Teen magazines in the 1980s

Updated November 21, 2016

Almost as long as their have been teen idols, there have been magazines dedicated to them. Magazines aimed at a teenage readership have been around since the 1940s. The 1980s were no exception, as the decade was filled with teen movie stars, television idols, rock stars and boy bands. Magazines existed to celebrate them all, along with the fashions of the day.

Tiger Beat

Tiger Beat is a magazine about all things teen. The magazine launched in the 1960s and is still around as of 2011. Tiger Beat traditionally was geared toward the preteen and teenage girls who bought the magazine for pictures and articles on their favourite heartthrobs. For a brief time in the 1980s, Tiger Beat was under new ownership, which tried to shift the magazine more toward a fashion theme by placing female models on the cover. The move failed and by the mid-'80s stars like Kirk Cameron and New Kids on the Block took their rightful place on the cover.

Teen Beat

Teen Beat hit in the 1980s and was like Tiger Beat in most ways. The magazine associated itself with the revolution that was the music video industry. A second magazine was even launched, Teen Beat Video Rock Stars, which touted itself as "America's first video rock magazine." It was filled with glossy pictures and full-page poster pull-outs of groups like Duran Duran and Loverboy, while Teen Beat featured pin-up shots of stars like Ralph Macchio and Michael J. Fox.


Sassy was an '80s teen magazine that was aimed at girls who considered themselves a bit more edgy and sassy than the readers of Tiger Beat or the fashion magazines of the day. The magazine featured pictures of and interviews with the alternative stars of the '80s, like Siouxsie and the Banshees or Kate Bush over Madonna or Pat Benatar. The magazine was also known for its in-depth tackling of subjects like teen sex or suicide and gave a voice to a generation of girls who felt as though they did not belong.


Seventeen Magazine has been the quintessential fashion and advice magazine for teen girls since the 1940s. The 1980s were no exception to this, and Seventeen ruled when it came to following trends from preppy to Day-Glo styles to the Madonna look. Seventeen told girls in the '80s which lip gloss to buy, how to get rid of ugly blemishes, how to get boys to like them and what to wear on dates once the boys did like them. Seventeen magazine has launched the career of many young supermodels and covers in the '80s included girls like Christie Brinkley.

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