Recently, the internet world has been oohing and aahing over Teen Vogue’s content. This magazine, founded in 2003 to spread the word on fashion and beauty trends, is easing into the realm of politics. *huge squeal*
Let’s see what Teen Vogue has been up to, no?
On December 10, 2016, Teen Vogue caused a jolt on social media with an op-ed titled “Donald Trump is Gaslighting America” (read the full article here), which consequently blew up on twitter with over 30,000 re-tweets. It turns out that this shift towards more political, feminist, activist content has been slowly cultivated within the past year, ever since Elaine Welteroth became head of the magazine in May. Instead of the typical makeup tutorials and style suggestions, Teen Vogue has featured a personal essay from Hillary Clinton, activist and Disney Channel teen star Rowan Blanchard, and an article on Mike Pence’s stance on LGBT issues.
The Atlantic wrote on Monday:
“Teen Vogue’s two strongest traffic days in 2016…were November 9, the day following the election, and Sunday, as Duca’s piece about Trump picked up steam. (The publication’s traffic is up 208 percent over the last 18 months; it reached 9.4 million uniques in November.)”
This goes to say that there is not only output of political content – there is also warm reception. Today we live in an age of increased political awareness, to the point were it is able to permeate into a beauty/fashion magazine.
YAS – But…
Although this news makes a girl like me extremely, genuinely, wonderfully ecstatic (hashtag beautyispolitics), that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t ask more questions. What does it mean for beauty and fashion to interact with politics, to translate into politics? Could distributing political awareness through a fashion magazine result in only superficial political consciousness or even, dare I say, no more than an urge to be politically correct – because political correctness is now ‘in’? When one flips through the pages of a magazine like this, and see stylish, edgy pictures of women with the words “smart”, “feminist”, “fighter for equality”, “revolutionary” or “anti-racist”, does that empower me or just give me a quick shot of adrenaline like any other makeup trend? Does making politics fashionable and trendy reducing it in some way? These are all questions brewing at the back of my mind.
Let me know your thoughts.