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Girls protest Teen Vogue and meet with ‘rude’ editors


Brogan Driscoll
WVoN co-editor 

Teen Vogue magazine has been targeted by a group of girls unhappy with the magazine’s ‘unrealistic’ portrayal of beauty. Its editors, however, seem less than open to criticism.

The girls, disturbed by the damaging effects of fashion magazines on young readers, protested outside Conde Nast’s New York Office in Times Square.

Armed with ‘Keep it Real’ placards and a petition with 28,000 signatures, the girls put on a mock fashion show before meeting with the magazine’s editors.

For 17-year-old Emma Stydahar and Carina Cruz, 16, meeting with the editors was a far cry from what they had expected.

“It was kind of shocking how rude they were to us,” Cruz told NY Daily News after they were handed copies of the magazine to ‘study’.

“We have done our homework,” she continued. “That’s why we started this campaign, because three out of every four girls feel bad about themselves after reading a fashion magazine.

“We walked in, there was no handshake, no my name is, none of that. Just you sit here, you sit here. So you wanted this meeting — what do you want to say,” Stydahar told Jezebel.

“We said what is in our petition. They proceeded to take out handfuls of magazines with little Post-It notes in them, [marking] what they perceived to be diverse images.

“Most of them were thin African-American models. It was a good start – we love seeing women of colour in these magazines. But two or three an issue – and all of them super stick skinny – isn’t what we’re looking for.”

The action comes days after the girls, affilated with the SPARK movement – a group dedicated to ending the sexualisation of women and girls in media – secured a promise from Seventeen magazine pledging to change the way women are presented in its publication (see WVoN story).

“We’re really excited,” the girls said.

“Seventeen didn’t just promise one un-photoshopped spread a month, they went even further by promising not to change the faces or body size of their models, to listen to readers’ feedback and to celebrate beauty in all of its diverse shapes, sizes and colours.”

Earlier this year Vogue, also of Conde Nast, took a stand against eating disorders and the use of underage models in the fashion industry. The magazine issued a six-point plan detailing how it planned to tackle the issue (see WVoN story).

  1. So inspiring to see young women being passionate about this and challenging the industry! And great that at least some seem to realise they need to respond to these concerns – ignoring them won’t cut it for much longer… Kind of ironic that Vogue doesn’t seem to want to be at the forefront of this particular ‘trend’…

  2. Quite frankly, they ned to be realistic. Teen Vogue is not, and will never be, the same as Seventeen. Teen Vogue casts some of the same models as its parent magazine…the same girls who walk in runway shows. Seventeen is much more budget-oriented and “down-to-earth”, if you will. Its priority is inexpensive clothing, among many other topics Teen Vogue doesn’t deal with (sex advice, ways to earn money, college tips). So why should Teen Vogue diversify its cast of models as readily as Seventeen? Seventeen has never used REAL models, they have nothing to lose. And for the record, there are many Asian, African American models in Teen Vogue. They just happen to be sample size.

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