Full disclosure: It’s been several years since the last time I picked up a Teen Vogue or Seventeen magazine, at 23 I’m a little old for these magazines.
There’s a lot of criticism about fashion magazines and how they impact teenage girls. There can be excessive photoshopping, and the industry favours stick-thin models that reflect an idea of ‘perfect’ that is pretty impossible to achieve.
Some teenage girls have decided they’ve had enough. An all-girl activist group called SPARK is challenging the images shown in teen magazines. First they took on Seventeen magazine, with results that exceeded expectations, after the August issue published a “body peace treaty” promising not to change girls’ faces or bodies in the book. However, members of the group received a cold response from Teen Vogue telling them to study the magazine, saying they do in fact feature real girls in the magazine, and they do feature diversity.
I decided to take a trip down magazine-memory lane with some old Teen Vogues. I was a loyal reader of the magazine between 2003 and 2010. I owned every copy from its “official” first issue (the mag launched in Feb/Mar 2003 in it’s mini-size, but had one test issue before that). It’s pretty safe to say Teen Vogue had an impact on my teenage years. And while it did show skinny white girls, there was also diversity – that’s what I loved about it. Six out of eight issues I flipped through had Asian models, something I remember appreciating (I’m half-Chinese). Teen Vogue encouraged me to have a unique style and introduced me to new music that wasn’t being played on the top-40 radio stations.
But hey, that’s just my take on a magazine I used to adore. I’m interested to see what the other twenty-somethings remember about their favourite teen magazines.
Did you read magazines such as Teen Vogue, Seventeen and the now defunct, CosmoGirl as a teen? What do you remember about them? How did they affect your teenage years?
Leah graduated from Ryerson University with her Bachelor of Journalism. She’s currently interning at a design magazine in Toronto and spending her spare time baking tasty cupcakes. You can follow her @ElleandBee.
[lead image via faanmail.tumblr.com]