Teen Vogue is one of the most recognizable names in adolescent fashion journalism, at the forefront of such important cultural movements as the return of “culottes,” the Kylie Jenner-led “wear your underwear only” movement, and Ariana Grande’s “ever-changing hairstyle” that always looks exactly the same.
But now, thanks to an editorial change that took place earlier in 2016, Teen Vogue believes it’s the go-to place for hard-hitting journalism on Donald Trump’s burgeoning Presidential administration. Because that might be the only way to save the publication.
Last week, the magazine authored a piece called “Donald Trump is Gaslighting America,” sandwiched between a feature on ugly Christmas sweaters and “nailing airport style” in their “features” section. Wednesday, they ran with a piece on Trump’s affiliation with Gen. Mike Flynn, his national security adviser, who met with an Austrian political figure, who met with some actual Nazis.
They say it’s part of their turn towards being a “resource” for young women who are also interested in politics, but their editorial policy is decidedly slanted. For every four stories about transgender rights, feminism and health, there’s one first-hand account from a Trump supporter.
In truth, Teen Vogue is sort of a relic of a time when adolescents still picked up glossy magazines for make-up tips. Today’s teens are probably more likely to discuss micro-aggressions on Tumblr than they are to pick up a copy of Seventeen and obsess over prom dresses. After all, in this new “woke” world, such things are considered hetero-normative and anti-feminist.
It seems like a joke, but popular teen-focused Internet media like Tavi Gevinson’s Rookie Mag are just as political as they are anything else. And Teen Vogue needs to move into the competitive digital space to survive—even if it means they’re probably limiting their audience to future Gender Studies majors.
Earlier this year, Conde Nast noted that, because of a steep decline in sales, Teen Vogue‘s print edition would be scaled down into a quarterly publication and, likely, moving to digital-only. And since feminism is now a celebrity pursuit, magazines (digital or otherwise) that used to cover celebrities now have to cover their unique (if ideologically vapid) version of “women’s rights” and policy.