Teen Vogue churned out a variety of highly explicit sexual material for its teenage audience in 2019.
The publication has been described as a “glossy” magazine “aimed at teenage girls” that has recently stepped forward into the political spectrum to criticize President Donald Trump. But in 2019, Teen Vogue also offered teenagers a chance to discover “How To Have Queer Sex,” “How To Use Sex Magic To Manifest Your Best Self,” “How To Get An Abortion If You’re A Teen,” and more.
Several of these stories cite Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, as their source for health and sex tips. The stories are posted on Teen Vogue’s website, many are shared on Twitter, and some are highlighted on the publication’s Instagram page.
Critics of the publication say that Teen Vogue’s content is entirely unfit for its teenaged audience. Donna Rice Hughes, president and CEO of Enough Is Enough, an organization dedicated to making the internet safer for children, warns that Teen Vogue is driven by “a clear agenda to sexualize and exploit the minds of its young teen and tween readers during what should be a protected period of innocence.”
Anti-trafficking activist Jaco Booyens says the publication’s content grooms young people and seeks to desensitize them to such explicit content.
“Our culture is in a dire state due to sexual immorality,” Booyens warned. “Introducing sexual acts and concepts with fluid language to desensitize our youth is without question grooming. Thereby the radical left such as Teen Vogue is playing into the hands of pedophiles, or doing so by design.”
Down to Find Out
Teen Vogue writer Nona Willis Aronowitz started the weekly column Down to Find Out in May, a column that explores a number of highly explicit sexual topics and launched on Aronowitz’s story: “How To Sext – Safely.” The column says it is intended to answer questions from readers, but this particular question about “digital consent” came from a Teen Vogue editor.
“Get very familiar with yourself,” the Teen Vogue writer encourages. “Pose in the mirror, caress your silhouette, know your naked angles…There’s virtually no risk involved in taking photos like these (though if you’re worried, there are always ways to double-password protect, or hide them in a remote folder on your phone). For now, these photos can be just for you.”
Aronowitz suggests that to protect their privacy, teens should share the photos with their partners in person or to sext their partner with words.
“As much as I love a well-executed nude, I’ve found that taking photos of myself in the moment, or on command, can be stressful or mood-killing,” she writes. “There’s also something kind of….literal about them. Instead, verbalizing my fantasies can allow some privacy and ambiguity while still experimenting with nascent desires.”
Obtaining an Abortion as a Teen
In her second installment of Down to Find Out, Aronowitz explains “How to Get an Abortion If You’re a Teen.”
As she addresses a question supposedly from an anonymous teen, the Teen Vogue writer warns that getting abortions as a teenager “can be tricky,” and that “having access to abortion should be your right, regardless of your parents’ beliefs.”
“Having access to abortion should be your right, regardless of your parents’ beliefs.”— Teen Vogue (@TeenVogue) June 24, 2019
“I’m 16, I’m pregnant, and I don’t want to be,” an anonymous person questioned Aronowitz. “I’m not sure if I’m allowed to get an abortion without my parents’ permission, but I’m really scared to tell them because they are both against abortion. What should I do?”
Aronowitz answered the query by explaining her own sexual experiences at age 15, detailing an episode where she wondered if she might be pregnant. Aronowitz’s mother helped her get Plan B “without judging or admonishing” her, but Aronowitz worries that other girls won’t have the same experience.
“I’m here to tell you that you have nothing to be ashamed of. Accidents can happen even to the most careful among us,” Aronowitz wrote. “And it’s only logical that if teens are mature enough to become parents, they are mature enough to decide whether or not they want to give birth.”
If readers do indeed fear that their parents will not let them get an abortion, Aronowitz has advice for them.
“There is a legal option in 36 states that would let you get an abortion without parental approval called a judicial bypass procedure—an infantilizing holdup to which nobody should have to resort,” Aronowitz wrote. The columnist added that these processes take time and money, and encouraged girls to get started quickly.
Sex Work Is Real Work
Teen Vogue published a guest op-ed in April from Dr. Tlaleng Mofokeng, the founder of Nalane for Reproductive Justice. Mofokeng offers her insights on sex work as “real work,” telling readers that sex workers’ rights are “women’s rights, health rights, labor rights, and the litmus test for intersectional feminism.”
“So, what exactly is sex work?” Mofokeng asks. “Not all sex workers engage in penetrative sex, though, undeniably, that is a big part of sex work. Sex-worker services between consenting adults may include companionship, intimacy, nonsexual role playing, dancing, escorting, and stripping. These roles are often pre-determined, and all parties should be comfortable with them. ”
The Nalane for Reproductive Justice founder equivocates supporting women’s rights with sex workers’ rights, urging readers to “support the global demand for sex work decriminalization, and fund evidence and rights-based intersectional programs aimed at sex workers and their clients.”
Anal Sex: ‘How to Do It the Right Way’
Writer, sex educator, and pleasure professional Gigi Engle writes in her story “Anal Sex: Safety, How Tos, Tips, and More” that “It’s important that we talk about all kinds of sex because not everyone is having, or wants to have, ‘penis in the vagina’ sex.”
Welcome to Anal Sex 101 https://t.co/U9KQLw2Han— Teen Vogue (@TeenVogue) December 25, 2019
“If you do have ‘penis in the vagina’ sex and are curious about something else, or are finding that that type of sex is not for you and you’d like to explore other options, it’s helpful to know the facts,” Engle writes. “Even if you do learn more and decide anal sex is not a thing you’d like to try, it doesn’t hurt to have the information.”
Engle’s article gets into the full nitty-gritty details of anal sex, hedging her story by letting readers know if they are not comfortable with the topic they can find Teen Vogue stories on other topics. She also tells readers she does not suggest that they Google “stuff on the internet about anal.”
Hughes slammed the publication for this story and a similar 2018 story on anal sex.
“Enough Is Enough has been after TeenVogue.com for publishing outrageous articles ever since it released an “anal sex guide” for teens, which resulted in calls across the nation for the article’s removal,” Hughes told The Daily Caller News Foundation. Hughes added that Teen Vogue not only ignored their appeals and promoted the story again on Christmas, but Teen Vogue’s “digital editor flipped us the finger on social media.”
More and More Sex Stories
The publication publishes a variety of other stories on sexual activity, as Engle notes.
Titles include “How to Use Sex Magic to Manifest Your Best Self,”—which promises to “Make your orgasms literally magical”—“How to Have Sex if You’re Queer: What to Know About Protection, Consent, and What Queer Sex Means,” and “Having Sex When You’re Fat: Tips on Positions, Props, and Preparation.”
“Yes, fat people have sex—and it’s great,” writes Teen Vogue writer Elle Chase, finishing her story with the line, “We all deserve to f— our fat hearts out.”
Hughes says that this particular line is “deplorable, and condemned Chase’s article as “an irresponsible and incomprehensible attempt.”
“Written by ‘certified sex educator’ Elle Chase, the guide provides teens with ‘tips on how to have the best sex possible, and how you can feel powerful doing it,’” Hughes writes. “Next described are ways to ‘get prepared’ for penetrative or anal sex, the use [of] sex toys and props, the benefits of masturbation, followed by multiple detailed descriptions on different positions to try.”
Enough Is Enough is committed to “raising awareness about these outrageous and irresponsible articles that permeate this online site so that parents and teens alike will #SayNOToTeenVogue,” Hughes told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
She encourages those who agree to sign a petition against the publication, which has garnered over 45,000 signatures since it was posted in August.
“Clearly,” Hughes says, “they care more about their own exploitive agenda than they do about our kids.”
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