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Updated Again!: A letter to Amy Astley, Editor-in-Chief of Teen Vogue

July 12, 2012

I’ve seen some shops in my time…

Rarely do I do something like this but in this case I just couldn’t stop myself. I used to work in advertising, so I know that a magazine is generally just there to sell stuff and make ad revenue. Substance, if there ever really is any is just a by-product. But when I saw this article posted on Jezebel today I really felt like those girls had been given a really unprofessional brush off…so I sent this: (I hope this is her actual email, the masthead seems to imply that it would be but I’m kind of posting this in case it’s not, so hopefully it will at least get out into the ether in some way.)

Subject: Your target market is talking directly to you, are you actually listening?

Dear Ms. Astley

As a Mom of two young girls, I have to say I’m really disappointed with how you handled your visit with Emma Stydahar & Carina Cruz when they, as teen girls came to voice theirs and many other girls opinion on the type of media they want to see from you. I realize Teen Vogue was inspired by the spawn of Wintour and there is possibly a different class of girl you are aiming to please or aspire to showcase, even though a fashion magazine is obtainable by almost every teenage girl in North America. But you can’t discount the fact that your images are falsified and give all young girls a false sense of reality. It’s one thing to say “Everybody knows it’s photoshopped!” but that doesn’t make young women feel any better about themselves because of it.
All they are asking for is as consumers of your product, that you, as a supplier, be a little more sensitive to your customer. Your young, impressionable customer. I’m hoping that by the time my girls start hitting the age of wanting to read fashion magazines that you’ll start listening instead of trying to convince them that what you currently do is actually up to their (or my) standards, because it isn’t.
If you’ve made it this far before hitting delete I really do appreciate you taking a moment to read this. Teen girls aren’t the only ones concerned here, so are their parents, and I as a parent can’t in good conscious let my girls read Teen Vogue the way it is today.
Thank You,
nuff said!

Edit: I can confirm that her email address is correct because she surprisingly returned my email! Not so surprisingly she didn’t really address any of my comments and her response looks totally canned.

Dear Ms. Banning,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. I am sorry to hear that you do not care for our magazine and will take your suggestions under consideration.


Amy Astley

So I’m now trying to start a conversation with her. If she won’t listen to teen girls…perhaps, just maybe, she’ll listen to someone who kind of speaks her language. So I sent her a response:

Dear Ms. Astley,

Firstly, I appreciate that you did read my original email. Thank you very much!

Secondly, I do care for your magazine. If I didn’t I wouldn’t have bothered sending my message in the first place.

Don’t get me wrong, I love fashion magazines and when I was a teenager would have loved to have the option of reading a version of Vogue geared towards me. You have such a wide readership though, you could really pioneer a healthier self image for your million+ readers and make massive inroads for a more accepting fashion industry. I really feel that since you are targeted towards teen girls that your responsibility to your readership is even greater than it would be if you were targeted to an older demographic.

I know magazines aren’t the only issue here, and you are sort of at the mercy of other variables such as designers sending samples at a size 0. But you can demand better of the people you do business with to help make your magazine a finished product too. There’s so much potential for greatness here.

Thanks Again,



Update May 11th 2017

Teen Vogue has morphed into a magazine that I’d be more than happy to let my little ladies read. Under the direction of Elaine Welteroth (the current Editor-in-Cheif) they are putting together some really great content with substance that is actually impressing people who aren’t teens, or even girls for that matter. I’m so impressed with them lately, it’s actually giving me hope for the future of womankind!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 16, 2012 1:48 pm

    This is awesome Shar!! Good for you for being a voice for those girls, and by extension, for our entire misguided society. It helps a lot that you speak the editor’s language – now I just hope she listens.

    • July 16, 2012 2:44 pm

      Thanks so much Merwie! I hope that she reads it, but I hope more that I’m not the only one sending her mail like this.

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