Teen Vogue complains that influencers get more attention than grassroots activists – yes, really

June 29, 2022

By Tim Worstall

In a new piece, Teen Vogue complains that grassroots activists aren’t getting the same coverage that influencers are, as if the magazine’s own website is not plastered over with influencers.

To give you the proper flavor of the argument:

“If the environmental justice movement, as defined by the 17 principles, is to challenge the colonial-capitalistic structures of oppression that have led to the climate crisis and placed pollution in communities of color, influencer culture’s constant ask to center oneself to promote brands might not be in alignment with the radical changes necessary for liberation.”

To a large extent it’s the standard woke word salad that replaces logical argument. What they’re really complaining about is that some influencers on TikTok and the like become famous for their work against climate change, or in favor of sustainable fashion, or against racist inequity, or whatever is the subject to be shouted about today. Other people who are actually doing the organizing don’t become so famous, and this is wrong, according to Teen Vogue.

This is quite a good joke, even if inadvertent from the Teen Vogue editors: Teen Vogue markets itself as “educating the influencers of tomorrow”. Doing that and also running a piece arguing that even having rich world influencers gaining fame is akin to colonialist exploitation is, we do think, an amusement.

Teen Vogue does indeed market itself as that outlet “educating the influencers of tomorrow” and it’s part of the Conde Nast empire. It thus has no shortage of economic resources even if logic sometimes seems to fail it. It gains some 5.5 million visits a month as it performs that educational task.

This really is their argument too, as the headline shows: “Social Media Influencers Get Media Attention on Climate Change — Grassroots Activists Don’t.” How’s that for a complaint in an outlet educating influencers?


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