Which Gossip Girl is most like Obama?

Glossy magazines for teen girls are slipping in politics along with the lip gloss.


Amy Benfer
October 10, 2008 11:20PM (UTC)

Women of a certain generation (mine) will tell you that there has never been a magazine for teen girls that combined decent sex advice, politics and cheap DIY thrift store fashions quite like Sassy, and that there has never been an author who gets teen girls and sexual confusion quite like Judy Blume. But then again, this is the same generation of women, more or less, who are now sitting high up on the mastheads of magazines for teen girls and writing young-adult novels. So it’s kind of cool to see some of them slipping in some politics with the lip gloss. For instance:

In the November issue of Cosmogirl, Scarlett Johansson, who appears in a curious star-spangled romper, talks about political activism and sexism:

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"I think that we still live in a country that’s sexist and racist. Those are issues that we deal with whether we want to ignore it or not. Seeing how the media portrayed Hillary [Clinton] with unbelievable sexism -- some of the things that people were saying were just so overwhelming. You just couldn’t believe the names that they were calling her! As much as I feel like there is this American Dream that is an equal opportunity to succeed, I don’t think that it is a reality. I’m not pessimistic, though. I think we have the potential to someday reach that.”

Over at the Web site YA for Obama, a group of young-adult novelists have created a social networking site for teenagers to talk politics. Given that books for teenagers are among the most regular targets of the censorship police, it’s not at all surprising that there’s plenty of talk about book banning. (This may also explain why the companion site for McCain has few members and exactly zero published authors.) Judy Blume writes about how, as a young housewife living in New Jersey, she defied her husband, a lawyer and member of the Young Republicans, by voting for John F. Kennedy when he ran against Richard Nixon. (And yes, that totally reminds us of Sandy, the frustrated young New Jersey housewife in “Wifey” who escapes her oppressive Young Republican husband by getting it on with her gynecologist and a sexy dude on a motorcycle.) Melissa Walker (“Violet on the Runway”) urges teens to write letters to the editor, Megan McCafferty (author of the Jessica Darling series) posts her eighth-grade essay on patriotism, and Meg Cabot (“The Princess Diaries”) writes about her activist mom.

And of course, it isn't a Y.A. party until "Gossip Girl" drops by. So in case you’re wondering just which "Gossip Girl" most resembles Barack Obama, we’ve got your answer: According to author Cecily von Ziegesar, it’s none other than Blair Waldorf. “Barack and Blair are both beautiful, passionate, ambitious dreamers. They won’t stop until they get what they want, which gives them a bitchy, sexy edge -- and we like them like that.” Whether or not one agrees that Obama most resembles a bitchy bulimic, it’s worth dropping by the site to read the discussion forums -- on religion, teen pregnancy and education -- alone.

 

 


Amy Benfer

Amy Benfer is a freelance writer in Brooklyn, N.Y.

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