Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

Sassy is gone forever, but lucky you, there’s Teen Vogue

Women of  a certain age are still lamenting the early demise of Sassy magazine. To those of you who are nodding your heads right now, I implore you: give Teen Vogue a chance, and while you’re at it, gift a subscription to a young woman in your life.

Yes, Sassy was pivotal…

Sassy magazine cover featuring Curt Cobain and Courtney LoveHelmed by Jane Pratt, Sassy provided a marked departure from the other teen glossies that we ogled in grocery checkout lines. Remember the ’90s? Remember the red ribbons and the flannel and how we chained ourselves to trees and Rocked The Vote with the help of R.E.M’s longboxes? It was a big deal and Sassy got it. It got that we were more than teeny boppers into fashion and trendy music. It got that we were people, on our own, outside of being coupled with someone. And that was kind of revolutionary for a glossy teen fashion mag.

but Teen Vogue takes it to the next level, and then some.

cover of Teen Vogue; headline reads While Sassy treated us like people, Teen Vogue is treating today’s young women like the thoughtful, powerful, political, engaged movers and shakers they are. There was something in Lauren Duca’s gaslighting article that struck a chord with a much larger readership. Was it the concise, clear way that it laid out an issue and made it relatable? Was it how it used a political issue to steer young readers toward an understanding of abusive relationships without specifically saying that’s what it was doing? Was it the tone, which was authoritative but still comfortable? Was it the historical background informed by linguistics, politics, and pop culture? Yes. It was all of that, and thinking that it only had to be one of those is the specific problem that Teen Vogue is addressing: young women are not to be underestimated. I’ve said before that, for all of their problems, glossy fashion mags are, for some, the bible of girlhood. This one respects girls enough to know that eyebrows and crunches are but one facet of the lived experience of young women, that they spend a lot of time thinking, talking, and acting on a wide range of political, social, and personal issues regardless of the color of their nail polish.

This didn’t just happen

It’s been widely pointed out that perhaps the incisiveness of Teen Vogue is due to being helmed by Elaine Welteroth as Editor in Chief, the first African American woman to hold that position and only the second to be Editor in Chief at a Condé Nast publication. While Beauty Editor, she pushed for more inclusive coverage, a move that has translated well to feature articles. The team approach to direction of the magazine also includes creative director Marie Souter and Phillip Picardi as the digital editorial director who recalls a realization that magazines can be used for social good when he read an Anna Wintour letter in Vogue about marriage equality. The magazine’s boundary pushing approach is by design and being actively managed by a team that gets it.

We want more of it – A GIVEAWAY!

We can praise the editorial direction and forward thinking, inclusive content that’s respectful of its teen readership all we want, but we all know that it’s the dollars that matter in publishing. For this reason, the writers of the Teen Librarian Toolbox are sponsoring ten more subscriptions to Teen Vogue. Get one for yourself, get one for your library, get one for a classroom, get one for a teen. The first ten commenters below can pick their recipient of a one year subscription. Must be US addresses. After you leave a comment, please email Karen at kjensenmls at yahoo dot com (we don’t want you to leave your address publicly). The first 10 comments/emails get a free subscription.  Thanks for the interest all — we have our 10 subscriptions all accounted for.

What Others are Saying

Teen Vogue’s Political Coverage Isn’t Surprising

Teen Vogue’s Trump takedown is not a surprise

If You’re Shocked Teen Vogue Is Great, You’re Not Paying Attention

A user’s guide to Teen Vogue, which is quietly doing very good journalism

And Check Out These Teen Vogue Posts

Mike Pence’s Record on Reproductive and LGBTQ Rights

Why We Should Be Talking More About the Victims of the Charleston Church Shooting

National Parks May Be in Danger Under Trump Presidency

The Little-Known Federal Program That Is Concerning to Muslim Americans

Guys Read Sexual Assault Stories


  1. Shana Morales says:

    This is an amazing undertaking and I know the perfect teen.

  2. I’d love to get one the teens at our high school! Do you want the address posted here (publicly) or sent via email? 🙂

  3. Janine Hays says:

    I would love to get one for the teens in my library!

  4. I love the amazing work they are doing! And I would ALSO love a subscription for the teens at my library. Our address is:

    Lucius E. and Elsie C. Burch, Jr. Library
    501 Poplar View Parkway
    Collierville, TN 38017

    Thanks so much for doing this! I read your column every day!

  5. I would love to check out Teen Vogue for my school library!

  6. Wow, this is persuasive. Because I work in elementary and am raising teen boys, TV has definitely not been on my radar. It sounds perfect for my formidable nieces. If your offer is good for non-library recipients, I’ll take you up on it for the Michigan nieces and I’ll pay for one myself for the Ohio niece. Thank you!

  7. Thank you for doing this! I’ve been wanting to subscribe this past week to be able to use in my studies/classes. i’m sending you an email!

  8. Loved that article, love that more people are talking about what we already know-Teen girls can be more than one thing!

    Would love to gift a teen with the subscription.

  9. It is very important for teens to know that they have an active role and a voice in what is happening in our world today. Thank you for this article and for getting the word out about this publication.

  10. Love that this came up!

  11. I’d love a subscription for my school library! I know some girls who would love to read it.

  12. Joey Goodall says:

    Would love a subscription for the teen section of my library.

  13. Will email — Teen Vogue is one of the few media sources I feel I can trust right now. Would love a subscription I can make available to my teens.

  14. Ariel Kirst says:

    I used to love it as a teen, and now that I know they are taking a stand, I love them even more!

  15. I hope this isn’t a duplicate comment but my first one from a couple hours ago doesn’t show up. I know some formidable teens (OK, my nieces) who I hope will enjoy a subscription. Thank you! Since I work in elementary and have only boys of my own, this publication was _totally_ outside my radar!

  16. I am intrigued and will definitely check this out. There is a huge need for substantive journalism for young women.

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