who pray out loud for everyone’s souls in the cafeteria before lunch.

Francine Taylor, the bad girl with a heart of gold. Brings her probation officer with her to math class. Is dating the one on the right.

34065831_10216365876118854_1111179821263618048_n.jpg

“Girls with genuine intellectual capacities love college”. Wowwww.

Don’t despair if you can’t bear a bleak life as a homemaker! There are career options for you! Like…being a homemaker! You can get a degree in anything you want, as long as it’s Home Economics. And you can be anything you want, as long as you’re…a homemaker.

April Showers is totally my burlesque name.

As much as I love this outfit and I think I had one just like it as a five year old in 1989, I find this ad as unsettling as it is striking.

Also striking and a little unsettling, an uncomfortable mix of innocence in the yellow ribbon and the huge, alarmed eyes, and grown-woman detail about the size and shape of maxi pads.

“I Left My Heart in San Francisco” was the hot new single. That’s a trip. Look at those dreamy Tony Bennett eyes. And Leslie Uggams again – she’s so cute!

Perfectly embodying the innocent ultra feminine ingenue look of 1962.

ELLIE, CAN’T YOU EVER BE PRETTY AND PRACTICAL SIMULTANEOUSLY?

I keep hearing this being performed by drag queens in my imagination.

Time traveling Scarlett Johansson!?

I want this as a poster in my bathroom.

The Teen Talk girl is totally on the phone with the Pink Dove girl in the bathtub.

I was expecting a fluffy What To Do When Visiting Your Future Husband At School piece, and that’s what this is, but it turns out that destiny actually had quite a bit in store for these people. Just a student at the time, Constance Congdon went on to become an award winning playwright with a long-term residency at Amherst College. Bill Wolfe also did very well for himself and now runs a successful charity that raises money for children’s medical care in South America. Wow! Sadly, despite their romantic college weekends together, it appears that for all of their success their love story didn’t pan out.

A fascinating interview with Peter O’Toole on the experience of Lawrence of Arabia. The movie would be released the following month. Evidently during the filming he adopted a Bedouin man and brought him to England to be his pet Arab. So that’s a thing movie stars did in the 60s.

Joe and Jane are both Big Wheels

They’re our best looking couple

They hate each other

They act like friends

Color them in two tones

DUUUUDE

The pattern of my life…?

I don’t get it…I’m only fourteen…?

But-but who’s family am I meeting? Someone has a cute cousin? Do you think he’d want to go see Girls! Girls! Girls! with me and my skating club on Saturday?

I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT A MAXI PAD IS!

If he really loves you, he won’t mind waiting…for you to get out of 6th period to look at rings together.

When picking out your bridal trousseau, make sure it’s one that your future husband can easily bend you over before the cocktail party starts.

Yes, because a top priority of every sixteen year old girl is judging the quality of crystal stemware.

34063834_10216365876038852_6522820493756596224_n.jpg

Silent and beautiful…just like you, sixteen year old child bride!

ARE YOU KIDDING ME??

Some actually decent and level-headed advice about not worrying about living up to your parent’s expectations. I wish I could tell these people about what the end of the 60s will have in store for them, and how in less than ten years not caring about what your parents think has become a historical social movement.

Too young to be engaged?? QUIET, BEFORE THE ADVERTISERS HEAR YOU!

How to take off your gloves like a lady and not a whore, which some of us may find useful.

Think how delightful with a relish-topped hot dog!

Note that she blows right past the part about teenagers getting diet pills from the doctor.

Doesn’t that look…appetizing.

The hostess programming for young girls was everywhere. And of course there’s nothing that indicates manners and etiquette for shaping boys.

Watch your manners, gals (somebody always is!)

Gotta drink that milk to make all those healthy babies, right?

How far did you get through the hair curler tutorial before getting lost?

This reminds me of the cover of a Babysitter’s Club book.

“Kristy and Bart are on thin ice!”

Some takeaways from Debbie Reynolds’ guide to popularity, and associated advertising:

  • Don’t be a tramp. Debbie knows a thing or two about tramps.
  • Pay attention to what your crush likes, such as sports and cars, and make sure to only talk about that. You don’t want to be boring!
  • At the same time, make a point to expand your worldview with art and literature and visit museums and maybe even learn to play an instrument so that you have a lot of interesting experiences – but, don’t talk about them with your date because he won’t care?
  • Her story about the finger bowls is something that I will be recounting verbatim at parties for probably the rest of my life, in my best Debbie Reynolds voice.
  • If you’re going to play an instrument, BY GOD don’t learn the French Horn.
  • Don’t you love it when a tampon ad makes you feel fat?
  • Audrey Hepburn! Not taking up a full-page ad for some reason!
  • There’s definitely something subliminal going on with an article about not being “too popular” accompanied by an ad with a girl in a lace bustier.

Be a clever kitten!

Of course these things actually existed, but they’re so stereotypical of the time period and cartoony that they don’t even seem real. I still want one!

Oh god. Oh, my god. This contest is asking TEENAGE GIRLS to judge a model’s personality by her FACE? What kind of mail did these idiots get?

DEAR ARPEGE,

WE THINK THE LANVIN GIRL IS PERFECTLY PRECIOUS. SHE LOOKS LIKE SHE FARTS IN THE BATHTUB AND SHE DOESN’T HAVE ANY FRIENDS. NO ONE AT SCHOOL BELIEVES THAT SHE IS A MODEL AND SHE CRIES IN THE BATHROOM BECAUSE SHE SMELLS LIKE BRUSSELS SPROUTS AND NO ONE WANTS TO SIT WITH HER AT LUNCH. WE BET THAT SHE HAS ON FALSE EYELASHES AND A WIG BECAUSE SHE LOOKS SO DUMB THAT SHE PROBABLY BURNED OFF ALL HER HAIR AT A BARBECUE. WE HOPE THAT WE HAVE WON THE TRIP TO PARIS.

SINCERELY,

BARBARA (14) AND DARLENE (13), KANSAS CITY, KANSAS

Because this magazine just didn’t have enough pink in it.

And that’s it for this week! Thank you for reading! My feedback survey is still up for another week, so if you haven’t added your thoughts to my desperate need for validation go on over and answer some questions. I’m getting some really interesting responses on this survey so far, so thank you for your input.

Next week we’re getting launched back into the 90s and away from the teen-girl sphere for a while with Wired from April 1993, in which William Gibson tells us that we’re all dooooomed!

34094122_10216365133660293_4225578401366278144_n.jpg