Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Seventeen gets 86'ed
Albertsons recently yanked the October edition of Seventeen magazine from its magazine racks in Oregon and 11 other states because of a two-page article entitled "Vagina 101."
The story included an anatomical illustration, definitions of yeast and urinary tract infections, descriptions of pubic hair, heath concerns about douching and actual pictures of two vaginas. The thumb-nail sized pictures assured girls that just because their vaginas might look different, it doesn't mean they're abnormal.
In a few newspaper articles, including one set to run on The Oregonian's Living cover tomorrow, the Boise-based grocery chain said it pulled the issue because of complaints that the detailed article was explicit.
Is explicity always a bad thing? The few pics and the illustration were no more explicit than pictures found in high school health books.
What about the illustrations on a box of tampons or sanitary napkins? That whole aisle includes condoms, douches, lubricants and ovulation kits which can get pretty explicit, too.
Retailers provide many things to many people, but some women's health advocates ask when did they become our censors? Health teachers? Judges of morality?
To be fair, Albertsons (or at least a sample of stores in the Portland area) do not sell Playboy or Playgirl.
Would the grocery store chain have removed the magazine -- or would people have complained, for that matter -- if the article had run in Cosmopolitan, a magazine geared for older women. What about a two-page spread on a men's health issue, such as prostate cancer, with a detailed depiction of a penis in Maxim
Maybe we would know the answer to some of these questions if Albertsons or Seventeen would comment.
Danielle Killpatrick, public affairs director for Albertsons division in Oregon, wouldn't elaborate on who complained or in what state the complaints originated. She told other newspapers that it was the right of the corporation to decide what goes on its shelves and what doesn't.
Seventeen said simply:
Seventeen reports on every aspect of our readers' lives, ncluding health and body issues, which our readers write to us about frequently. They see this magazine as a trusted friend so we talk about subjects that are important to them in an open and objective way and provide basic information and resources for them to find out more.
In her book "Taking Charge of Your Fertility," author Toni Weschler introduces a chapter that details womens' menstruation cycle by warning women that they will become angry and frustrated once they realize how much they WEREN'T taught in school.
By all appearances, Seventeen stepped up and tried to teach the lesson, perhaps reaching out to girls who listen more to the magazine than what their health teachers have to say.
Too bad Albertsons won't say exactly why the lesson won't reach its Oregonian customers.
wow... they may as well take the tampons, pads, condoms, and spermicides off the shelves too. there's no need for anything regarding our reproductive systems in the aisles of this grocery store.
contact albertsons and tell them what you think!
copy and paste this in your browser, if the above link doesn't work for you - https://www.albertsons.com/abs_aboutalb