Teen Vogue has been accused of promoting prostitution to young girls after it shared an opinion essay with the headline “Why Sex Work Is Real Work” to Twitter on Sunday.
In the op-ed, which was published in April, Dr. Tlaleng Mofokeng argued for mainstream acceptance and decriminalization of sex work. Mofokeng said that the majority of sex workers are “cisgender” and “transgender women.”
“If you support women’s rights, I urge you to support the global demand for sex work decriminalization,” she wrote in the feminist-themed essay.
Mofokeng, who serves as deputy chairperson of the Sexual and Reproductive Justice Coalition of South Africa and runs a women’s health clinic in Johannesburg, called sex workers’ rights a “litmus test for intersectional feminism.”
“Sex workers must be affirmed through upholding and the protection of their human rights to autonomy, dignity, fair labor practices, access to evidence-based care,” she declared. “It is for this and many other reasons that I believe sex work and sex worker rights are women’s rights, health rights, labor rights, and the litmus test for intersectional feminism.”
Teen Vogue backlash
The response from conservative commenters on Twitter was overwhelmingly critical.
“Why is a teen magazine promoting prostitution to their 13-year-old readers?” queried Mark Dice.
Why is a teen magazine promoting prostitution to their 13-year-old readers?
— Mark Dice (@MarkDice) June 17, 2019
Other users remarked on the teen magazine’s choice of subject matter, which they found curious considering its initial focus on fashion and celebrity coverage for teenagers.
Omg. What ever happened to embarrassing stories and advertisements for lip gloss ?How things have changed..
— Lisa Nicole (@LisaNicole888) June 17, 2019
“Teen Vogue, which is infamous for teaching teenagers how to sodomize one another, how to pleasure themselves with sex toys, and how to hate the patriarchy, should stay in its lane and return to make-up tutorials and fashion advice,” conservative blogger Elizabeth Johnston told Fox News on Friday of the magazine’s recent shift in content.
Since nixing its print magazine and publishing exclusively online starting in 2017, Teen Vogue has moved more heavily into political activism. Drawing inspiration from sex-positive feminism, the publication has recently posted tutorials for anal sex and a how-to guide for minors seeking to get an abortion without parental consent.
In a 2017 interview with The Guardian, Teen Vogue editor Elaine Welteroth declared that the outlet’s readers “consider themselves activists.”
— el (@EllieMurraaay) September 14, 2017
“We say ‘woke’ here. We’re a woke brand, and our readers are woke, too,” Welteroth said. “I am an activist. And I think the readers that we reach would all consider themselves activists, too.”