Studying Sassy: Feb 91


Sassy Feb. 91 Valentines, Schmalentines No. 35

Let's just address upfront the biggest travesty associated with the reviewing of this issue:

I no longer have the poster/interview of The Cure. I remember it only vaguely, because at the time I wasn't into the band. I found an image on Pinterest of the poster, and it didn't look familiar at all, so who knows what I did with the thing. I was 9. I forgive myself.

One of the highlights for me this month is the advertizing.... So colorful and bright, and so many products I actually used (likely because the ads worked)! The smell of the Studio Line hair products was my favorite, light and almost lemony. And I remember lobbying to get the reddish Cover Girl Lipslicks gloss, which was probably too mature for me but was sheer enough that it wasn't too much of a fight.

Seeing (pun intended) as this is 25 years later, I'm having a really hard time reading this magazine. Literally . It's funky, and definitely a product of its time, with the typeface choices and the colors and the backgrounds. But.... For an article about the impending crisis in the Persian Gulf (which was actually super informative and quite well written), the graphics of maps behind the text hurt my eyeballs! But I really wanted to keep reading it so I toughed it out. It was not as irksome as the feature "What Now" which required me to physically rotate the magazine to read certain portions, and was also one of the most colorful portions of text I have seen in recent memory.

At least there was a cool Charlie Brown-inspired tee shirt, and Cute Band Alert was The Lemonheads.

The spirit of Valentine's is lush this month, with Help for Him preceding regular feminine Help (a la Sadie Hawkins), followed by What He Said covering the topic of clandestine romance and also the fellas from Beverly Hills 90210 (Dylan all the way, in case you wondered who floated my boat). The Valentine's gift recommendations in What Next are all still hella cute! I want that turtleneck so bad, and I don't like turtlenecks.

Edward Scissorhands is recommended ahead of Silence of the Lambs, because teen magazine and also Valentine's Day, I'm assuming.

Floral prints are the focus of one fashion editorial, and girls who work in retail are in another. There are babydoll dresses in both. My aesthetic at the time favored the florals a little bit more, but looking back I kind of wish I had gotten more into Benetton! So classic, so minimalist! And the berets! Who are we kidding, I never would have pulled that off. These were the years when my hair was beginning to grow in curly.

The article about hunting came with pretty graphic images, particularly one of a deer carcass I'm not sharing here. I didn't become a vegetarian for a few more years, but I was always a little picky about eating meat as a child. However, what eventually convinced me to stop eating meat was a bet that I would find vegetarianism too difficult and would give up. I did it for 11 years. I think I probably won that one.

Ah yes.... The many makeovers of this month's Sassy. First: There is an article of "true stories" (names changed, of course) of girls who tried to restyle their boyfriends' clothes, manners, hair, hygiene, etc. The ladies who took an approach of gentle guidance, and a loving tone, were the most succesful. The message overall is that one should be prepared for backlash if they don't accept someone for who he is, but if you think he smells it is ok to say so. The next article is about how to color your hair at home in various ways. Including wigs! Yay 1991! Some solid advice about what should be left to professionals, and what may or may not work based on the desired results. (Note: under no circumstances do I think henna of any kind is a good choice to use for haircolor, especially now that more options are available than ever. I understand it is natural, etc, but that crap never goes away and does not mix with any other products so if you don't like it you are kind of screwed. End soapbox. )

Here's where things get a little strange.... Matt actually pointed this out, as it slipped past me on my first read-through. There is an article/expose about the kinds of products advertized in the back of magazines promising bigger boobs, better hair, thinner thighs, etc.

Basically, all the products are deemed bogus, a waste of money, or dangerous.

32 pages later.....

THIS IS A REAL AD!!!! The same thing that we, the readers, were told not to buy into. Was this ad put in as a joke? Or, more likely, was it paid for prior to the article being proposed and written. Either was, super mixed messages, especially from a feminist-leaning publication.

One of my favorite parts of the issue is It Happened To Me, where readers can write in their personal stories. This one is by a 16 year old named Jayne who describes what it was like to learn that she had scoliosis and needed to wear a back brace. Much like Judy Blume's Deenie (which, also..... Judy Blume is and was just THE BEST, am I right?). Even the idea of readers being invited to contribute to the magazine, outside of writing a letter or asking a question, is just so great. There is also an area called Stuff You Wrote for shorter thoughts and poems. This was way way way before the internet, so it must have been so exhilarating to send something out into the world, and hope other people responded to it, as a teenager.

My horoscope was all about summer internships, and spending more time with my parents, so I'll get right on that.

Lastly, but hopefully not least...... I'm trying to actively incorperate an activity from each issue into my life, so this month came with instructions for how to dance in the style of the time (which was Yo! MTV Raps or Pump It Up) from two of Queen Latifah's backup dancers. So.... Check out the next blog post to see how that went.

FYI March is prom. Get excited. I know I am.


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