Teen Vogue may be a broke publication few teens are reading but it keeps attempting to get clicks with boundary-pushing articles that influence impressionable young girls.
“Why sex work is real work,” reads the headline of an op-ed that is being trashed online for promoting prostitution to Teen Vogue’s target audience.
The author, a South African doctor, writes that she exchanges payment with patients to treat their STDs, and gets paid to give advice and counseling on relationship problems, too.
“Isn’t this basically sex work?” she writes in the article, targeted at teens, that demands “rights” for sex workers.
When the article was posted on Twitter, then came comments asking why the topic of legalized prostitution is appropriate for a teen audience.
Many other Twitter users highlighted the real-life problem of human trafficking, which involves prostitution and often involves children.
“Why is a teen magazine promoting prostitution to their 13-year-old readers?” asked a Twitter user whose question, one of more than 4,000, received more "likes" than the article itself.
The online website recently got the attention of Students for Life, too, after an article described how a teen girl can abort her child without a parent’s knowledge or consent. That article was responding to a pregnant 16-year-old who contacted Teen Vogue and said she was “pregnant and I don’t want to be,” but her parents opposed abortion and she didn’t want to tell them.
The magazine writer suggested the teenager review parental notification laws in her state and look for a “judicial bypass procedure” that is allowed in 36 states.
Kristi Hamrick, who leads Students for Life, tells OneNewsNow it’s a “very harmful message” to suggest to a teen girl that they don’t need parental advice, or even to talk to another adult, when considering something as serious as abortion.
“It's very appropriate,” she says, “to involve those who love them best in any such decision.”
It is also ironic, Hamrick adds, that teens need parental permission for ear piercing and to get a tattoo.
“But you're going to have abortion, life-ending surgery,” she warns, “and not talk to anybody about it.”
Hamrick says parents need to be aware of the messages Teen Vogue is promoting.
But the good news is that teens probably aren’t reading it anyway.
According to The Washington Times, which criticized the pro-prostitution story for ignoring abused women, Teen Vogue lost four million viewers from 2017 to 2018. User statistics show less than two percent of readers are 17 or younger, and only one in 20 readers is an actual teenager.
The magazine's owner, Conde Nast, laid off 80 workers and shelved the print edition in 2017.