Women’s magazines have been fertile propaganda ground for liberals and feminists for years. That’s even true for magazines for teenaged girls. The May issue of Seventeen is a “Get Inspired!” issue, and the cover promises inspiration from “Michelle Obama on Reaching Higher” and “Lena Dunham on Standing Out.” Transgender activist/actor Charles “Laverne” Cox offers the most propaganda-per-inch for the teens.
The magazine touts Cox for an “Honorary degree in loving yourself.” In large capital letters is the quote: “YOU ARE WORTHY...SIMPLY BECAUSE OF WHO YOU ARE.” Cox wrote:
I do a lot of speaking these days, and the fact that 2,000 people come out to hear a black transgender woman tell her story gives me high hopes for the world. I think something about me represents the possibility of being unabashedly who you are. You are worthy not because of what anyone else says or what you can do, but simply because of who you are.
Things were different when I was growing up in Alabama. I was bullied and there were no counter-voices. I love my mother so much, but I wasn’t hearing from her or anyone else that I could be successful by being who I was. So I internalized what the bullies said. Thankfully, I was able to take dance classes, which helped me feel like I had a purpose beyond my circumstances. I was like, "I’m gonna get out of Alabama. I’m gonna get to New York and be on TV.”
If you're a 13-year-old girl reading your older sister's magazine, you might not even get the sexual-revolution point -- the word "transgender" never appears.
By comparison, Michelle Obama is fairly bland in insisting on finishing your education. “When I first got to college, I was totally overwhelmed. I didn’t have any friends, and I didn’t always feel like I fit in. I didn’t know ho to pick my classes or find the right buildings on campus. I didn’t even bring the right-size sheets for my bed.” Meeting people a the “students multicultural center” helped her out. There was no room for discussing her view that Princeton was “infamous for being racially the most conservative of the Ivy League colleges” or her thesis on how “My experiences at Princeton have made me far more aware of my ‘Blackness’ than ever before.”
The word “Princeton” didn’t even appear.
Lena Dunham’s article was left for the back page, where she says “Don’t let the critics get in your way.” She wrote “I was a bona fide weirdo in high school. My best friend was my dad. (Still is.) I wore my yellow rubber clogs to school every day. I was so obsessed with my pet rabbit that I fed her bananas from my mouth.” And so on....she tells girls to dare to be different, to accept constructive criticism from “smart, kind people” (liberals, eh?) but not “criticism born from others’ insecurities” (Non-liberals?)
Seventeen’s May issue also carried a six-page spread in favor of amnesty on immigration. It’s a story of two teenage sisters in Idaho: Rixa Rivera, 17, born in Mexico, and Lorena, 14, born in America. They had a full-page picture of the sisters sitting under a protest sign reading “Stop Separating Families.” Reporter Melanie Abrahams explained the girls traveled to Washington, DC to march in an amnesty rally with the Idaho Community Action Network. ICAN’s leader explained “They are two of our youngest members, but they they’re also among the most committed to the cause.”
A text box asked “CAN RIXA BE DEPORTED?” The answer: she’s presently protected by Obama....unless Republicans overturn him.
Another text box boasts “WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP.”
BE INFORMED: Follow @UnitedWeDream on social to stay up-to-date on laws that could affect families like Rixa’s and to hear about upcoming rallies, marches, and petitions.
GO SOCIAL: Make your own sign that says “Stop Separating Families.” Then Instagram a selfie with it and include the hashtag #ImmigrationAction to show your support!
SIGN YOUR NAME: If you wish it were easier for girls like Rixa to go to college, head to unitedwedream.org/grant-in-state-tuition and ask schools to make tuition more affordable.
PS: Near the end of the issue, a guide to "Turning Up Your Tumblr" includes advice on how to "Change The World" like a New York University grad student named Mariah pushing a Tumblr site touting "LGBT Equality for Everyone."