Cills, Hazel. “Tavi.” Nylon Oct. 2014: 96-103. Print.
At age 11, Tavi Gevinson was a preteen girl with a blog. Now 18, she has starred on Broadway, acted in film and television, published three books, socialized with media elite and skyrocketed to celebrity status herself. This is the power of the internet.
Her initial fashion blog, Style Rookie, ultimately built the foundation for Rookie.com, an online magazine for teenage girls. In addition to covering beauty and fashion, Rookie offers insight into education, health (mental and physical), politics, sex (including LGBTQ) and tech. It’s a community where girls can receive heart-to-heart guides on adult subjects, along with the expected fun of adolescence (movie recommendations, nail art DIYs, comics, etc.). The platform is enormously popular, sparking Rookie reader meet-ups around the U.S. and the world. As editor-in-chief, Gevinson’s gone global. So why does her content resonate so greatly?
Gevinson has essentially utilized the internet to turn the teen girl stereotype on its head. Introduced to feminism early on, she was instilled with a belief that she could do anything. And so she has, dominating several spheres all while attending high school. She’s a self-made entrepreneur who spoke publically at an age when girls are told to be quiet. Gevinson intimately understands the realities of teenage girlhood and creates content that takes those experiences seriously. This is unique in a cultural climate that belittles female youth instead of acknowledging their infinite capabilities. With Tiger Beat as an alternative, Rookie is a breath of fresh air.
Further, Rookie has acted as an online platform for women and girls to connect and collaborate. The magazine’s staff largely consists of other women and girls who help create content from a feminist perspective, encouraging union rather than competition. As music editor Jessica Hopper says, “Everyone cheerleads everybody else’s work. It’s a utopian kind of experience you might want or imagine from a magazine that’s made by and for teenage girls” (103). Other feminist powerhouses have discovered Gevinson through online means and befriended her – people like Emma Watson (goodwill ambassador for UN Women), Hopper of the Riot Grrrl movement and Stevie Nicks, Gevinson’s own personal idol.
As girls are increasingly trivialized (“Let me take a selfie.”), Gevinson is continually molding a rival to the misogynist norm. She is the poster girl of digital feminism and her contributions are crucially valuable. I’m excited to see what her “ever-expanding orbit of influence” (96) captures next.