In the span of a year, Tavi Gevinson has done what no other teenage girl has done before: start her own on-line magazine for teenage girls (because frankly, Seventeen and Girl’s Life and Teen Vogue are mini-me versions of all those grocery store check-out aisle magazines aimed at Grown Women…), and hold her own in such a competitive business as the Girl Magazine Business.
There are so many reasons why Rookie is so much better, and more fantastical than all of those other magazines, starting with the fact that it is a magazine run by a teenage girl who knows what teenage girls like, because she is in fact, a Teenage Girl. Another really big, wonderful, lovely reason the other magazines fall short in the Awesomeness Scale, is that they, unlike Rookie do very little to actually raise your self-esteem, or increase our confidence, outside of giving you tips like “wear this kind of make-up, to cover up every single imperfection, you monster, so that you can actually resemble a NORMAL HUMAN!!!!” or “stop eating, and instead spend every waking minute exercising your butt off, so that by spring break your body will stop being your body, but instead resembles a cadaver!”. The Writers at Rookie actually give good/realistic advice in their “You Asked It” columns, because they are real human people, that like being humans, and like others to embrace their human-ness. They try to send a really body-positive and girl-positive message, even while discussing fashion, and make-up–something I’ve never seen my sister’s magazines, or fashion blogs, or even so-called “lady-friendly” websites do. Except maybe for HelloGiggles contributors Ruby Karp and Mikaela Foster, of whom I’ve been a very big fan from the very beginning.
The first half of my freshman year was very hard, because I had just started in a 1,700 student school, where I only knew exactly two people that I wasn’t even friends with in middle school. My teachers were vastly different from those I’d spent the last two years with. They were the exact opposite of Grandmother-ly. I was painfully shy, and didn’t talk to people unless they talked to me first, which was rarely that case. I sat by myself during lunch, and I became sort of depressed. At home, I was obsessing more than ever over TV Shows and Harry Potter, so that I could have something to keep me busy during my free periods (ie: writing fanfiction, and writing about stuff in hope of having it published on HG, and later, my first blog).
Reading Rookie became a sort of After School Ritual, much like Wallowing to The Smith’s Music. There is one post in particular, that I read over a dozen times in the first quarter, that helped me get through the awfulness: “Higher Learning”. Knowing that
personal idol Zooey Deschanel felt that even surrounded by “all [those] unicorns, [she] felt like the unicorniest. [She] just did not fit in.” made me realize I wasn’t the only one in the Island of Misfit Toys (or in this case, of Unicorns!). Even The Incredibly Awesome Zooey was a misfit, like me. And then Joss Whedon, the creator of Literally The Best Vampire Show I The History of Vampires, reminded me that it’s okay to stand out as different, even if all I wanted to do was blend in. And