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Studying Sassy: June 91

Sassy June 91 U R 2 Good 2 B 4 Gotten. Luv Ya! Write Me At Camp!!! No. 39

Halfway through the year, already? I can only vaguely remember summers as being incredibly long stretches between school years. The summer of 1991 I was preparing myself to enter middle school in the fall, so there was clothing to be purchased and hairs to be cut in the midst of swimming in pools and going to the local library for new literary adventures.

I was a very studious child, and this magazine inspired and encouraged my interest in journalism. The writers used such a familiar, documentary tone that we all seemed to be friends passing notes about what we were doing on our free time. Jane Pratt wrote quite frankly, in the note from the Editor in Chief, about having crushes on boys (who were actually men) and using the magazine to help get dates. I barely liked boys, but this was revolutionary in concept: to state your interest, matter-of-fact, and go out on a date as a result.

Maybe it's the fact that this is a summer issue, or maybe it was a teenager thing, but this issue is OBSESSED with oily faces. And the ads are making things seem dire, at best.

Body Talk mentions HPV and the higher risk for young women of developing cervical abnormalities as a result. Obviously, our collective knowledge as to transmission, risk, and treatments have improved over time. Now we know that spermicide or no, condoms do not necessarily prevent HPV exposure. Or maybe now HPV is just everywhere, so basically everyone has it, and it's just a matter or which strain and where it is on your body.

Oh, and also people were concerned about whether or not teens could do a pull-up.

Um.... I know that 90's fashions are back in style, but some of these (now vintage) clothes are so cute and CHEAP! Also, I definitely had a Swatch but is was not as jazzy as the one this beatnik chick is wearing.

In What Now, the most important information (second to the part about spotting Winona Ryder out and about) is the comparison between Billy Corgan from Smashing Pumpkins (a new band at the time) and Edie Brickell. Dude looks like a lady.

Assuming the responsibility for inspiring future female journalists, Sassy would have a reader-produced issue. This month features the descriptions of each staff member's responsibilities and encourages eligible readers to apply for various positions. I was far too young to consider this at the time, but just seeing how much variety there was in terms of jobs within a single magazine was eye-opening. This probably led to my work on the yearbook in 7th and 8th grades, and on the newspaper while in high school.

Dating advice continues from Jane Pratt's journal entry in the beginning of the issue to What He Said, in terms of parental approval factoring in to choice of dates:

There is also a two-page spread dedicated to the stories of three young couples, some who seem to be in solid relationships and some who are not sure why they're even a thing. I guess I wouldn't understand until much later why someone would stay in a relationship that didn't make them happy.... and thankfully that isn't the case for me anymore. (Hi Matt. You're the best.)

River Phoenix was in a band in 1991, called Aleka's Attic, and was trying to focus on music and animal rights rather than get any attention for his acting work. This was way before paparazzi culture was so everywhere, but even so, it seems like it really bothered him to get attention in the manner that he did. The article also mentions how early in the day he is drinking, which foreshadows a bit his sad fate a short time later.

Not the happiest looking group.

This article about Antarctica is particularly poignant to me with the changes we are currently seeing in this part of the world due to climate change. With temperatures rising, there is the potential for enough glacial ice to break free to raise sea level by several meters. Looking back 25 years, people who spoke out about the environment were seen as radicals, and their voices were drowned out by capitalism. I wish more people had listened, and I wish I had done more with my own voice to try and support efforts to save the planet.

Ironically, the next article is about "ways to chill." But in a calm way, not a frozen tundra way.

To the best of my knowledge, the staff of Sassy was mostly white women. However, their continued efforts to include issues facing other racial and ethnic groups, in order to be inclusive or create a greater sense of understanding, blows me away. I am not a woman of color, but I really believe that the exposure of my young mind to articles like "It's a Black Thing" and seeing models of color in fashion spreads made me a more open-minded adult. I will never be able to completely understand what it is like to be anyone other than who I am, but I try to acknowledge the fact that oppression exists. I try to empathize. I try to stand up for people who need more of a voice. I try to educate myself, and to stay informed. I try not to take my privilege for granted.

The fiction story, "Plucking Friends," did hit close to home for me. It wouldn't really make sense until I was older, but I was (and still am) a bit of a loner. I have friends, but I would never have considered myself popular. I didn't know how to get invited to the cool parties, and if I did, I didn't know how to keep myself on that list. Re-reading this little fictitious story stirred up all kinds of my social anxiety, which even though school is long gone, still grows inside of me like a tumor needing to be kept from taking over.

For the DIY portion of this month, I chose the fairy-tale styling of "Legend....." rather than the bikini fashions, for obvious reasons. While in my dreams, I am the dark and exotic smoky-eyed model, we all know I'm much closer to the wild-haired ginger lady on the right.

Her makeup is described as "so vibrant it looks like it is coming from within." Rosy cheeks and lips, neutral eyes, auburn brows. Check, check, and check. We didn't have a fan to put wind in my hair, or any rick-rack for braids.

The next time I go out, though, I'm totally doing this look:

If anyone knows where I can get a Sassy fanny pack, please let me know. Otherwise, I might have to make one. Seriously.

Next month, how to get rid of the boyfriend from this issue; the news flash that girls don't like themselves; and how to keep from being bored and how to keep your makeup from melting. Ah, American independence at it's finest. xoxo

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