Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Teen Vogue: September Issue Review

Teen Vogue- September Issue: w/ Anne Hathaway

Some of you know that I had this really big issue with Teen Vogue a month or so back. Being very disappointed with its downwhirling content and lack of response, I wrote, a lot, and after a long headache, eventually got into contact with Amy Astley, the EIC, who basically said she would take my concerns into consideration. But I mean, honestly, who am I, right? It's not like I am expecting them to make any huge changes.

I had a couple major issues with:

1. Teen Vogue's disappointing choice of tween and unmerited/little-talent celebrities as covergirls and the constant coverage of them. [*cough* 2x covergirl Lauren Conrad, Emma Roberts, 2x covergirl Emma Watson]

2. More and more, Teen Vogue seems that it's being made expressly for those who can afford to be in their magazine. By that, I mean children of socialites, designers, in general--rich socialite kids, etc., get highlighted in their magazine-- even instead of fashion-savvy teens (no matter what their household income).

3. Their staff (interns) are all extremely privileged and get their positions primarily through their personal connections [what I based my opinion on].

I find that if they keep on this trend, they'll see their readers turned off more and more.

Some of you may ask the same thing Amy Astley bluntly asked, "If it infuriates you so, why do you keep reading Teen Vogue?" Well, like I said to her, it's because it started off so well as a teen fashion magazine...and then I started noticing that more and more it got into this annoying quagmire, highlighted by 3 of the above points.

So these Teen Vogue "reviews" are to see: Are they at Teen Vogue trying to make a difference? Should I keep subscribing? And should you buy the latest issue?

Here is BOTH the good and bad of their September issue, starting with opinions regarding the 3 points:

On Point 1. Overall, this issue wasn't as bad at that. Still, there were the repeat offenders: the constant mentions and inclusions of Camilla Belle and Lauren Conrad. I really think Camilla Belle is a T.V. fav with an unfound hulabaloo about her.

What I found quite hilarious was how they mentioned Lauren Conrad-- their Hills intern. They managed to stuff her photo in one of the main articles, "The Pressure to be Sexy". The article itself was actually quite good and very relevant: on how today everyone's trying to out-sex each other with revealing photos. However, they totally tainted it with an inclusion of Lauren as "Hot but Not Oversexed"...not to be catty, but this is the girl, who asides from not being the best role model in the world, had a brief moment of exposure for having made a sex tape which had gotten into the public media.

Also, imagine my surprise that the front cover of Yahoo yesterday morning, which showcased a clip of "The Hills" --capturing a heated moment between Heidi and Lauren where they have a loud insult match, yelling at each other for being "sad" and "pathetic" with shouts of, "YOU'LL NEVER BE MY FRIEND AGAIN!!". [click the below picture to go to the clip]

Geez, so much drama surrounding a Teen Vogue intern. Sure got a keeper there. I cannot believe why Teen Vogue would get an intern with so much dirty laundry to air...I mean, it's just got to be the publicity, no matter how good or bad it is. They don't really care how her character reflects on Teen Vogue or how it may impact their readers...as long as they get publicity. I've watched a few episodes of The Hills myself a year or so ago-- entertaining but not... what you want your tween girls watching-- she's not really role model/covergirl material (teetering around drunken on screen?). And Teen Vogue just loves to feature her! So no matter what they say about not just hiring LC cause she's a reality TV star...

They do get brownie points for featuring a star over the age of 20 though-- Anne Hathway (substantial article! not like the dead one-pager on LC and Port)

On Point 2. Miniscule improvement about this. I say this because although they did manage to squeeze in a few spawn of celebrities (who, as Ellen Pompeo has said, are "rich & famous" for being "rich & famous"-- what kind of message to send out to today's youth?). I didn't mind the minor insert of Tallulah Willis (although the past cover story on the Willis/Max Azria children was tiring) or even the (brace yourselves) article with the Vera Wang children as well...who always seem to make it into every issue...extremely annoyed about. I didn't mind it as much this time because they were promoting their mother's Kohl's line. However I'm already wondering how they're going to squeeze them in October...

