In her October issue editor's letter, Amy Astley takes aim and fires at L.A.'s glamour girls – namely, those who partake in a little plastic surgery action – with reference to the mag's 'Hot Topic' feature of the month, 'Faking It'...
"The bland sameness of what passes for L.A. glamour is worse than boring – it's hazardous to mental health! Witness the clonelike armies of perma-tanned, hair-extensioned, pillow-lipped, breast-implanted superskinnies that many of us measure our appearance against. Hollywood's version of beautiful and sexy seems to embody one aesthetic – and women of all ages, from Heidi Montag and Ashlee Simpson to Pam Anderson (okay, she invented the look), contort what nature gave them to conform to the prevailing standard. But really, what is sexy about doing unnatural things to your body in pursuit of looking like everyone else?"
But while Teen Vogue clearly disapproves of the tacky-glamour aesthetic popular in L.A., it's only too happy to endorse its own aesthetic ideal – one that's arguably harder to attain and places more strain on the 'mental health' of young women. It's one thing to be "superskinny" with fake boobs (bad) but apparently it's entirely different to be plain "superskinny". And white (unless you are Chanel Iman). And WASP-like. And tall, too, if you please. The generic beauty ideal that Teen Vogue serves up for readers month after month via its fashion, beauty and even 'real girl' editorials certainly eschews the well-endowed (Vogue is no place for boobs – fake or real; suppress your womanhood like a good girl, an androgynous, svelte 13-year-old boy figure is what you want – just look at Anna Wintour, Carine Roitfeld and Astley herself). Here are some of the Vogue-approved girls to feature elsewhere this issue...
Actress Hayley Bennett reminds me a little of Blake Lively (who also gets TV's nod – though it's Gossip Girl's Leighton Meester who features this month) and seems to be enjoying the sun on her alabaster skin. Thin. White. WASP.
And here we have a typical Teen Vogue model. Thin. White. Tall. WASP.
And Agyness Deyn, of course. Thin. White. Tall. WASP.
Even this super-slim 'super fan', who interned with Phillip Lim, fits the Teen Vogue mould (though she could be Jewish – diversity!).
Admittedly, Teen Vogue is ostensibly trying to convey a positive message in 'Faking It', despite its undercurrent of WASPy clones: "There's no doubt that feeling insecure about your looks can be difficult to deal with," writes Jane Shin Park, "but plastic surgery shouldn't be seen as a quick-fix solution... start making improvements from the inside out." And it has gone to the effort of including Zooey Deschanel, Taylor Momsen, Ellen Page, Lily Allen and America Ferrera in a 'Unique Starlets' side-panel (one Hispanic with hips – check!). But the message is still loud and clear: in the great white world of Vogue, it's survival of the slimmest... and boobless.
Girl With a Satchel