Is Teen Vogue appropriate for a 13-year old?
September 18, 2017 1:52 PM   Subscribe

I keep seeing links to cool/thoughtful articles about current topics in Teen Vogue (today's example: Why Hollywood’s White Savior Obsession Is an Extension of Colonialism). But, I've never seen the hard copy magazine to get a sense of the overall tone of the print magazine, and whether it is really pitched to older teens (say 16+), or whether it would be ok for a younger teen who can read articles at the level of the one I linked. I'd get a subscription for my daughter if it's the latter.

I mean, I can check out the website and see the kind of stuff they have there, but that doesn't give me a good sense of the overall "feel" of the magazine hard copy. Also, I'm not seeing the ads, and that's also part of a print magazine experience.

So, for anyone who has seen the print version, what say you?

(Also, if you have other suggestions for good hard copy magazines for a young teen, I'll take those too. I saw this post from 2013, but maybe there are some new thoughts. Also, I prefer hard copy rather than online-only as an alternative to screen time.)
posted by msbubbaclees to Media & Arts (21 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
My understanding is that some of Teen Vogue's more explicitly "woke" articles are only published online -- so the print edition may not be exactly what you're looking for. Here's an interesting profile on Teen Vogue's EIC that gives additional context!
posted by kylej at 1:59 PM on September 18, 2017

I just listened to a discussion about Teen Vogue on Slate's Double X Gabfest. It might be helpful for you to hear the 15 minute discussion - it talked specifically about some of the differences in the print content and the online content (print content is lighter, heavily edited).
posted by vunder at 2:00 PM on September 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

I bought one issue. It was absolutely fine for a 13 year old, but unfortunately, my feminist and fashion loving then 14 year old was not interested. Felt too "messagy" for her I think.
posted by latkes at 2:07 PM on September 18, 2017

Just buy an issue and see what you think!
posted by latkes at 2:15 PM on September 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

What kinds of things are you worried about her seeing? What would make it appropriate or inappropriate?
posted by lunasol at 2:24 PM on September 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

Just buy an issue and see what you think!
Or see if a library near you carries it? That would potentially let you look at a bunch of different issues, to avoid getting thrown by a single one having more or less of some content than usual...
posted by FlyingMonkey at 2:29 PM on September 18, 2017 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Good question, lunasol, I had to think about it myself for a minute. I guess I'd consider a lot of sex-related content as not really appropriate for my daughter at her age (stuff like "10 tips for getting the most out of your sexytimes"). But, you're right, "appropriate" is certainly in the eye of the beholder. So, perhaps people familiar with the print version can just share their impressions of the magazine overall. I definitely appreciate the info from kylej about the difference between the print and online versions--I didn't know that.
posted by msbubbaclees at 2:30 PM on September 18, 2017

As a general rule, magazines are aspirational. Seventeen is for thirteen-year-olds, Cosmo's for 19-22, Teen Vogue is for tweens, Sunset is for fortysomethings who are never going to be able to afford to retire.

Looking through the past few months' issues, I would stay the print magazine is exactly like a teen fashion magazine EXCEPT it's non-exploitative and intersectional. The fashion is relatively modest, the models are diverse, the articles are not about how to make boys want to do stuff with you. Lots of sneakers and puffy vests and articles on green tea and teen activists and Michelle Obama interviewing Zendaya. There are a ton of perfume samples and lots of advertising for skincare and makeup, but that's what fashion magazines are.

In any case, it's only $5 a year and they're quick to flip through if you want to subscribe and check out a few issues yourself.
posted by Lyn Never at 2:31 PM on September 18, 2017 [25 favorites]

Teen Vogue is leading the revolution and is woke as fuck. The only sex advice they're giving these days is around consent and boundaries.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:33 PM on September 18, 2017 [12 favorites]

Fair warning: I bought a gift subscription for a 14 year old friend and discovered that there is no way to get Teen Vogue (and their owners, Conde Nast) to stop sending me email spam. I've hit that unsubscribe button every single time. I've now taken to forwarding the spam emails to a list of Conde Nast executives (because this sort of thing makes me irrationally angry).
posted by mcduff at 2:42 PM on September 18, 2017 [4 favorites]

If you are bothered by the magazine acknowledging the existence of queerness, the gender spectrum, feminism, multi-racial identities and the problem with whiteness, bodily autonomy and reproductive rights, consent, social justice etc all those things exist in the universe of the magazine. It has a woke consciousness even in print. But it's not a how-to manual for any of those things, and I feel like everything I've seen has a strong awareness that their tween/young teen audience is going to be along a broad emotional developmental range, and nothing's written to shock.