Teen Vogue didn't do so much better on the including less of "born-privileged kids". Once again, the redo-a-room article was about some well-off Manhattanite (they hardly ever go out of NYC) teen, who (can I be blunt) no doubt, has a mother with good connections.

On Point 3. Besides the above said, concerning Lauren Conrad, they also managed to include a little photo of the rest of the interns. Surprisingly, they're not all blonde-- yeah we've got some brunettes...but they do all seem caucasian. Then that got me to thinking, well...in her letter, although she said the "win an internship at Teen Vogue" winner was not chosen because of personal connections (which I actually don't doubt) Ms. Astley never denied that the majority of girls included are all extremely privileged, and from well-off families with good social connections.

I guess it is the type of people Teen Vogue is featuring more and more that is what's unfortunate.

Now, as for everything else (good and bad):

Their feedback section wasn't concerning the LC August one I fumed about so I guess I'll have to wait on that one to see if they'll put down the true opinions from readers (I've been on the forums myself & I'm not the only one with those 3 point concerns).

Another main article, besides the oversexed-issue one, was written by a girl who was severely affected by 9/11, what she went through, and the aftermath of the event on her. It was very in-depth, touching, and even thought-provoking. Overall, a great article. There was even another article with good content about a model's self consciousness and self esteem when it came to her acne problem. It was very relatable. There was also a useful article on the best snacks for certain situations and tips on how to take the perfect yearbook photo. They also had something on the current crowd's extreme addiction to technology and tech communication. So it seems that Teen Vogue has great educational and enriching content (at least in this issue), but their much adored tween focus on celebrities and privileged kids is just plain annoying.

About other bits... They had something on Irina & Agyness, but they're kind of old news already, and the articles were kind of...unrelatable (I thought their last one on Coco Rocha was done well). As for fashion-wise, they were pretty on trend with their A-Z fall fashion guide, well-written, their style articles, and they also had a page of actual street fashion. Their DIY section was featured by Phillip Lim with a spruced up oxford. Teen Vogue normally does pretty well by their DIYs, they pick just the right designers at the right time. Of course, I love Phillip Lim & Wenlan Chia, so...

Lastly, they had a fashion spread based in Beijing. It was pretty impressive; they used a model from a local village and also used local influences in and wares for the shoot. Not to mention, it was very beautifully shot.

However, the low points were that it was a little too stereotypical-- they outfitted the model with all these traditional and very asian head-dresses. Not even contemporary chinese people wear their hair like that.

I understand it was a "very asian" photoshoot, but I think they could've gone a little modern with the hair if they could do so with the clothes. Also, we all know I'm not crazy about fur.

[disclaimer: most these photos are property of Teen Vogue]

Speaking of Beijing (what a segway!) you can take a moment of action from Save Darfur:
One year from today, the Summer Olympic Games will begin in Beijing, China.

To mark this date, Save Darfur Coalition partner Dream for Darfur is launching its own Olympic torch relay in Chad, across the border from Darfur. The torch will tour the world, including sites of other genocides and many U.S. cities, until it reaches China's doorstep in December.

All nations must do more to stand up for the people of Darfur. However, China's economic, political, and military ties to the Sudanese government give it considerable influence over Sudan's decisions. China therefore has a tremendous responsibility to help end this tragedy. That is the message we sent two weeks ago when I delivered 42,000 Save Darfur Coalition activist petitions to the Chinese Embassy in D.C.

Unfortunately, so far, China's actions have not been enough.

As next year's Olympics draw near, we must ramp up world pressure on China. Click here now to sign our new petition and make sure China gets the message.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I stopped reading teen vogue several months ago. Although I am a bit older than its intended audience, i loved it in the beginning for its fashion which was a bit more with in my limits afforability-wise and the size! I love smaller mags...it has sadly declined.

No I can't read Japanese but I rarely read any of my fashion mags anyway, I am just obsessed with the imagery and products and the designer names are always in English!

12:57 PM  
Blogger Aisha said...

I don't read teen vogue. I've read the Vogue magazines many times, but not the teen's one.

As you, I can't stand the fact of talentless girls in the cover either. I prefer models on it =)


1:59 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

hey there! thanks for stopping by! nice post!
i used to get teen vogue but got tired of it and now i get nylon (:
i dislike their interns [like annabelle dexter-jones] who obviously can't do much more than dress themselves and got the job because of their connections...

