Magazines #46: Young Miss (March 1974)

We've got an article on "How to Talk to Boys", an essay on what's wrong with teenagers these days, some other Young Miss odds and ends, but first the requisite tampon ad...

Young Miss is such a great slice of life - a nice little time capsule into the world of 1970s girls.  The magazines were Reader's Digest sized but were densely packed with stories, articles, fashions, etc.  It was low on advertising, but really high on content.  Let's start with an article on what's wrong with kids these days... and I'll admit, it's not what I expected....

THE group of people at the bus stop was obviously annoyed. "These darn kids!" one man muttered. "Hasn't anyone taught them how to behave!" He was referring to four young people who were noisily pushing each other around, bumping into other people and making a lot of racket.

To many adults, this is a typical picture of today's teen-agers; they are noisy, inconsiderate oafs. As one woman put it, "I know that kids will be kids, but must they be such pests in public places? Don't they ever think of anyone else?"

And it's true that a great many teen-agers, girls as well as boys, make an unpleasant spectacle of themselves in public. They shout at one another; they have their transistors blaring; they shove and push their way onto buses - in short, they behave like ill-mannered clods. And since people have a tendency to blame all youngsters for the mistakes of a few, the younger generation gets a bad name.

Not only are you and your friends often inconsiderate of others in public places, but you frequently treat your own relatives as if they were less than nothing. Think a minute; when was the last time you complimented Mom for a great dinner? Have you ever done something for Dad to show that you appreciate his acting as chauffeur for you and your friends? And what about your kid brother—have you ever really listened to him when he tried to tell you about something that was important to him?
Or are your conversations at home only complaints and arguments? Are you forever wailing that Mom and Dad don't understand you, that they are hopelessly old-fashioned and they don't care if you're miserable or not? Then it's high time you changed!

Do you make any effort at all to understand your parents and their problems? Do you try to get to know—really know—your kid brother or older sister? Or are you so wrapped up in yourself that you never give a thought to anyone else?

If you have any hope at all of growing up to be a responsible adult, there are some habits you must cultivate right now. Learn to listen to Mom's point of view; you may learn something even if you disagree with her. As a matter of fact, listening to what people say with interest will help you a great deal, not only at home and in school, but socially as well. Few things impress prospective friends—boys and girls —as someone who really listens to what is being said.

So make a point of being kind and considerate to your family. Most often Mom and Dad realize that you are going through a difficult period, but you must re-member that having a young teen-ager in the house isn't exactly easy on them, either.

As far as your public image is concerned, it's a simple matter to make people realize that you are a well brought-up young woman. All you need do is learn to stop shouting at your friends in public and to talk in a normal voice. Avoid any rough-housing while you wait for a bus—if you must wrestle, save it for the gym! And use the ear plug for your transistor if you feel you can't last for a half hour without listening to your favorite disc jockey.

Another big complaint is that you so often dress like slobs. Hair is uncombed and unwashed, your clothes look as if you slept in them for a week, and your face and hands are dirty. No one expects you to clean your room or wash the family car looking like a fashion model, but when you appear in public, even if you're just going to the store two blocks away, you can be neat and clean. And for heaven's sake, don't spend the day at the shopping center with your hair in rollers!

If you take a really good look at your favorite recording stars, many of whom are teen-agers like you, you'll see that they take pride in their appearance. Their hair is combed and their clothes, even if they're far-out, are becoming and clean.

BUT don't think that teen-agers do everything wrong. There is a lot that's right with your generation, too. The overwhelming ma¬jority of today's teen-agers are fine, decent kids. It may cheer you to know that the really typical teen-ager is generally well-groomed; it's the odd-ball who dresses like a slob.

But perhaps it is even more satisfying to know how actively girls and boys like you are working to make this a better world. Ask the local director of any organized charity and he will tell you how much he depends upon young people. They're the volunteers who give freely of their time to address envelopes, run errands, help out in the office and perform a great many other necessary tasks. As one Community Chest official said, "If it weren't for the teens that volunteer to help us, we'd never come close to reaching our annual goal."

Today's youngsters are increasingly aware of the world in which they live. They build telescopes to explore the stars, their clubs "adopt" children in under-developed countries, they collect money to aid the UNICEF program—today's teen-agers don't just sit around and talk, they get out and do things that are constructive and necessary.

