The Unlikely Force Driving a Teen Revolution


How do you change the world? Apparently, one teen at a time.

I haven’t thought about Vogue since I could zip my skinny jeans – without lying down – but now it’s everywhere I look. It’s not the grown-up version I’m seeing, though. Teen Vogue, with articles ranging from a runway inspired nail polish to Trump’s cabinet picks, is changing what it means to be a modern-day magazine. With subscriptions across the board for magazines getting lower every day, Teen Vogue is actually gaining momentum.

Who knew that the leader of a revolution would be a teen fashion magazine?

How It All Started

In her beautifully-articulated – and cleverly named – How Trump Is Gaslighting America, Lauren Duca’s op-ed for the magazine went viral and ignited a revolution that Teen Vogue has been mounting the last year or so. From articles about the Black Lives Matter movement to issues involving gun control, the writers from Teen Vogue have been on the forefront of stories with national significance.

What’s truly surprising isn’t that the magazine – which has historically been solely about clothing lines and “does he like me” quizzes – is tackling complex and politically charged material. It’s that teenagers are down with it.

During a time when teens tend to be so self-absorbed they have trouble coming out of their bedrooms, their readership is giving the magazine legs. This generation, raised on the internet and a constantly embattled news feed, doesn’t shy away from social issues or civil involvement; we are raising a group of people who will have been civically active well before they could vote. For all our complaints about technology, here might be a shining ray of hope.

Better Business for Print Media

Teens like what’s happening with Teen Vogue, and that’s good, because it means subscription rates will go up. The magazine’s willingness to flirt with controversy has made for good business – in a world where no young person looks at print media anymore, this magazine is getting serious attention from teens to young adults, and, if I’m any indication, their mothers.

Teen Vogue got woke – and it’s already leading the charge of the next generation of voters.  What began as a way to grab the attention of an emerging market has led to a better business model. Perhaps the most important thing that it’s done is given young women permission to be both feminine and part of the political conversation.

How This Generation Offers Hope for the Rest of Us

Just like our parents before us, parents of today spend a lot of time bemoaning the state of the current generation, but the wave of popularity Teen Vogue is riding gives me real hope. They are driving the disruption that might be a to change politics as usual. Whatever your views, November’s election was a response to people tired of traditional politics, and, from what I see, this generation will have no patience for the inefficiency of the political machine.

Just because you want to know how to apply glitter nail polish the right way doesn’t mean you don’t care about why people in Trump’s administration keep getting fired. The articles assume girls are paying attention and that their voice will matter in issues of the future.  And I’m excited to see what they have to say.


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