So my new role model is fifteen years old… She is seven years my junior. Younger than my little sister. And, in her fifteen years, she has become a respected authority in her sphere of knowledge. She is a critical darling and the editor-in-chief of a major media venture. And, on top of all this, she has normal, fun life!
To be a little clearer, Tavi Gevinson is an extraordinarily popular blogger who first took to the Internet at age 11. She built a huge following on her fashion blog, Style Rookie. Now, at 15, she is editor in chief of rookiemag.com, a web publication aimed at teen girls. The site aims to bring back a voice that spoke so effectively in the 90s, when Sassy magazine helped many a young woman deal with adolescence. And Tavi is in charge of it all, writing and editing when she gets home from school. Wow.
This should make me feel old, maybe make me nervously look over at my hourglass and sweat all that sand slipping through (I don’t know why I imagine my life clock as an hourglass… I guess I’m old-fashioned like that. Or Aladdin. Yeah, I blame Aladdin).
But Tavi Gevinson doesn’t make me feel old. Her accomplishments at such a young age and her website make me feel a little empowered. I mean, I’m not exactly this site’s target audience. Not by a long shot. I think the only way I could be farther from it’s target audience is if I were: A) an eighty year man who yells at kids from his front porch or B) a baby. The advice to young girls on surviving high school, on embracing their bodies, on keeping up their self-esteem while boys cat-call and whistle — it doesn’t do a lot for me on a practical level. And yet I find the writing clever, clear and moving. I love good writing. It inspires me. More than that, I find the notion of this venture empowering as someone who… does what I am doing right now in writing this “post,” which is a snippet of me, or at least the me I’m choosing to air publicly on the Internet. What am I doing? “Blogging.”
That word can encompass so much, and while most of what it encompasses amounts to very little — blogging creates so many unintelligible mountains out of every little molehill, and most blogs never get discovered or get abandoned by their authors — some of what it encompasses gets discovered, makes a difference, uses the power of the Internet to really do something. I won’t get into the politics of it all — that could take months — but I will say that it has been refreshing for me to discover “Rookie” and its talented editor (seriously, I couldn’t write like that at 15… all my writing sounded derivative and strained… I fear it still does in some ways). A shot in the arm. Tavi Gevinson, keep doing what you’re doing. Do it for the sake of the all the girls who will become the readership of your great web magazine and who will view it as something that defines them and gets them through their day. And for the sake of all the 22 year old pop culture bloggers — some of them male, no doubt — who are out there looking for a little inspiration. And for you, of course, for as long as it makes you happy and enriches your life.