Why Don't We Trust Teen Girls with Politics?
This week, a trending Twitter topic caught the attention of the fashion world and promptly proceeded to blow up. Teen Vogue, the sister publication of Vogue targeted to a younger demographic, had published an article about Donald Trump titled "Donald Trump is Gaslighting America", and the internet was imploding.
Many internet commentators - mostly men - were shocked by the fact that Teen Vogue would publish such a politically charged article. They either applauded the strides made by this primarily fashion publication, or dismissed the post and (in their own way) told Teen Vogue to go back to writing about LBD's and winged eyeliner. What they failed to recognize is that Teen Vogue has been publishing politically significant content for awhile now.
This in itself could be an entire article - and it is. For more information about how Teen Vogue is changing the teen publication game, check out articles here and here. But that's not what we're going to focus on in this piece.
Why don't we trust teen girls with politics? While this recent event is notable, it is definitely not out of the ordinary. Based on the reactions of the internet alone, it is clear that many believe that women are incapable of thinking about couture and Congress, velvet and vetoes or eyeliner and elections. They believe that women must fall into one of two categories: those who read Teen Vogue and those who subscribe to the New York Times.
This is an issue that has plagued the fashion industry for years. It is a misconception that is rooted completely in the way that women are still valued in our society - there are still to do this day some interests/beliefs that are considered for women only, and so are devalued by the general population. Fashion is one of these interests. It is considered frivolous in a way that an interest considered male-specific - like sports - would never be.
As a society, we need to get on board with the fact that it is possible to enjoy something creative and optimistic like fashion and something serious and intellectual like politics. In fact, fashion and politics are equally creative and optimistic, serious and intellectual. They are more alike than most would believe. Women are dynamic, capable and interested in the world around them - as are men.
We need to trust that the average American has an interest in learning more about their country, developing opinions about the course their society should take - and an interest in picking out the perfect outfit in the morning. As a publication that serves the average American teenage woman - Teen Vogue is the perfect platform for political conversations. In fact, more publications should encourage their audiences to consider differing opinions - especially younger readers. Imagine how much more informed we would be as a culture if politics were ingrained, even in a low proportion, into everything we read- even the latest issue of Teen Vogue. That's the kind of world we want to live in.
What publications have you been impressed with when it comes to political content? Which publications do you wish would talk about politics more?