Teen Vogue is a magazine where you find things you wouldn’t expect to find in a magazine clearly aimed at an audience of young women. And never would I have gone close to Teen Vogue (women’s magazines never interested me, not even when I was young) hadn’t it been mentioned by one of my favourite podcasts (I think it was On The Media by WNYC but I could be wrong).
What makes Teen Vogue different from your usual fashion and teen magazine are the topics. Let me give you the headlines from today’s homepage: 7 Tips to Balancing Activism and School Work; Florida Governor Rick Scott Is Getting Sued by Teens for His Environmental Polices and Are Shaved Heads Just a Fashion Trend or a Political Statement For Women? this accompanied by the photo of Emma González, the student who became a symbol of the movement for arm control after the massacre at the parkland school.
Teen Vogue also talks about fashion, swimwear and shoes, of course, but even those topics are dealt with in a way that is somehow liberating.
Take the article about prom dresses: it is an article that explains how to get the most out of selling it online. Or the one about Dua Lipa’s latest album (I guess she must be a popular singer among teenagers), well they place emphasis on the single in which
Dua Lipa tells women how to recognise the toxicity of a relationship and how not to fall into the mistake of sleeping with an ex.
I mean, and I never thought I’d hear these words, coming form me, more and more often I end up reading Teen Vogue’s articles with great interest, because it feels like listening to real young women talking, not some Mature Editor who constantly keeps an eye on advertisers so that no one feels uncomfortable.
Like I said at first, I never liked ‘stuff for women’ (magazines, inserts, competitions etc. ) just as I never liked artistic events reserved for minorities while living abroad because, this is my reasoning, if a book, a play, an article are worth my attention, this should come from an intrinsic value. Independently from the author’s sex, nationality or ethnicity.
The thing is that every time I come across something ‘just for women’ it makes me think about the campaign to save the panda. As if being a woman (or minority) justified, or rather required the creation of content other than those considered suitable for the general public.
And if we want to push the analysis all the way down, then let’s ask: who is this audience you write non-special content for? I’ll leave you to do the math to see what is left after subtracting women, minority etc. meanwhile, let me keep on enjoying my secret pleasure of reading teen vogue.