Why We Love Teen Vogue’s Feminist Issue

by Erika W. Smith

How long has it been since you picked up a teen magazine? For most of us, it’s probably been years — not least because most of the teen mags of yore have long since folded (RIP YM, Teen People, CosmoGirl and, of course, Sassy).

You might want to consider picking up a teen magazine again, because Teen Vogue’s February issue has a major feminist theme — and we’re impressed. Here’s why:

We’ve long been fans of Teen Vogue’s awesome cover star Amandla Stenberg, who’s spoken out against racism and cultural appropriation since she was a preteen playing Rue in The Hunger Games. Now 17, Amandla is publishing a comic book about a black girl elf—much-needed in the whitewashed fantasy landscape—as well as continuing to act. She used the occasion of her cover to publicly come out as bisexual and address issues of representation for black and queer women in an inspiring Snapchat speech. Plus, the ultimate cool girl, Solange, conducted the feature interview and Amandla looks AMAZING in the photos.

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There’s also a big feature on “The Faces of Young Feminism,” featuring girls in their teens and early twenties, from celebs like Girl Meets World star and activist Rowan Blanchard to entrepreneurs like muslimgirl.net founder Amani Al-Khatahtbeh. In another feature, supermodel Cara Delevingne interviews model Adwoa Aboah about mental illness and addiction—two issues that many teens deal with but far too few teen-marketed publications talk about.

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You’ll also catch pieces about Know Your IX, an organization of survivors that teaches students their rights regarding on-campus sexual assault; a teenage feminist zine maker; and why young girls participate in “camouflaging” — hiding their passions and interests to blend in with their peers. There’s even a shopping page with a feminist theme, featuring items including a Gloria Steinem poster, Carrie Brownstein’s book Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl and a phone case reading “Pizza rolls not gender roles.” (Want.) At the bottom of another page, there’s a timeline of inspirational activist women from Eleanor Roosevelt and Frida Kahlo to Misty Copeland and Jennifer Lawrence.

There are many women of color included included: Moroccan model Imaan Hammam shares her favorite things about her home country and Black-Ish star Yara Shahidi gets the “Last Look” page. There’s a beauty feature on the best makeup for dark skin, titled “Black Girl Magic” and including advice from Lupita Nyong’o’s and Beyonce’s makeup artists— and, on the next page, “a love letter to my brown skin” from a reader.

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When I was a teen, I counted my Orlando Bloom issue of Teen Vogue as a treasured possessions. You can bet I’ll be hanging onto the Amandla Stenberg issue, too — but for very different reasons.

magazine 2011 cosl 2005 10 cover copyDefinitely had this hanging in my locker in 2005. #tbt

Images: Teen Vogue

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Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

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