Opinion: Why mags like 'Bliss' are not ignorant
Sunday 11 April 2004
In all the calls for teen magazines to be stamped with age restrictions, one pivotal question has gone unasked: why do teen magazines contain information about sex?
Teen magazines receive hundreds of letters a week asking for advice and information about sex. Editors are faced with a generation of readers which is terrifyingly ignorant about contraception and sexual health. As a result, the UK has the worst rate of sexually transmitted infections and teen pregnancy in Europe
Research shows that young people whose families discuss sex without embarrassment become sexually active later and are more likely to use contraception. Until sex education at home or at school improves, teen magazines are often the only accurate and responsible source of information. The idea of a cut-off point, below which girls must not be educated, is grossly naive.
All magazines aimed at teenage girls are already regulated by the Teenage Magazine Arbitration Panel (TMAP) and its strict guidelines. TMAP's members, all parents, include two doctors, a professor of psychology and a barrister.
The latest adjudication concerned the May 2003 issue of Sugar, which enabled readers to order a free condom through Marie Stopes International UK. The piece was prompted by a survey which showed a high level of ignorance among 11- to 15-year-olds - Sugar's core readership. Four out of ten believed it was illegal to buy condoms. TMAP rejected complaints about the article and emphasised the need to remove any stigma from condom use.
Age-stamping would be counterproductive and impractical. A young person could still buy any adult magazine or newspaper, watch any TV programme, and access sexual material on the internet, yet they would be prevented from buying a magazine with appropriate and accurate content.
Teen magazine editors are accused of having an agenda - they do. It is to empower young women and equip them with the facts and confidence they need to respect their bodies and make informed choices about their sexual lives.
The author is head of public and legal affairs, Periodical Publishers Association (PPA)
Stamford Hill council removes 'unacceptable' posters telling women which side of the road to walk down
Kim Kardashian 'nude pictures' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence 'The Fappening' scandal
Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
Ice Bucket Challenge: US firefighter Tony Grider dies after participating in charity craze near power lines
Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
- 1 Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
- 2 Stamford Hill council removes 'unacceptable' posters telling women which side of the road to walk down
- 3 Kim Kardashian 'nude pictures' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence 'The Fappening' scandal
- 4 Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
- 5 New Tricks: Dennis Waterman to leave the show after a decade of crime-solving
£60000 - £85000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Interim Head of Marketing / Marketin...
£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...
£25 - 30k: Guru Careers: A Digital Project Manager is needed to join an exciti...
£24 - 28k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Paid Search Analyst / PPC...