Over the past year, Teen Vogue has undergone a shift in focus. The publication has recently covered race, activism, feminism and health alongside its usual fashion and beauty spreads. “When it comes to news and politics, we look at ourselves as an ally and a platform — particularly to young women and young people from marginalized communities,” Teen Vogue Digital Editorial Director Phillip Picardi told The Atlantic. “I think young people, and perhaps particularly young women, are so wildly underestimated by the world at large and I want (Teen Vogue) to be a platform that challenges that idea.” Photo by Elena Gilbertson Hall.
Teen Vogue has expanded its political coverage over the past year, and this coverage has been met with a mix of support and surprise.
Girls can like makeup and politics, Selena Gomez and The New York Times, fashion and math.
They are complex and have multi-faceted interests and identities. However, society’s ingrained sexism says that “traditionally feminine” interests suggest that girls are not intelligent.
Teen Vogue does not buy into that.
Over the past year, Teen Vogue has greatly increased its political coverage under the leadership of Editor-in-Chief Elaine Welteroth. The magazine rocketed into the political spotlight in December 2016 when writer Lauren Duca published a piece titled “Donald Trump is Gaslighting America,” which argued that President Trump uses lying and deceit to undermine the truth, causing people to begin to question their own judgement.
This article was met with opposition as well as support – and also surprise. Twitter exploded after the publication of this article, gaining nearly 30,000 retweets and 52,000 likes from Teen Vogue’s followers. Many users expressed surprise that Teen Vogue would cover such hard-hitting news.
They shouldn’t be surprised.
In 2017, with information at their fingertips, young people are often as informed on social issues as their parents. They want to be engaged in the political and activist worlds.
Teen Vogue is engaging them.
The expansion of Teen Vogue’s political section should not imply that the beauty and fashion sections will be downsized. Teen Vogue exists at an important intersection for young girls in 2017. It tells them that caring about what Donald Trump is doing to America and caring about what boots Ariana Grande wore yesterday is not wrong.
And it has done nothing but help the publication. Teen Vogue’s website traffic increased by 208 percent over the course of the election season. The two days in 2016 when Teen Vogue’s website received the most traffic were the day after the election and the day after Duca’s article was published.
Teenage girls are multi-faceted individuals and Teen Vogue’s top read articles of 2016 prove it.
1. “Donald Trump Is Gaslighting America”
2. “How to Apply Glitter Nail Polish the Right Way”
3. “Netflix Arrivals October 2016: See the Full List”
4. “Mike Pence’s Record on Reproductive and LGBTQ Rights Is Seriously Concerning”
5. “Dark Marks and Acne Scars: Your Complete Guide”
Teen Vogue is giving their readers the information they need and rightfully acknowledging their readers’ diverse interests. They are taking young girls seriously, something other publications should take note of.