Whoa Wednesday: A website that brings a generation of teen women together


Tavi Gevinson
The other day I found this site: Rookie Mag. I didn’t find it by looking for it because I’m not sure why I would have looked for it in the first place. I found it because Gawker highlighted a video by founder, Tavi Gevinson doing a TED talk on Still Figuring it Out, which you should probably watch.What’s special about Tavi is that she not only prepared this almost 8 minute talk discussing female power, oppression, obsession, and confusion, but she did it and she’s only a teenager.
Tavi is a fifteen year old sophomore that started a magazine called Rookie magazine when she was fourteen to create a space for young girls to talk, converge, celebrate, write, and showcase their feelings about becoming a woman.
In Tavi’s first editors letter to her burgeoning audience of teen girls she informs them what the magazine is about.
“I don’t have the answers. Rookie is not your guide to Being a Teen. It’s not a pamphlet on How to Be a Young Woman. It is, quite simply, a bunch of writing and art we like and believe in.”
She further goes on to state in her talk that the magazine isn’t created to “give girls the answers” it’s actually created so they will “give themselves permission to find the answers themselves.” I honestly can’t think of anything more admirable then creating a space for young women to choose to “not” identify themselves in any one real way and to let themselves question for as long as they can, need, or want to until they find the answers they’re seeking.
It seems there is often a rush to grow up so fast, to understand who you are, how to get a boyfriend, how to fit in, how to be popular and this site teaches girls that there’s no one way that you need to be, no set of “things” that you need to have. The ideas of what it is to be a teenage girl are scoffed as mere presuppositions of an old archetype that should be thrown out. Being a teenage is “complicated.” Any person that’s ever been a teenage girl knows that there is no end to the complications that arise from feeling like a confused, hormonal, estranged, deranged being with no idea how to correctly navigate the world.
            I am now 33, which means when I was a teenager when the internet was just really getting a foothold on the market. I remember thinking… omg, imagine the things you can do with the internet, like talk to people across the country and some from other parts of the world! At the time I was using a slow dialup connection that often took a couple of minutes to connect. Pages back then often took minutes to load, but I didn’t care. I would wait the long minutes and log into any number of AOL chatrooms just to get the experience of talking to someone who wasn’t from where I was from, which was a young and newly booming Silicon Valley.
            So now there are young girls who look at the internet and don’t just think that they can perhaps talk to someone across the world, they find ways to engage the world! I am so in awe of young women like her, the same way I was in awe of my friend Zeena who started a local zine when we were the same age. It excites me that this young woman is doing global outreach to other young women. If you are a woman, a man dating a woman, a man that has daughters, a man that wants his sons to understand women, then you should take the time to look at this site and send it to others.
            Seeing young women express themselves without worrying what someone will think of their quirks, their intelligence, their nerdiness, their beauty, their disregard for fashion, and anything else is truly what gives them so much strength. I must say, I am extremely excited to see what this next generation of women brings to the table; it’s going to be hawt.
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