'Teen Vogue' Op-Ed Is The Perfect Reminder That Girls Can Be Interested In Both Fashion And Politics

"I can have flawless skin AND slash the patriarchy."

On Saturday, journalist Lauren Duca's remarkable excoriation of President-elect Donald Trump was published in an op-ed. Tracing the origin of the term "gas light" to a 1938 Victorian thriller, gas lighting, she wrote, is an attempt to manipulate a person into questioning their own sanity. "And that's precisely what Trump is doing to this country," Duca wrote, then proceeded to spell out the long list of lies he's told during his campaign and after the election.

"The gas lighting part comes in when the fictions are disputed by the media, and Trump doubles down on his lies, before painting himself as a victim of unfair coverage, sometimes even threatening to revoke access," she wrote.

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The piece wouldn't have caused such a scene on social media if not for the fact that it was published in Teen Vogue, a magazine for young girls typically associated with manicure trends and Selena Gomez news. Reactions ranged from surprise to outrage to incessant praise, but for longtime readers — teenage girls and adult women alike — it was yet another quality editorial piece they've come to expect from publications like Teen Vogue

Duca's op-ed being a political piece, much of the criticism was what one might expect: "snowflake," "uninformed liberal," "leftist propaganda," and the litany of gendered insults that plague female journalists. But many were shocked that Teen Vogue would publish content beyond fashion, beauty, and entertainment, and expressed as much. 

For those paying attention, Teen Vogue has increasingly become a force in journalism this year. The magazine seems to have little qualms about its no-holds-barred approach to covering the president-elect, and it has tackled hard-hitting news stories like the Standing Rock protest, police shootings and their aftermath, and vice president-elect Mike Pence's record of fighting against LGBT and reproductive rights.

In a Guardian piece responding to Duca's op-ed, Hannah Jane Parkinson credited much of Teen Vogue's stellar coverage this year is to editor-in-chief Elaine Welteroth's direction. But compelling journalism has lived in the pages of women's magazines for a long time, often giving voices to those who have been shunned or neglected by other traditional publications. (Vanity Fair published the first-hand account of one of the women who accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault.) 

The criticism of Teen Vogue and Duca that recommends focusing instead on fashion, beauty, and lifestyle dismisses the fact that women can be interested in all of that — as well as politics, race, sexual identity, mental health, and a whole lot of other "serious" issues. That intersection of interests is something that we, too, find ourselves constantly inspired by here at A Plus.

And as respected media outlets continue to glamorize and normalize "dapper" white nationalists, it could well end up being women's magazines that whip the rest of the industry into shape. 

Cover image via Gino Santa Maria / Shutterstock.com.

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