Listening to Teen Voices

Julia Hunter '14 is spending the summer interning with a publication that aims to "change the world of girls through media."

Julia Hunter ’14 is working as an editorial assistant and program mentor this summer for the Boston-based, non-profit magazine Teen Voices.  Published in both print and online editions, Teen Voices, explains Hunter, “provides girls of all different races, religions, sexualities and socioeconomic statuses a reflection of themselves that they don’t get in mainstream media.” Among the publication’s goals are to empower girls to affect change in their communities and encourage them to have opinions on social and political issues.

Teen Voices, whose slogan is "Changing the world of girls through media," features content generated by teen girls themselves. Recent articles have included a report on teenage activist Julia Bluhm’s fight against Photoshop, an interview with author Naomi Shihab Nye about poetry and young adult writing and a piece on Title IX in sports. The magazine was created in 1988 and their online edition gets over 275,000 views annually from 179 countries around the globe.

Hunter’s internship, sponsored by the John B. Hurford ’60 Center for the Arts and Humanities at Haverford, is giving her a chance to help girls from across the nation, as well as offering her valuable editorial experience.  As an editor, she says, the challenge has been to find the “difficult balance” between preserving a teen author’s voice and doing the necessary revision and fact checking. Hunter also writes occasional blog posts for the magazine, primarily focused on the Olympics and the policing of femininity as well as teen involvement in national gay pride events.

Hunter says that after doing a lot of work on feminist and queer issues for her independent major in gender and sexuality studies she was interested in working in a less academic environment where she could talk to teenage girls “about the real issues they deal with on a day-to-day basis.”

Part of her job also involves interviewing girls and women about projects they are involved in.  Hunter describes this part of her work as “intimidating,” but she appreciates the opportunity to talk to people involved in inspirational projects and initiatives.

During her time at Teen Voices, Hunter has interviewed a diverse range of people, including Nicole Daley from Boston’s Start Strong Initiative, which addresses teen dating and violence and healthy relationships; and Lateefah Simon, an award-winning activist.  Later this summer, Hunter will be interviewing Libba Bray, a young adult author, and Kelley Tuthill, a Boston journalist.

—Jack Hasler ’15