Teen Vogue has long been known to publish controversial articles. Recently, Teen Vogue published an article titled Sex Work is Real Work. In it, Dr. Tlaleng Mofokeng argues that because she works with reproductive and sexual health, she is no different than a sex worker. This claim is disingenuous at best as no true comparison can be drawn between practicing medicine and prostitution.
This article is especially troubling as it is aimed at a teen audience. Teen Vogue is normalizing commercial sex. This is a dangerous notion for teenage girls. According to a report from the US State Department, “60-75 percent of women in prostitution were raped, 70-95 percent were physically assaulted, and 68 percent met the criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder in the same range as treatment-seeking combat veterans and victims of state-organized torture.” If sex work is real work, as Teen Vogue claims that it is, then the magazine is encouraging teenage girls to explore it as a possible career path, regardless of the negative effects.