Date of Award

Spring 2001

Document Type

Restricted Thesis

Terms of Use

© 2001 Sarah Kowalski. All rights reserved. Access to this work is restricted to users within the Swarthmore College network and may only be used for non-commercial, educational, and research purposes. Sharing with users outside of the Swarthmore College network is expressly prohibited. For all other uses, including reproduction and distribution, please contact the copyright holder.

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


History Department

First Advisor

Timothy Burke

Second Advisor

Marjorie Murphy


Kowalski’s thesis examines the under-analyzed influence of media on teenage girls, specifically through Seventeen magazine in years from 1944 to 1975. She looks at changes in the magazine’s content throughout its history, particularly on the subjects of boys and sex, diversity and individuality, and women’s roles. Through the magazines themselves and other analyses of them, Kowalski examines the messages conveyed to girls in content and advertising, and the messages sent back to the magazine through reader-submitted letters and other work. She concludes with a look at the rise and fall of Sassy, an overtly feminist magazine in the 1980s and 1990s.