Teen Vogue made its debut nearly a decade after I left my teens, but if it had been around when I was younger, I probably would have turned up my nose at it anyway. I saw its adult counterpart, Vogue, as a glorified fashion newsletter, and I had little use for anything style-related. I dressed like the spawn of Cyndi Lauper and Oscar the Grouch, my makeup tips would have consisted entirely of:
“Needs more black eyeliner…”
And my hair was just… no. There was nothing remotely “vogue” about my teenage years.
Now, almost 14 years after the magazine first hit the racks, Teen Vogue is proving me wrong. A peek at their website shows pretty much what you’d expect from a fashion magazine, with headlines like:
- “11 Makeup Artists We Were OBSESSED WITH this year”
- “8 Ways To Rock An Ugly Christmas Sweater Like A TRUE Fashion Girl”
- “6 Ways You Can Help Syrian Refugees Today”
- “The New Orleans Mayor FINALLY Apologized For Police Murders Of Black Men After Katrina”
- “President Obama Just Made A Huge Move To Protect The Environment From Trump”
Teen Vogue still covers fashion, style, and makeup — things that matter to a lot of young women. But the idea of it being just a padded fashion newsletter is way off. Teen Vogue caught the nation’s attention earlier this month with Lauren Duca’s scathing op-ed piece about Donald Trump’s psychological manipulation of the United States:
“Trump is no longer some reality TV clown who used to fire people on The Apprentice. He is the President of the United States.
…There are unprecedented amounts of ugliness to untangle, from deciding whether our President can be an admitted sexual predator to figuring out how to stop him from threatening the sovereignty of an entire religion … When defending each of the identities in danger of being further marginalized, we must remember the thing that binds this pig-headed hydra together. As we spin our newfound rage into action, it is imperative to remember, across identities and across the aisle, as a country and as individuals, we have nothing without the truth.”
With this call to action, it suddenly became clear that while we may be a nation at risk, there is an entire generation of young women coming up who are simply not going to stand for it.
Teen Vogue still covers things like a Cheetah Girls reunion and how celebrities handle breakups, but they aren’t afraid to tackle the serious and often ugly side of life, either. They talk about rape. police brutality, war, and mental illness. The home page of their web site features a photo of a young Syrian refugee just above a photo of three glamorous pop singers. The juxtaposition is heartbreaking and necessary.
A Powerful Statement
Teen Vogue may be using their pages to reach out to young women and educate them about the issues, but they’re also showing their audience that it’s okay to use their own voices to speak out as well.
They don’t need to choose whether to be the Pretty One or the Artsy One or the Political One. They don’t have to choose whether to put on their lipstick and be quiet about date rape or to chop their hair off and scrub their faces clean and make sure everyone knows about it.
Feminism and activism aren’t dirty words on the pages of Teen Vogue. In 2016, the idea that you can make a political statement alongside a fashion statement has finally gone mainstream.
On behalf of my own fierce and beautiful daughters, teenage-me is overjoyed to see it.
Featured Image: Screenshot Via YouTube Video.