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Teen Talk

December 21, 2013

Weekend Reviews: Online magazine gives voice to teen girls

I don’t know how many of you are familiar with being a teenage girl, but those of you who are know that (from what I’ve experienced/heard from every woman I’ve ever spoken to) it is pretty much the worst time of one’s entire existence. 

Obviously this applies to guys as well. Adolescence is an awful time for pretty much everyone. But there’s something about being 16 and female that is… hellish? Debilitating? All of the above? 

Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that teenage girls are consistently stigmatized and labeled as volatile and immature. Maybe it’s that we’re raised in a culture that teaches us to strive for this intangible societal concept of perfection, to hate every facet of ourselves, and then we are chastised for being “egotistical” or “shallow.”

Regardless of what the cause or causes may be, I think it is universally agreed upon that it is extremely difficult to find a “safe space” as an adolescent girl. Somewhere that you can feel free to express ideas, emotions and fears to a community of peers and older adults who won’t judge or ridicule you based on your appearance, age or gender. But it’s out there, guys! In the form of “Rookie” — an online magazine created primarily by, and for the enjoyment of, teenage girls.

Tavi Gevinson, a 15-year-old blogger from suburban Illinois, started Rookie in 2011. For those of you who have never heard of her, let me just say that Tavi is a goddess. I worship her. Literally. Not only is her entire wardrobe the epitome of aesthetic perfection, but she is undoubtedly the most articulate and genuinely charismatic person that I have ever not met, but Internet stalked probably way too much. 

She has spoken at TEDxTeen and the Sydney Opera House in Australia, as well as being featured in a handful of films including “The Punk Singer,” where she discussed Kathleen Hanna and the Riot Grrrl movement. She also edited “Rookie Yearbook One” and “Rookie Yearbook Two,” compilations of some of the best pieces from the online magazine throughout its first two years in a tangible, paperback form. All of this and she’s only 17.

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