When I was younger, my mom gifted me a subscription to Teen Vogue. I used to readily consume each print issue. How could I not? The photos were beautiful and captivating. The human interest pieces were easy to devour. Reading the magazine provided a nice escape from my studies and extracurricular activities. The publication ceased print production in November 2017 following a slump in sales and cut costs. Today, it’s relegated to the Internet—unrecognizable to former subscribers like me given its recent embrace of progressive punditry.
What explains the radical change in editorial direction? A desperation for clicks? A plea for relevance? Who knows.
Of late, it’s dabbled in socialism through their “Bread and Roses” column series—a collection of troubling screeds whitewashing this evil and deadly ideology.
The series, the website notes, desires to explore “growing interest in socialism among young people who are seeking alternatives to recovery in this pivotal historical moment.” It mirrors the New York Times’ “Red Century” column series that extolled the “history and legacy of Communism” a century after the bloody Bolshevik Revolution.
One article, titled “Young Democratic Socialists of America Explain What Socialism Means to Them,” profiled several “democratic socialists” and asked them to explain their support for socialism.
One woman, Radha Jagwani, 19, said, “I honestly think that everyone is a socialist and they just don’t know it yet! To me, socialism is really about believing in people and human worth.”
Another woman, Odessia Rogers, 21, of Nashville, said, “I understand socialism as a way to organize the economy so that everyone has certain needs met, no one is exploited, and no one can hoard massive amounts of wealth and resources at the expense of others.”
In “Socialist Feminism: What Is It and How Can It Replace Corporate ‘Girl Boss’ Feminism?” a defense of socialist feminism—yes, you read that right—was made. The author argued, “Socialist ideas owe their modern relevance to feminists who have revised and reinvented them over the last two centuries.
Another article titled “Socialist Policies Could Have Helped the United States During the Coronavirus Pandemic” concluded socialized medicine in the form of universal healthcare would offset the damage wrought by the pandemic.
Who has the heart to tell them they’re being deceived? I guess this daughter of Lithaunian immigrants who fled socialism will do the honors.
First, socialism doesn’t care about human worth or people’s well-being. Why else did Nazi Germany’s Adolf Hitler, Soviet Union’s Josef Stalin, communist China’s Mao Zhedong, and Cuba’s Fidel Castro, for example, order the torture, imprisonment, and murder of over 100 million people last century? It wasn’t about ensuring well-being and guaranteeing human rights; instead, they cared about control and eliminating “enemies of the state.”
Second, a free enterprise system awards us the freedom and flexibility to determine our own work output. Americans can voluntarily work at private companies to their liking. Under the gig economy, freelancers determine their own work hours and can even make more money compared to traditional jobs. Under socialist regimes the government controlled the means of production, paid citizens a meager few hundred dollars each month and confiscated upwards of 90% of income.
Third, socialism doesn’t empower anyone—let alone women. Free enterprise has elevated women in ways socialism never would or will. Today, 40% of American businesses in existence are operated by women—businesses that generate $1.8 trillion annually. More women are starting businesses and are driven primarily by a desire to be their own boss, or “girl bosses,” in doing so.
Lastly, innovation and cutting government red tape—not a transition to socialized medicine—has helped offset the damage created by coronavirus here in the U.S. Private companies have stepped up to convert their operations to manufacture and produce personal protective equipment (PPE) and other essential items. Bureaucracy and central-planning arguably would worsen conditions and set this country back.
In sum, socialism will never be en vogue—no matter how one dresses it, transforms it, or peppers niceties onto it.
Although it’ll be challenging to reach Teen Vogue readers, it’s imperative to try and educate them. Failure to not enlighten them on the horrors of collectivism and modern-day iterations like “democratic socialism”—barely a departure from the original—would be a mistake.
I’m up for the challenge and hope you are too.