Illustration by Ashley Amado.
I’ve loved magazines for the entire time I’ve been a teenager.
More specifically, Teen Vogue. I don’t know who/what turned me on to Teen Vogue. I do know that Teen Vogue and I had something in common: a dedication to fashion, and being young. So perhaps that was one of the things that drew me to the magazine.
About a year ago, I decided I should also subscribe to Vogue. Vogue seemed, to me, like the grownup version of Teen Vogue. And I was a sixteen year old fashionista, wasn’t I? Why wasn’t I reading one of the most highly-acclaimed fashion magazines of the world?
I was quickly disappointed.
Vogue seemed to be filled with mainly advertisements, which is common in print magazines, but the sheer amount of them irked me. Once I got over that, I couldn’t really connect with its content. Even more, as the months went on and I received more issues, I noticed that all the women on the covers were white. This did not please me.
I made my first tumblr account when I was around fourteen. I didn’t expect that, upon making the account, I would meet fantastic people, groan over insistent memes, and most importantly, learn the importance of representation in media.
I’ve been privileged to grow up in an environment where I was taught that my blackness was something to be proud of; that blackness was not an inherently bad trait to live within. Many types of people, I’ve learned, did not grow up being told that they were beautiful just the way they are. The media that we consume certainly doesn’t do this, either.
Recently, Teen Vogue released an issue featuring white models sporting protective hairstyles, traditionally worn by black women. You may have heard of cultural appropriation, which is exactly what this was. As a black girl who has struggled with accepting her hair in its natural state, this upset and confused me. Not only was Vogue a disappointment in representing my own people, but Teen Vogue was too. I loved fashion articles, personal narratives, and the experience of flipping through a glossy magazine. But where did I fit inside it all? Did I ever exist within these glossy pages full of items I couldn’t afford? Why did I give my time to publications that didn’t care about me?
When I mentioned the idea of creating a magazine to co-founder of Margins, Emily Kim, I was thinking of creating something that was a cross between Rookie mag and The Coalition Mag, publications that I found solace in. Together, we tried to settle on a name for the magazine. RADD magazine? BABE magazine? After many others, we settled on MARGINS. From this name, we solidified our ideas on what we wanted: a magazine for girls on the margins–whether that be because they are queer, mentally ill, physically disabled, of color, and otherwise. Later, as our staff came together, including people whose gender fall outside of the gender binary, I decided that our magazine should have a focus on them as well.
I’ve learned a lot these past few months getting this website off of the ground, including that so many things are possible and within reach. You just need the drive to get there.
September’s issue includes a wide range of talent and voices that explore race, queerness, accepting mental illness, and more. We hope that you find yourself within the folds of MARGINS.