keeping it real

jenn goldberg

The latte machine is whirring out of control as hoards of U of T co-eds buzz around the campus coffee joint. Amid the chatter, Krystin Srigley, 18, and two of her friends from residence flip through a copy of Shameless Magazine.

Shameless is one of few Canadian magazines that targets teenage girls. But crack open the black and white pages of this mag and you won’t see tips on how to read a boy’s mind or a list of the fruitiest lip glosses. Shameless is a feminist teen magazine whose motto is: “For girls who get it.”

Krystin seems to be one of those girls. “(Fashion magazines) stereotype the females because you always see beautiful, thin females,” she says. “But that’s not the way women are. I really like (Shameless) because they have a lot of women with different figures and I find them more real.”

Since its debut in the summer of 2004, women of all ages have been buzzing about Shameless. It has appeared on the pages of Adbusters Magazine, The Globe and Mail and The Toronto Star.

That a teen girl would pick out Shameless magazine on a stand full of glossy, fashion teen-rags is not a surprise to co-editor Melinda Mattos. She describes target readers as girls who don’t find themselves reflected on the pages of Seventeen. “I think there are more girls out there who ‘get it’ than the mass media would give them credit for,” she says. “There are so many smart, interesting, engaging teenagers in Canada and around the world.”

Amanda Rataj, 18, was one of the first members of the teen editorial collective that helps guide Shameless’ content. She recalls bringing a copy of the magazine to high school, when a younger girl approached her to see what it was all about.

“I wouldn’t have pegged her as a girl to read that kind of magazine,” Amanda admits, “but she was like ‘that’s really cool.’”

Photo by Natasha Elkington