The Vagenda

Miss Vogue: A Review

Puberty is a time of firsts. First bra, first period, and first magazines. I was initiated into the world of women’s media by such stellar titles as Sugar, Mizz, Bliss and Seventeen. They came with free lip-gloss that smelled of cherry and free advice that whiffed of bullshit.
A particular article that sticks in my mind was about how to stalk the guy you fancied. It even had a little chart where you could write down every place you spotted him so you could ‘get to know him better’. The rest of the pages were filled with ‘people who you will never ever look like’ and ‘embarrassing stories’ that nearly always involved tampons falling out of pencil cases.
I may have got through puberty, but young women are still being let down by teen magazines.
This month Vogue launched a younger sister publication, ‘Miss Vogue’.
I’m not sure which article was worst – the one about dating a rock star’s son (“superficial luxuries such as first-class flights, backstage passes and event invitations – things that shouldn’t matter in the least – became the things by which I began to define myself”) or the ‘trend’ piece about wearing crowns (“As it turns out, “birthday-party girl” is totally a “thing”. Whenever I wear a crown, people actually treat me like it’s some special day”).
An article about what to wear as an intern touched a particular nerve. I’m not sure how many (unpaid) interns can afford £240 bags, or why the bag you’re swinging on your arm is of much importance when you’re doing menial jobs for no money.
Miss Vogue underestimates the intelligence and creativity of teenage women by offering nothing new or challenging. Reading Miss Vogue would make my teenage self feel bored and fat. Reading Miss Vogue makes my 21 year-old self feel bored and fat.  
It makes me angry in a ‘why am I reading this’ kind of way, but it also makes me sad.
Near the back of the magazine come interviews with teenagers. They discuss body image issues, with one young woman saying, “it’s absolutely got to do with seeing images in the media  - the actresses, the models and the singers who are held up as being beautiful; they do often fit into a certain mould and a certain way of looking. And it’s very difficult not to compare oneself with them.”
That’s pretty poignant coming after pages and pages of skinny actresses, models and singers who look fresh off the conveyor belt.
Look at any poll ever to do with teenage body perception and ‘images in the media’ will rank pretty highly when it comes to damaging factors. But instead of listening to and addressing the issues faced by their own readers, teen magazines continue to pump out the same poison. A flick through Miss Vogue and a whizz around the websites of my old Mizz, Bliss and co show me that nothing much has changed. Just like when I was younger the models are skeletal and the advice is banal.
That Alexandra Shulman will be making a documentary revealing the artifice behind the fashion industry is to be welcomed, but why not tackle the artifice itself? What’s the use of handing young women a shovel if the bullshit just keeps coming? There is nothing wrong with being a teenager who is interested in fashion and who wants to read magazines. I was one myself. But teen magazines are so off the mark that they do nothing more than mess with impressionable minds.
My teenage years were when I started to become the person I was going to be. I needed as much help as I could get to figure out who I was and to feel confident in my skin. Reading teen magazines was like getting kicked in the back of the knees for every step I took.
I bought Miss Vogue on the same day as my little sister’s second birthday. Right now she seems a long way away from magazines (she can’t actually read). But there will probably come a day when she’ll take at least some sort of notice to the clothes she puts on in the morning.
I just hope the fashion industry grows up as quickly as she does.
- LP

5 thoughts on “Miss Vogue: A Review

  1. I felt the same sense of anger and disappointment after flicking through Miss Vogue- given all their power and resources you would think that they would be able to come up with something to inspire and celebrate young women rather than just make them feel bored and inadequate. After having a subscription to Vogue for almost a decade I have become increasingly disillusioned with the magazine in the past year and Miss Vogue might finally be the thing that makes me quit buying it for good….

  2. Someone should really start up a magazine for teens/ and or women that promotes healthy body image and sexuality while still being fashionable and entertaining (much like this website). I dread to think my future children will be exposed to the likes of Cosmo and Miss Vogue.

  3. All your points were the same as mine, I’m 21 and I grew up reading the us version of miss vogue—teen vogue. When it first started out it had some really good articles from the years 2004-2007, their current issues are quite similar to miss vogue. It’s really sad magazines for teenagers have not evolved, hugely disappointed for the aimed readers of Miss Vogue. However rookiemag is a good alternative!

  4. Even though I love Vogue and hoped that Miss Vogue would be of a good standard, I have to admit that I was skeptical about Miss Vogue. As a teenage girl I find it hard to find good quality teen magazines that include the fashion knowledge I desire while still valuing my intelligence and also my feminist values. At the moment the only one that I have found is Rookie, which I love and am mildly obsessed with, but that is it. I felt that Miss Vogue patronised me and included clothing and accessories that are well above my price range;I do agree that it is much like the intolerable Teen Vogue. Another negative aspect that I often see with teen magazines is that they hardly ever include good fashion writing that doesn’t seem ‘dumbed’ down. Currently, I split my time between normal Vogue, Elle and other fashion magazines for the high quality fashion that I crave and The Vagenda, Caitlin Moran and other feminist blogs for feminism. However, there is a desperate need for more high quality teen magazines as they address things that are, perhaps, more relevant to me at my stage in life. Also, my last point that I would like to make is that teen mags act as if they are pretty much ignorant about homosexuality. Normally, the only mention of it is included in one advice section of the magazine-which I find hugely limiting as the rest of the magazine is generally ‘what boys think’ or ‘how to get him to like you’ which isn’t very relevant to readers that are anything that isn’t straight.