I know some people believe that if their kids don't know about gender or whatever they'll be happier for longer, and TV is not the magazine for those families, but if you are preparing a kid to launch into the world as a demi-adult soon this is not a bad bit of entry material.
posted by Lyn Never at 2:43 PM on September 18, 2017 [4 favorites]

Subscribed for my 13-y-o. Love it.
posted by heathrowga at 2:45 PM on September 18, 2017

Hey, I got a print subscription to teen vogue because I wanted to support the awesome journalism they're doing and it's pretty cheap.

I would say they're is about 1-2 strong articles per issue. I would also agree with Lyn Mever's and DarlingBri's assessments.

I just picked up the most recent issue off my coffee table and flipped through it. There's literally nothing about sex in this issue and I wouldn't hesitate for a moment to hand it to any 12 year old.
posted by raccoon409 at 2:45 PM on September 18, 2017 [2 favorites]

Oh the ads aren't anything particularly different from what you'd find in another fashion magazine (except they actually include women of color). A mix of nail polish, clothes, deodorant, etc. Nothing was overly sexy or nearly naked women showing tits to sell perfume.
posted by raccoon409 at 2:47 PM on September 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

The only sex advice they're giving these days is around consent and boundaries.

And anal, although that may have been online-only.
posted by themanwho at 3:48 PM on September 18, 2017 [3 favorites]

Yeah, I was going to bring up the anal article as well - if facebook comments are a good barometer, that was VERY controversial among the concerned parent types for a while (my goodness, they spammed every single article with critical comments about that article for months...). If that's the kind of content you're worried about your kid reading, then teen magazines might not be appropriate yet. But personally I think that sort of article is age-appropriate for a 13-year-old who is old enough to understand ideas about sex and young enough to benefit from clear, non-hearsay sources of information.
posted by mosst at 3:27 AM on September 19, 2017 [2 favorites]

They published an article about how to have anal sex recently. You can read it yourself here. Based on that article, I would be a bit wary about subscribing to it for a teenage girl because:

1) the diagrams of male and female anatomy are labelled as "anatomy of a prostate owner" and "anatomy of a non-prostate owner" which feels dehumanising to me, and the diagram of the "non-prostate owner" doesn't even have the clitoris on it (labelled or otherwise) which is absurd.
2) there is a little advice in the article about how to make it not hurt for girls, but there isn't anything much about how to make it actually feel good. The whole article is written as if women don't have clitorises (see point 1).
3 )there is no discussion of basic hygiene and safety things with regards to anal sex that you should be aware of as a girl or a woman: peeing after sex to avoid UTI's, changing condoms before you go from anal to vaginal sex, how to relax the muscles around your anus.
4) there is no discussion about the pressure girls now get from their (usually male) partners about having anal sex and how to negotiate that. The only advice is about how to ask your partner to have anal sex, none about saying no.
posted by colfax at 5:18 AM on September 19, 2017 [2 favorites]

I apologize for contributing to a derail, but Colfax, regarding your first point, that would be because some women and nonbinary folks have prostates and some men and nonbinary people don't, so I would say that language is a feature, not a bug.
posted by ITheCosmos at 5:24 AM on September 19, 2017 [8 favorites]

Yeah, Teen Vogue has been publishing a lot of 'woke' articles lately, but they've also, on a possibly related tangent, been publishing a lot more explicit sex and sex-related how-tos that I personally would not be comfortable with my 14 year old reading, which is why I haven't bought her a subscription. Instead, I just add the cooler articles to the 'cool thing I found on the internet' that I send to her via social media or whatever.
posted by corb at 6:57 AM on September 19, 2017 [2 favorites]

Putting aside everything else, the article in question is online-only, and does not reflect the content of the print magazine.
posted by Shmuel510 at 7:02 AM on September 19, 2017 [4 favorites]

My daughter has a print subscription and the more explicit sex how to articles aren't in it. They're online only.
posted by cooker girl at 4:21 AM on September 20, 2017

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