2:04 PM  
Blogger -ciao bella- said...

i still read teen vogue, i just generally love the magazine, my suggestion is to give it a few more issues and then re-evaluate. the past few issues have been a little...well you know. but i think that they'll pick it up in winter

3:46 PM  
Blogger LML said...

i started officially subscribing to teen vogue J/J06 and picked up random issues before that. sometimes i dont like their covergirls but i always like ther fashion editotrials (seveteen has gone down the drain). i agree with ciao bella - just get a few more issues becuase i think they will change - especially with all this crazy hollywood stuff going on now. i love anne hathaway and i heard october's covergirl will be gwen stefani - whom i love for her music, fashion, and down to earth personality!

4:07 PM  
Blogger Frasypoo said...

Seventeen is as bad...horrible fashions too!Always full of Lauren Conrad
Thanks for stopping by

6:17 PM  
Blogger M said...

great coverage of the magazine! can't wait to see your upcoming ones as well. even though i'm only 18, i feel really old reading this magazine, maybe i should just stick to vogue

9:53 PM  
Blogger penelope said...

i'm 17 and though i've noticed tt d girls featured are mostly all rich & famous etc; i've cont reading and supporting teen vogue.

i think one of d reasons tt they're doing wht they're doing is bcos; they're cashing onto the dreams of all girls out there. everyone wants to succeed and be somewht lyk LC (whether or not she's a gd role model or not).

honestly, i've done a lil psychology and; found tt; it'll be almost boring for one to read abt the mundane life of an "average girl", thus everyone is gravitating twd the 1% of the world's pop.

it's sad but it's a phase for me( and others). tt's why u see Elle and Vogue featuring real, strong women and celebs. somehow; those articles make u see those featured, as a real, fellow human being.

thanks for such a though provoking post! i'm such a fan!
and thanks for d comment!!
(bright tights are d best!)

ps/ beijing an be super cold during fall and winter too:D

10:39 PM  
Blogger Tru said...

i love teen vogue but I have to agree with all your points. hopefully they will change

7:32 AM  
Blogger alexgirl said...

Great review! You really went in depth. Very cool. I don't pick up Teen Vogue very often, and I think I'll skip this issue, too. Thanks for the highlights!
And thanks for commenting on my wedding dress! lol.
If you're in the market for a fun summer book to read, I hope you'll pick up my new novel. It's called Back Talk, and I think you'd like it!!

12:21 PM  
Blogger fashionistakay said...

I read Teen Vogue but believe that you raised some good issues. The items of clothing and accessories feautured are def. not for the every day person. They're quite pricey. But I find inspiration and good articles every so often.very good post.

3:12 PM  
Blogger sara said...

When i saw Anne Hathaway on the cover, I knew I had to get it. I love her. this month's teen vogue doesn't seem that bad.

and totally agree: we could do with out any L.C. stuff, i can't believe she even got to be an intern, she's doesn't even work hard (from what i can tell on The Hills).

she goes out and party's all night, the fights with Heidi, how is she the kind of people teen vogue is looking for?

x sara o

will def go vintage

7:47 PM  
Blogger *** MeMiLy EdD *** said...

That was an amazing post!
i don't really read teen vogue but still it was very good!

5:46 AM  
Blogger The Stiletto Effect said...

hey :)

this is why i love your blog so much! because you really care about stuff!

I totally agree with you about Teen Vogue and i also agree with the fact that you should tell them what you think.

btw i cant stand LC and her friends anymore (*vomits*) and you are right when you say they give the mag a bad image and they are not good examples for teens out there! wish their interns were people who really like fashion and who really cares about it!

once again, great post!


6:34 AM  
Blogger coco said...

i know what you mean id they have a 'normal' teen in the mag their parents are like millonaires or famous artists.
i like something about it though becuase i always buy it.
anne was a good cover girl

1:25 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

I use to love teenvogue so much but your right it hasen't been as good lately though they've had record sales because of "the hills" that's why they keep plugging lauren etc she's bringing them money, hopefully the mag comes back to it's senses. I much prefer elle girl better content!

