21st Feb 2012


So it’s like, imagine J17 exists now and it’s as good as you always dreamed it could have been, or better – J17 as imagined and written by your coolest friends.

The model for Rookie is Sassy, an American magazine for teenage girls from the 90s, but I’m too young and too non-American to remember it, so J17 will have to do. It’s somewhere between Bitch and Bust. It’s the anti-Teen Vogue.

All of which means that Rookie is a feminist online fashion and lifestyle magazine for teenage girls that is largely written by teenage girls, and was set up by Tavi the fashion blogger, who is largely famous for being a clever teenage girl.

You will probably find yourself reading it and feeling worried about yourself for wanting to be friends with everybody involved. They’re so young!

Molly Fischer’s recent article about “ladyblogs”, published by N+1 magazine, criticised Rookie for being too obsessed with teenage girlhood and its representations across films and television shows.

Fischer argued that teenage girls are mostly obsessed with becoming adults, and says that “the idea of being a teenager is interesting primarily to preadolescents and adults”.

But the basic problem with what she’s saying here is that Tavi and most of her other writers are teenage girls. It seems to me that the reason behind all the articles about and images of teenage girls is that much of Rookie is an attempt to reclaim lost ground.

It’s an attempt to grab onto the images that seem to reflect a desirable reality or fantasy, and reject the images that are damaging or wildly inaccurate or boring.

To answer all the rubbish that has been written about teenage girls so many times before – but with the voices of the actual girls, not more adult handwringing.

When adults do write for the website, it’s often about their own personal memories of the age and full of advice they can give, to counter bad advice or messages often sent elsewhere. Look out for the occasional celebrity giving agony aunt-style advice in a short video – Paul Rudd’s is surprisingly hesitant while being as sweet as you hope it will be.

You’ll never forget that the website was made by a girl whose personal blog is about fashion – but this comes across in long collections of images of girl gangs and witches as inspiration, along with the coolest, hippest fashion shoots that you’ll find anywhere, using real girls (by which I mean “non-models”) as models.

My favourite photo on the website, and the look I envy the most, is of a girl wearing a plain grey pullover with a band patch on it (it’s the first photo at the end of this editor’s letter here). I’m being serious when I say that you don’t have to be fifteen to enjoy the stuff you’ll find here. It’s good at any age. Live the dream.

Charlotte Geater


  • Cariad Martin says:

    OMG, how did I not know this existed? *Bookmark*. That Paul Rudd Q & A is really lovely.