Teen Vogue - Woke - Politics - what?

Reply Wed 19 Jul, 2017 10:53 am
Sometime last year I found myself going to Teen Vogue for their political coverage.

What's been going on there?



It is the website that runs Teen Vogue’s most overt political coverage, and has come to play a key role in repositioning the title as a passionate and informed, if unexpected, voice for the resistance. Picardi was hired from fashion and wellness site Refinery29, where he was manning the beauty desk. When interviewed for his current job, he was asked: “‘How do you take the title from a two to a 10?’ My answer was, ‘We have to give her [the reader] more.’” he tells me. “I thought it was really important to talk about reproductive rights, gender. To dig into politics and the news cycle. Basically, by omission, we were kind of assuming that she’s not interested.”


Picardi’s team watch the latest in the site’s Guys Read video series, in which young men read sexist comments made by real teachers to girls, to highlight the kind of casual yet systemic sexism that usually flies under the radar.

Also describing her readership as “genderless”, she explains that “it’s more about a sensibility. This is somebody who is sophisticated, conscious. We say ‘woke’ here. We’re a woke brand, and our readers are woke, too.”

The Merriam-Webster dictionary describes the word “woke”, a slang term, as “a byword for social awareness.”

Reply Wed 19 Jul, 2017 10:56 am
Coming in the wake of a summer of social and political unrest, Trump’s election created something of a perfect storm for Picardi’s new political agenda; the Teen Vogue news desk had already caused a stir with strong coverage of the Dakota Access pipeline protests and the Black Lives Matter movement. Instead of merely reporting them, Picardi says, they try to figure out what their readers will care about the most, and this often means finding the personal interest angle. One of the first stories Picardi went big on was the case of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who died of spinal injuries following a brief (unwarranted) stint in police custody. “Black male teens are 21 times as likely to be killed by police than their white counterparts – 21 times. Can you imagine that?” ran the opening paragraph. “Think about your brothers, cousins, fathers – can you imagine hearing that number and seeing their faces in your head?”

There were several years when Teen Vogue was seen to embody the most bland type of media aimed at young girls
Do Teen Vogue’s readers see themselves the same way the editors do? I talked to 16-year-old Paige Wagner, who says truthfulness and trust are the main reasons she reads it, since “most of what I read on social media is unreliable”. For her, “The recent presidential election brought to the surface a lot of important issues that weren’t getting as much attention as they should have: women’s rights, LGBTQ community rights, immigration.” Like many young people, Wagner is galvanised by the election, in which she saw “a complete misrepresentation of the younger generation. It’s important now to educate young minds so they can form a political identity. We are the future of America.”

Does she see a conflict between the glossy glamour of a Condé Nast publication and political reporting? No, she says: it’s “brilliant” that she might see fashion advertising on the same page as a story on the environment. “I think it’s OK to be interested in both.”

so glad Teen Vogue is doing this
so glad they're finding a broader readership
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