Friday, July 18, 2014

Feminist Friday: Tavi Gevinson

Tavi Gevinson is an 18-year-old American writer, and the creator and editor-in-chief of Rookie magazine.
Tavi became famous at age 11 because of her fashion blog Style Rookie. When she was 15 she became more interested in feminist writings and decided to create Rookie. 

In our society teenage girls as a group are generally not taken seriously. Media marketed towards that demographic is not considered real art (Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars, Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus), and young girls' opinions are not generally valued.
Tavi and her blog received a lot of criticism due to her young age and gender. A 2008 NYmag article said, "We're not sure if a 12-year-old is actually doing all this or if she's getting some help from a mom or older sister" implying that someone Tavi's age could not do what she did alone.
In 2010, an article in the New Yorker quoted a woman in the fashion industry who said Tavi's blog "would be unremarkable if she were not thirteen years old. If she were twenty-three, we’d say, ‘Yeah. Who cares?’" implying that her blog was only popular because of her age. So she had critics suggesting she couldn't do it all herself and critics suggesting that people only cared about her work because she was young, and not because of any talent she had.

In this awesome TED Talk that Tavi gave in 2012, she said that as she was finished middle school and entering high school she became really confused.
She said, "I was trying to reconcile all these differences that you're told you can't be when you're growing up as a girl. You can't be smart and pretty, you can't be a feminist who's also interested in fashion, you can't care about clothes if it's not for the sake of what other people (usually men) will think of you...
I wanted to start a website for teenage girls that was not kind of this one-dimensional strong character empowerment thing, because I think one thing that can be very alienating about a misconception of feminism is that girls then think that to be a feminist they have to live up to being perfectly consistent in your beliefs, never being insecure, never having doubts, having all of the answers. And this is not true and actually reconciling all the contradictions I was feeling became easier once I understood that feminism was not a rulebook but a discussion, a conversation, a process."

illustration by Tavi Gevinson launched in September 2011. The magazine is for teenage girls and many of the contributors are teenage girls. The magazine features articles, interviews, comics, photography, visual art, and music playlists created by regular staff, readers of the magazine, and guest contributors.

Tavi is a defender of other young famous women and girls. She wrote an essay proclaiming her love of Taylor Swift's music and defending Taylor against the haters. She has interviewed Lorde and Miley Cyrus and spoken to both about feminism, spreading the word that feminism does not have to be a rigid, specific set of ideas but can be something very personal.

 In that same TEDtalk, Tavi talked about the lack of strong female characters represented in the media. She said, "The problem with [over-simplifying female characters] is that then people expect women to be that easy to understand and women are mad at themselves for not being that simple when in actuality women are complicated, women are multi-faceted, not because women are crazy but because people are crazy and women happen to be people."

Tavi created a space on the internet that gives young girls a voice and lets them know that it's okay to not have it all figured out, to be more than one thing, to be confused about your identity and growing up, and to be whoever you are unapologetically.

Highlights from the first two years of Rookie have been compiled into two books:

Rookie Yearbook One

and Rookie Yearbook Two

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