So the next time someone complains about teen-agers, speak right up and say, "I know we're not perfect, but who is? Besides, wasn't it a teen-ager who was standing in the snow on Main Street collecting for the Heart | Fund? And wasn't it the kids in this town who campaigned for a teen club, complete with chaperone? And didn't they raise the money to pay for it?"

You can be a public relations girl for your generation by being careful of your appearance, remembering the manners you learned at your mother's knee and speaking up in defense of other kids when someone makes a thoughtless remark. You can really be proud of being a teenager today!

Holy crap!  Did you read all that?  The article in a magazine for teens (and pre-teens) about what's wrong with teenagers ACTUALLY POINTS THE FINGER AT TEENAGERS AND DEMANDS ACCOUNTABILITY.

It ends with some positivity, explaining why you should be proud to be a teenager, but most of the article asks for self-examination and personal responsibility

My two cents: The "I'm Okay, You're Okay" lovey-dovey mantra applied from one Baby Boomer to another in the 1970s, but didn't apply to their oft-neglected Generation X children. This was the era of the latch-key child and Dr. Spock telling parents to let Junior cry until he passes out.  Children of the seventies were still very much expected to tow the line.  Most people would expect an article like this from a 1950s Young Miss, but this perspective on teenagers and children was alive and well in the 1970s.  When did things change?  That's a subject for another day.. Let's move on to the fashion pages...

I'm glad to see the miniskirt is still alive in 1974; although, it was falling out of favor with adults around this time.

These shots were all taken at Six Flags (Georgia).

Was my face red! - a regular feature in Young Miss...

My favorite is the table being set with napkins, sanitary napkins.

I found this story interesting only because Bob Crane turned out to be such a twisted perv.

Young Miss also has some pretty cool artwork here and there...

Let's learn how to talk to boys.  It starts by asking 'what are boys made of?' - the answer: "limp macaroni".  (awkward pause)  This is going to be quite a read...

BOYS are shy creatures. Oh, they may be able to kick a football umpteen yards, slam a hockey puck over an ice rink or swim the length of the pool underwater, but put them in a room full of girls at a party and what are those same boys made of? Limp macaroni! Or so they seem as they lounge around the stereo, afraid to come over and face Mary, Linda and you. Even those boys who delight in teasing girls at school can turn into absolute clams at a party or when faced with a girl in a one-to-one situation.

To begin with, boys and girls as a rule don't naturally mix. Maybe they did in their playpens when they shared each other's rubber ducks, but not when they have reached their early teens. Boys as well as girls usually become very self-conscious at that age, and talking to each other be¬comes a big problem for both of them.

Then somebody has to do something to keep the party pudding from settling into a soggy drag that ends in guests going home disappointed. That somebody is going to have to be you! Yes, you girls can do something to break the silence barrier!

Just to walk up to a boy and start talking may be easy for Miss Extrovert, the "I-never-met-a-stranger" type, but for you and most young teens it's harder than writing a theme on the Einstein Theory. One girl, Carol, explained her feelings this way: "When I have to talk to a boy I don't know well, I choke up and can't open my mouth. I positively freeze with embarrassment."

Some girls say they start to perspire like mad; some turn beet red; others shiver as though they're in front of an iceberg instead of a boy. Many report their mouths feel as if they're full of ashes. Whatever your own misery is, you have plenty of company. Even boys suffer the same tortures when trying to talk to girls, and that may be of some comfort to you.

Now you know yours is a common problem shared by boys and girls alike, but what can you do about it? You've probably been told many times that to get along with boys you have to be a good listener. That statement is one of those old sayings that is only partly true. You do have to be a good listener regardless of whether you're with boys or girls, but first you must be a good talker. After all, a conversation involves at least two people, and if both of them rely on their ability to listen there will be nothing but silence.

Authorities claim that the secret of making easy conversation is to forget about yourself, not to try to make an impression, and don't think you have to make earth-shattering or clever remarks. Let's try these suggestions and see how they work.

YOU'RE at a party and a boy is sitting next to you. A silence falls between you, making you feel utterly hopeless as each second ticks by. To get yourself started and to oil your vocal chords which are beginning to feel as though they're rusted shut, say something, say anything! Try an opener like these: "That's a great record, isn't it?" or "Where do you go to school?" or "Do you like sports?" or "My brother is on the swimming team and at the last meet . . ." or "Wasn't it cold today?" or "What's your favorite subject in school?"

Any boy will answer a question. It's a good idea to arrive at the party prepared with conversation openers. One groovy young miss even rehearses starting questions in the privacy of her room, so if one doesn't work she's ready with another. It doesn't matter how unimportant your opener may be, as long as you get your voice working.

