Justine Magazine, April/May Issue ASIN: B00024CY7Q
Overview: This magazine is targeted towards teen girls. It is marketed as a magazine about fashion and beauty, but one that also “accentuates the positive aspects of teens through uplifting and interesting content in a non-offensive manner,” according to the Amazon description. The issue that I looked at had sections about fashion and different beauty and other products that teens could buy. They also had a feature story about a teen singer on X-Factor, an advice column, and special articles on subjects from getting an internship or a scholarship for college, to how to deal with a parent who has cancer.
Critical Evaluation: Justine appears to be a slightly more aware and positive version of Teen Vogue or Seventeen. In comparison to Teen Vogue, this magazine pays more attention to articles and less to advertisers and fashion. There are still fashion spreads, but articles are longer and written in a more relatable tone than the Teen Vogue articles. There are advertisements at the beginning of the magazine, but very few in the body of the magazine.
The covers seem to skew towards a younger reader, but articles about prom fashion and getting scholarships for college made it seem like it aspires to reach older teens as well. I did notice that there was a mix of expensive and more affordable items throughout the magazine. It seemed like publishers were making an attempt to feature items that teens could conceivably actually afford, though there were still higher ticket items. Though it was never explicitly stated, I got the feeling that it was published by the Girl Scouts of America, because it featured several advertisements on that.
Though I appreciate the girl power and positive attitude of the magazine, I suspect it is not a very popular magazine. I can’t exactly speak to why, but I have some ideas. It is possible that teens are not as attracted to this magazine because most of the cover girls are normal teens and not celebrity figures, or particularly big celebrities, in the case of the X-Factor singer. It also feels like it tries too hard to be cool but also upbeat in some of the articles. One writer says, “Think of me as your cool older sister” which just didn’t feel authentic to me. I think readers would catch on to the vibe of well-meaning adults trying to impart life lessons. And while that’s certainly an admirable goal from the standpoint of an adult, I don’t think teens like the feeling of yet another adult trying to tell them what to do. Magazines are appreciated for their entertainment value, and probably for a lot of teens, for the aesthetic qualities, and not primarily for the lessons they impart.
Reader’s Annotation: Tired of magazines full of advertisements and clothes you can’t afford? Justine offers a mix of articles you’ll care about, fashion and beauty tips that won’t break the bank, and hardly any ads!
Information about the author: Justine Magazine is published by Justeen, LLC. Jana Kerr Pettey is the editor of the magazine. She has worked and mentored teens for over 20 years. Monique Coleman writes an advice column in each magazine. She is best known as one of the stars of High School Musical, but is now the Global Youth Ambassador to the United Nations.
Genre: Lifestyle magazine, targeting teen girls
Curriculum ties, if any: I could see particular articles being of interest to classrooms. I could also see a teacher using Justine magazine in comparison with something like Seventeen to compare the messages the magazines are sending.
Booktalking Ideas: I think the best way to promote this magazine would be as an alternative to mainstream magazines that can be seen as shallow. It is for the teen who is interested in articles as well as fashion, and those looking for something that aspires to make teen girls feel good about themselves. This is also a magazine that many parents will appreciate, so it may be one a librarian sends home with more parents than teens.
Reading Level/Interest Age: This is a difficult answer to pinpoint. One reviewer on Amazon recommended it for girls ages 10-20. It had quite a few articles in the issue I read that were targeted towards older teens, while many of the articles could be seen as appropriate for a wider variety of ages. This magazine could fit the bill for older teens whose parents may be concerned about what they read, or those who are looking for a magazine with a mix of substance and fashion. I suspect that despite the attempts of the magazine to appeal to older readers, the interest level is younger, like middle school or early high school. However, I still wanted to include it as something that is targeted towards older teens.
Challenge Issues: This seems to be quite “clean” and I can’t see any objections to the content. When reading Amazon reviews of the magazine, many reviews called it a “wholesome” magazine. At the same time, one reviewer says it takes a conservative approach and doesn’t discuss politics enough while another reviewer criticizes its liberal leanings. However, I do not think either of these issues would substantiate a challenge.
Why did you include this magazine?: I was interested to compare the difference between a more mainstream magazine like Teen Vogue, that follows in the model of the adult version, Vogue, and one that focused on real teen girls and their lives.