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Sassy Responds

Article by Lisa Jervis, appeared in issue Issue #2; published in 1996; filed under Social commentary; tagged magazines, mainstream, media, media critique, misogyny, sassy, stereotypes, teens.
Not to Us, Of Course...

...
but to other perceptive and right-on readers who are as upset as we are about the changes. And guess what?
The editors are defensive as hell.

Here's what the readers are saying in their so-called "hate mail": "I cannot tell you how much your changes SUCK!!" "I feel compelled to express my copious fascination/horror/disgust with your new and 'improved' magazine." "Don't you think teenage girls have enough of these fake, useless magazines already?" "When you started thinking about the 'brand-new Sassy,' what were you on? Some of your articles make me want to yak." "You have sucked every ounce of what the 'old' Sassy stood for out of the magazine." "Do you actually think you're doing a good job? You are the children of the devil."

I'll say this for the new staffers—at least they finally admitted that not everyone's happy as a clam about the changes. And I too might get a little hinky if I were accused of being a minion of Satan. But they refuse to answer the charges; instead they just toss insults around. In their retort, immaturely titled "Get Over It! Get a Clue! Get a Life!" they pretend that Petersen has done the world a service by "saving [Sassy's] individual voice within the youth market from extinction," as if their version of the mag actually is individual and distinctive.

Not only that, but they thoroughly trash the old magazine—"you can only offend your readers, their parents and your advertisersAhh. The key to the real reason for Sassy's changes—advertisers can't stand to be associated with feminism, anti-racism, anti-homophobia, or any other socially progressive values. so many times before they call it quits"—and the old writers—"many of the old Sassy staffers...are currently contributing to such groundbreaking, forward-thinking and MAINSTREAM magazines as Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, and Elle." Well, pardon Kim and Christina for trying to make a living. At least the readers of those magazines know what to expect when they buy them. And the new staffers have conveniently neglected to mention that Margie writes about women's health for magazines like Ms. Even worse, though, is the way they insult the writers of these letters and everyone else who no longer wants to read Sassy. The letters are not legitimate complaints but "paeans to pissiness," and their authors are urged to "quit your bitchin', [and] lighten up." (I think it's pretty obvious how we're going to react to a command to quit bitching.) According to the new editors, the readers who miss the old Sassy are just humorless whiners who don't get it: "What we relate to are readers whose minds are not just bright, but open; who have a sense of humor and a sense of style.... To those girls who get it, the real funsmartgoofygreat girls, we say: Welcome to Sassy '96." As if the new Sassy is like a subtle joke—and the ones with the problem are the ones who don't think it's funny.

Lisa Jervis promises to stop writing about Sassy in every single issue.

Comments

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Well, we all know how well

Well, we all know how well the "new Sassy" turned out... According to Wikipedia, it was folded into Teen Magazine in January 1997!

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Bitch reader since 1998

Bitch reader since 1998