Thursday, September 8, 2011

Rookie Is Up and Running

When I heard that Tavi Gevinson, teen blogger extraordinaire, was creating a web site, I was thrilled.  The first piece I read of Tavi's was an essay about Terry Richardson, in which she clearly and persuasively articulated points that people twice her age were having trouble expressing.  And she did it all in a wonderful voice, which was casual and fun while still managing to be thoughtful and poignant.  In the year or so since Tavi's new web site, Rookie, was announced, I have been anxiously checking her blog for news of the launch.  In that time, I fell in love with her writing, her sensibility, and her aesthetic.

As I waited, I heard two things that made me even more excited about the web site.  The first was Tavi's insistence that there be teen-produced content on the web site rather than just pieces written by adults for teens. I wish that something like this had been around when I was a teen, to help me realize that I could be a fun, quirky, smart, published writer now and it didn't have to wait until I was an adult.

The second was that Tavi had split with Jane Pratt, editress of Sassy, because Pratt had a company that was behind the launch of her new web site and, presumably, that company would also be involved in any other web site venture she took part in.  Tavi wanted to ensure that she had full creative control of her project, and so Jane stepped down.  This is an admirable stance to take, and exactly the right time to take it.  Tavi wants to create a web site that inspires teen girls and respects their intelligence, but she herself is still a teen, living with her parents, so she does not need the web site to be a money-making business.  This gives her the freedom to pursue her vision without kowtowing to advertising or financial needs.  And this freedom may allow for the kind of brilliance that will turn the online magazine into a success.

Of the posts that have gone up so far, my favorites include:

  • A collection of high school advice from what Rookie calls "some of our favorite grownups," including Joss Whedon, Shannon Woodward (best advice: "avoid 'freak dancing' at all costs", and Winnie Holzman.
  • A post about how not to hate other girls, including a wonderful flow chart, drawn by Tavi, entitled "Why girls compete with other girls."
  • A touching reader-submitted essay about her own history of Smiths and Morrissey love.
I can't wait to devour everything that is posted on this wonderful web site.

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