4:59 AM  
Anonymous isleyn said...

i haven't read your blog in so long. it's always been in the back of my mind, but i lost the link haha. i found it though!

i'm sad to say that the only magazine that we get that i actually read is better homes. haha. and that was because we got a free subscription of it from a friend or something. (no more subscriptions to elledecor. boo!)

your thoughts are always so much fun to read. i get to compare what i think to what you think.

being me, i smiled like an idiot at my computer screen when i saw that you loved phillip lim. haha. I LOVE HIM TOO! none of my friends know him -_- oh well lol. their loss. i have to go back and read more! i'll try to make it a routine thing now. :) hope your doing well!

8:17 PM  
Blogger Gloria said...

I've just got to say I love you guys! I could tell all your comments had a lot of thought put in them.

so here goes for responding individually--

countrygirl: I feel like I should stop reading because I'm 18 already and move onto Vogue, Harpers, and Elle...but I have such a peter pan I-want-to-be-a-kid-as-long-as-possible mentality. Anyhow, I don't think it's bad to read teen mags and YA novels sometimes even when older. :)

aisha: I wish I could just move onto Vogue... and I agree absolutely with the talentless girls thing.

amy: I was curious about nylon a month ago (wanted some fresher mag) but I've never picked it up.
There's so many european magazine that I wish were sold in NJ!

ciao bella: I do agree (thought I'm a bit cynical) so I'm doing the reviews...we'll see...:P

lml: I agree with you on the covergirls and fashion editorials aspect. I don't personally know how seventeen has been doing lately on the latter (haven't bothered to renew)...but I feel they could also use some more artistic direction on the covershoots. I do hope their october girl is someone along the same tier as gwen stefani!

frasypoo: seventeen's full of LC too? say it ain't so!

m: I totally agree, however I haven't matured to that level yet...lol

penelope: your analysis was mind-boggling! the sheer breadth of your comment was astounding, lol. However, I don't think it's too boring to read about an avg girl; I would like to see girls who are not privleged but have done great (or extraordinary) things. Or else who have a great fashion sense but not just from a high-income, well-connected family.

tru: thanks for the comment! :)

alexgirl: thanks! It means a lot to have a writer tell me I wrote a good review ;)

fashionistakay: thanks for the compliment! I'm glad you agree.

sara: I'm glad you totally get what I'm saying! I don't understand it either...

memilly edd: thanks a bunch! :)

Su: thank you so much, I felt the same way about speaking my mind. love all your points!

coco: it's like you're reading my mind! That's exactly what ticks me off about it...

jennifer: that's good reasoning. isn't elle girl not printed anymore though? (I used to like it when it was still around though!) maybe it's still in circuit in Australia.?

Isleyn: Haha, WE get Better Homes too! (I got it for my mom but she doesn't really read it...) I didn't know there was elledecor...but I love Domino mag (no complaints here) and Lucky isn't too bad either. thanks for the compliments. :)

ps. I love that you "smiled like an idiot" when you saw we both adore phillip lim! ;)

8:19 PM  
Blogger indie said...

Thank you for this review!
This issue of Teen Vogue seems buy-able...Anne Hathaway is a belle.

Oh and ellegirl is still in exsistent in some countries, like russia. It was much better than Teen Vogue, methinks. And I'm going to do a blog entry about it soon.

11:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The girl on 225 must be new she looked good need to see more of her.

8:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i read teen vogue and i'm quite fond of it.

i think that it's rude of you to talk about lauren conrad. just because she is a star, doesn't mean she has to be perfect. everyone makes their mistakes & everyone has their fights with friends. she is a good role model because she has good morals and handles problems well. she's made mistakes along the way, but her fights don't have to be picked apart by people like you, that's ridiculous. the next time you get into a fight with someone, i'd love for you to record it and put it on national television, then read about people picking it apart. you yell when you're upset and say thing just to say them.

11:46 AM  
Blogger Gloria said...

dear "anonymous",

although, "anonymous" doesn't really help your cred., you are certainly entitled to your opinion. this comes with the territory though, stars will be under scrutiny. it's just the way this world works.

but i do admire how strong a supporter you are of her. although i still find her privleged and undeserving. as do many others.

12:04 PM  

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