Teen Vogue Snubs High School Protesters During Scheduled Meeting [UPDATE]
10:45 am, July 12th | by Laura Donovan
Over the last few weeks it’s been fascinating to watch high school girls call upon teen magazines to cut down on Photoshopping and feature more realistic images of young women. The first of these protests targeted Seventeen magazine; now, a group of high schoolers has set its sights on Teen Vogue. But it was only a matter of time before one of the campaigns experienced some bumps in the road. That appears to have happened to 17-year-old Emma Stydahar and 16-year-old Carina Cruz, whose Teen Vogue protest earned them a meeting with the publication’s higher-ups on Wednesday. Though the girls drew in a large crowd at their mock photoshoot across the street from Condé Nast’s headquarters, their chat with the magazine’s staffers didn’t go over so smoothly.
In a statement released to The Jane Dough, a Change.org rep explained that Stydahar and Cruz’s sit-down with Teen Vogue was short, underwhelming and dismissive:
Following their mock fashion show today, Emma and Carina met with Teen Vogue Editor-in-Chief Amy Astley and her staff to deliver over 25,000 petition signatures and encourage the magazine’s executives to pledge to show real girls on their pages.
The meeting lasted less than five minutes, and Astley did not talk to Emma and Carina about their campaign or the magazine’s photoshoot process. Instead, the girls were given copies of Teen Vogue and told to use them to learn more about the magazine.
Well, that’s helpful. Stydahar was of course taken aback by the turnout, as 14-year-old Julia Bluhm said she’d had a positive experience with Seventeen after meeting with the mag’s EIC to talk about the anti-Photoshop protest.
“It was kind of shocking how rude they were to us, because Julia had a really positive experience talking with Seventeen’s editor-in-chief,” Cruz said. “We assumed Teen Vogue would also want to hear what their readers think and do everything they can to help girls’ feel better about themselves and their bodies. Instead, they sat with us for five minutes and told us to do our homework.”
Stydahar, who was once a Teen Vogue subscriber, said it was rather harsh to be treated as if she knew nothing about the issue at hand:
“We have done our homework. That’s why we started this campaign, because three out of every four girls feel bad about themselves after reading a fashion magazine. That’s not a statistic that the magazine industry should be proud of. It should change, and I know it will change if we continue demanding diverse, real images of beauty from Teen Vogue.”
The Jane Dough reached out to Teen Vogue several times for comment but did not receive a response. While I said yesterday that I worry copycat protests could spiral out of control and water down the message girls like Bluhm, Stydahar and Cruz are trying to send, I strongly believe the magazines with which they find fault should at least listen to their concerns. Cruz and Stydahar put on a peaceful, non-hostile campaign and carried themselves in an articulate and respectful manner. There’s no reason why they should have been brought into a meeting that was nothing more than the equivalent of a textbook lesson.
UPDATE: The Jane Dough has just received a comment from Teen Vogue senior PR director Erin Kaplan:
“We are always open to readers feedback and were receptive to meeting with Emma and Carina to give them an opportunity to discuss their concerns. As addressed in our prior statement, we feature dozens of non-models and readers every year and do not retouch them to alter their body size. We will continue to show real girls on the pages of our magazine.”