I recently re-entered the private sector following years in public service working on human trafficking; by better identifying victims who were brought into the system as “prostitutes” and investigating and prosecuting pimps and johns.
One of my greatest honors in public services, as I believe it should be, is you work for the elected official, public and the victims. I took the position that I would step away from politics and speaking out because I did not want any personal views to taint a jury pool against the case or victim. As a lawyer, it’s not about you, it’s about your client. As a public servant, it’s not about you, it’s about the public and the elected official.
Having gotten into Twitter, I read an article titled “These Vagina Necklaces Are So Amazing, They Crashed This Etsy Shop, Don’t worry: they’ll be back.” on Teen Vogue. I replied to “@TeenVogue – Why advertise such on “teen” most ages legally unable to consent to sex, Vogue?” Someone responded to me and Teen Vogue “It’s a vagina. They aren’t saying go out and have sex. It’s not something women should be ashamed of etc.” There’s nothing wrong with being proud of your vagina, but there’s also something to be said for respecting it enough to not have to show it to the world.
Same also noted “Please actually read the article.” I read the article and looked into the jewelry maker. Emily Fitzgerald is from Australia and her jewelry design "Yoni" went “viral” and she has been unable to keep up with orders given the high demand. Best I can tell, she’s an adult in business – you go girl.
My issue is not with her or her design. It’s with Teen Vogue. Change your name if you want, but “teen” is defined as 13-19. Thirteen year olds can’t consent to sex. At least in Texas, and fourteen to seventeen-year olds can only consent to a sex with someone within 3 years of their age. States have similar age protections and Romeo/Juliet type laws.
Having worked with and interviewed hundreds of women caught in the sex trade, sex at a young age is not always a good thing especially when it’s with an adult who is manipulating or forcing you into the “choice.” Same for Teen Vogue, you’re an adult business and you’re pushing a product presumably for “clicks” or "likes" because kids get brave, and or at-risk, on social media. Many sexual exploitation victims are “recruited” by pimps who target them based on activity on social media, such as dancing or “twerking” in not age appropriate clothes. A typical response from the person who bought them would be “they look so old.” As you can tell from Teen Vogue, you can dress anyone up to look older. This is often used against the child and many struggle with the belief they did something wrong to deserve their repeated rapes.
We all should start to recognize our part in enabling victim blaming. Children, you’re the minor, your brains are not yet fully developed. Teen Vogue, how about you promote jewelry of a brain to signify the need for further development of your targeted audience and that your smarts should be valued more than vaginas.