If your listener opens up with a good long answer, you've got it made. But what happens too often is that he will respond with "Yes" or "No." Poor fellow, he is as miserable and as tongue-tied as you. Before you go into that pit of silence again, ask another question. One popular girl told me she has one question that never fails. She asks, "How's your team doing this year?" The boy interprets that to mean any team, in school or not, that he plays on or watches, and she claims it always gets a good response.

Suppose you find out that he plays soccer, about which you know absolutely nothing? Simply smile and ask him to tell you how the game is scored. That's a good one for any sport, by the way. When there is a pause, you can sound terrifically clever by asking, "Are you ever allowed to touch the ball with your hands?"

If you do know something about the sport, you don't have to pretend ignorance. Boys appreciate girls who can talk intelligently about a sport. If your pal scorns all sports and says he likes to paint, the same method applies. "What kind of paint do you use? Do you like modern art?" You could tell him about a friend who is studying art or about the day you went to an art museum.

To your surprise you will find yourself relaxing a bit. This is because the worst is over. You've broken the first terrifying silence and you've found a topic to discuss. The trick from here on is to keep that boy interested so he won't wander over to Peggy or Ann, who are talking so vivaciously across the room.

THE best way to achieve that aim is to show interest in him— by paying attention, smiling and making encouraging murmurs. Don't let your eyes rove past his shoulder to see who might be more exciting in another group. Remember, the best way to get people interested in you is to show some interest in them.

Surprisingly enough, this takes practice. But there is nothing more rewarding in this world than the good friendships and new horizons that open by becoming interested in other people. It develops your own personality and it makes you forget and overcome your shyness. Shyness is really a form of vanity because it means you are thinking only of yourself and your own reactions—not the other person's.

A survey was made of college boys asking them to list the qualities they desired most in a date. The number one answer was "A good companion." Not the best looking, the best dressed or the most sophisticated; not the athletic star, the most popular nor the smartest, but the girl who was good company, easy to talk to, fun to be with. The type of person that any girl can become.

To sum up the case, when a boy comes your way at a party or at school, smile. Start a conversation with any topic, no matter how seemingly unimportant. Questions are wonderful openers. Try to find out the boy's interests: hobbies, sports, school, organizations; at the same time give him some clue to your own interests.

Be a good listener by really concentrating. Make encouraging remarks to show you want to hear more. Keep the conversation light. Don't be like the girl who told a joke with the punch line in Latin. Remember, the way you treat people is pretty much the way they will treat you. Develop a personality that will at¬tract others by developing a genuine interest in them.

IN short, bring out the best that is in you while working hard to overcome those faults that keep you from being the sort of girl you want to be.

You will soon discover that it becomes easier and easier to talk to boys (and girls and adults, too!) once you make up your mind to speak first. Whether it's a real cute guy at Sue's party or a new girl in your class, smile and say hello, then get the conversational ball rolling by asking a few impersonal questions. Just let the person you're talking to know that you're interested in him.

If you're shy around boys all the time, don't wait for a party to try out the suggestions offered here. At school, make a point of at least smiling and saying hello to one boy every day. You will soon discover that it becomes easier and easier each time. If the boy seems inclined to talk, great!

Remember the casual question is a great opener, so go ahead and ask about the weather or the name of the teacher in charge of the Glee Club or anything else. Don't feel you have to be clever or witty; just be yourself.

Developing this quality will not only help you socially all your life, but it's a big help in the business world, too. There will come a day when you will have to "sell" yourself to a prospective employer, and the shy little mouse won't get very far.

So learn to talk it up. It's fun and it will make you the sort of person everyone—boys and girls alike—will think is a great girl to be with on every occasion.

My favorite line: "Boys appreciate girls who can talk intelligently about a sport."  Yes, folks, it's 1974 and we have boys and girls still solidly within "gender stereotypes".  The "Free To Be You and Me" philosophy was still in its infancy.

All in all, I'd say it offers some solid advice, but, as before, it's shocking how this could so easily blend into a 1950s issue of Young Miss.

And last but no least, some helpful hints...

The horror!  How many albums were ruined by this terrible advice?  If I come across some vintage vinyl with nail polish across the edge, I'll know who to blame!

1 comment:

  1. AnonymousJuly 08, 2015

    The young ladies this magazine was intended for were all still "Boomers" in 1974. I'm mid-Boom Boomer myself and I was still a teen in 1974. Just sayin'