December 1, 2023

Tiger Beat: Still Squeaky Clean After All These Years

Tiger Beat, even now the glossiest of rags, began as an act of capitalist savvy that was also a good deed: acknowledging the interests and burgeoning desires of young women, a group that had been ignored all too often. Started in 1965 near the height of Beatlemania by Charles Laufer, who died this month at 87, and his brother Ira, Tiger Beat remains the original teen-girl tabloid, providing a steady diet of boyflesh to longingly gaze at, and helping to launch the careers of oodles of similarly coiffed, similarly moisturized young men, some of whom actually grew up to be famous.

In truth, the names of those who have filled the pages — the boys (Davy! Leif! Corey! Luke! Brian!) and the occasional relatable girl (Debbie! Miley!) — don’t much matter. Tiger Beat is a see-no-evil, speak-no-evil place holder for young readers not yet ready for the complex questions posed by, say, Seventeen magazine and Judy Blume books. It allows for playacting at desire, before the real, parent-scaring thing comes into play.

But even at its outset, Tiger Beat, innocent and chipper and with a prim ’50s aesthetic, was a bit of a relic. Teen culture was racing toward Woodstock and to more risqué territory beyond, but polished Tiger Beat was basically staying put. And as actual grown-folks magazines began to take an interest in the Justins of the world (Timberlake! Bieber!), and as young stars became more eager than ever to prove themselves to be anything but young, Tiger Beat has remained a naïf. It’s still packed with those huge fold-out posters stapled in the center, big gleaming boy beacons meant to be taped to walls and ceilings, the raw material for sweet dreams and future fantasies.

Article source: