22 August 2012

the weird girl trope.

I have been trying really hard not to say anything brash in response to Isabel's post, mostly because I respect her and consider her a really cool lady who has helped me out on occasion, but I'm really fucking bummed and personally insulted at her last post and I can't not say anything. (And I'm not impressed with the girl-hate going on in the comments section -- a moderated comments section, where people are calling other people shallow for choosing to wear "pounds of" makeup. A lot of those commentors are my readers too, so I'm going to call you all out. Hi, I'm mad at you.) Note, this is 100% my own personal view, and I'm not speaking on behalf of Rookie or Girl Guts, though I do contribute to both. Oh, and I had purple hair. And I have a colorful wardrobe. So, there's that. You can see why I'm kind of insulted. 

Me, in my colorful wardrobe and purple hair, about to perform a ritual to invalidate your existence. 
Listen. I pay attention to all the criticisms I see about Rookie, about GG's, and a lot of time it's 100% valid -- yes, we do need to try harder to be more inclusive. Sometimes we mess up. But what really annoys me is when the criticism about these venues is that they are summarily just Manic Pixie Dream Girl establishments, that they are snowglobes of teen nostalgia about things we might never have experienced ourselves, and that is bullshit. In fact, a lot of the media coverage of Rookie has summarized it to be this little shrine of Tavi's fondness for Daria and whatever for 20 somethings, when it is not that at all. (Putting aside the fact Tavi isn't in her 20's herself yet...) And a lot of the criticisms on Rookie being this shrine to teenage girl nostalgia are really just bizarre to me because.... Rookie is a website for teenage girls. As in, that is the purpose. So duh. That is the space in which ist intentionally occupies. That is who it's for. It's not about you if you're not a teenage girl, though you are welcome to read it, of course. You just aren't the priority.

It's not supposed to be a website dedicated to becoming an adult, it's a website where teenage girls can read stuff about being a teenage girl, and are treated like mature people whose lives revolve around things they care about, and they are taken seriously and their desires and hobbies are celebrated, it's not about their relationship with boys and how to get them to notice you like so many other 'teen platforms' are for. Someone literally wrote, "Why is Rookie pushing a youth-centric agenda? What's wrong with growing up?" And I... I'm speechless, because like..you're missing the damn point. Rookie is a website for the youth. It's about appreciating your adolescence. And if you don't like that, well, ok then, but complaining about it like it is doing you a personal disservice by not doing exactly what you want when you aren't the target audience seems  like a waste of your time and energy. 

Read the about us for Rookie here. Note the distinct lack of "website for twenty something's to be nostalgic about stuff and be twee" in the description. 
I also feel really grossed out and shamed by the idea of me having displaced anybody just for my personal decision of dying my hair purple/green/whatever and for my decision to wear colorful clothes. My appearance isn't a vessel for your own existence to be defined off of. I don't exist just to upset or make you feel more real. We're not being existentialists here. And as someone who has known me / read me / blah blah for years, you know my style is something I treat as personally and as intimately as my thoughts, so for someone to say I have displaced them just for my personal attire, that I have essentially invalidated their own presence in the blogosphere, that is something I take personally, and it hurts and it makes me angry. Because if you leave the blogosphere, that's on you. I've said it before that the blogosphere is fucked up, but it's not something you can blame on the "weird girl" trope, it's something to be blamed on the larger system of capitalism and privileging a more marketable ready to sell appearance over sincerity and unique voices. It's certainly not another person's responsibility to validate you as a person. If you are blogging for validation, you are going to be disappointed, because at what point is x amount of comments going to be enough? How many likes will make you happy? There is always going to be a desire for just one more comment. Just one more reblog. That is so exhausting  and it's putting he power over your insecurities in their hands.You're looking for happiness in other people, and you're shaming them for their own appearances, for them taking up space you wish was yours, when there is plenty space for both of you to exist peacefully. 

If I wear black and white, it cancels out the purple hair, so I'm not a Weird Internet Girl anymore, right? Am I doing this right?
If there is anything, anything that I have ever wanted to make clear through my blogging is that yes, there is enough space for you to be whoever you want, to create your own identity. We should be building each other up, not shaming each other. There is enough of that everywhere already. Celebrate your identity and I will 100% be there with you, as long as you don't fuck with mine. And my identity happens to include purple hair and colorful clothes, but it is certainly not the end all be all, and to be reduced to the trope of being simple another "weird girl" who sells the idea of a cult of perpetual adolescence, it bothers me. Because I don't want my identity to be reduced to that -- it's more than that, all of my personal appearance choices are things I've made purposefully and meaningfully because they help me feel like the person I'm supposed to be, and my own decisions validate the person I hope I am. Everything I wear and do is to celebrate the fact that I exist and I can make my own choices and be whatever the hell I want to be, and none of that takes away from you being the person you want to be. At all. The purpose of my blog is not to make someone else want to be me, it's just to share who I am and hope that someone is inspired enough by my honesty and my sincerity and acceptance that they want to be who they are, too, and to explore who that person might be. This is not a place where I prioritize looking good for other people, it's a place where I prioritize looking good and feeling good about myself and where I can be honest about my insecurities and dreams and my feelings. 

I am not a 2-D Teen Weird Girl of the Internet made to serve you and make you want to dye your hair too, and if you see me as that, you aren't seeing me at all. You have failed to look closer. And that is your loss. 

edit: this post was not to meant to be a "isabel is so wrong let's bash on her" post, so please don't resort to mud slinging -- i've responded to comments in the comments section and i consider the matter closed. thank you for reading.

93 comments:

Hazel said...

* slow clap *

<3 <3 <3

Lydia said...

The part about her post that really pissed ME off was the part about a large part of blogging being about validation, "likes," and comments. Um, what? In the comment I left her, I said I thought blogging was about self-expression and sharing with others, and that I didn't blog for validation, and maybe that was the part of feminism she was really missing.

Susie Bean said...

aha this made me want to stand up and applaud, which would be weird because everyone else in my house is asleep right now. I dont understand why people have issues with rookie and the whole aesthetic that comes along with it. If you dont like it, fine, dont read it. But as a big fan of Rookie, I can say that it has cheered me up when im down, and has made me become more confident in myself, and im sure loads if girls feel exactly the same. So surely thats a good thing!

Louise said...

I haven't read the comments on isabel's post but I agreed with her main sentiment, which seemed to me that many bloggers are stuck in a whirlwind of pink and meadham kirchoff, which is fine - I've had pink and purple hair I know what its about, but I felt her point was more that these bloggers are no longer representing some of their original followers who may now be 'grown up'. I used to look at blogs for style inspiration (to live in real life, I've never had a style blog) but now I'm 22 they just don't represent 'me' anymore, they're for another generation I grow more distant from every day.

leilani.e said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Valentina said...

This post was well-executed. I could go on about all the points I agree with, but it would basically be all of them.

Catty Fox said...

I don't want to personally insult hipster musings, not just because she's your friend because well, it sort of defeats the whole purpose of this blog, doesn't it. I just feel like her post comes from a place of insecurity, and that it's something she needs to address herself before lashing out. It's fine if you don't want to dye your hair purple or wear rainbow overalls, it's not fine to hit out at people who do because of your choice not too.
Love,

a 22 year old grown up who still dyes her hair ridiculous colours, dresses like a weirdo, cries over sailor moon and gets little to no 'validation' for it.

Kaitlyn said...

I agree. Why would I want my look to be validated? It's my own. I'm my own person, and I'd rather be known for being original than being part of some popular trend. :<

Bella said...

Wow, this is spot on. I've been reading Rookie since the very beginning and personally, Tavi is my hero. I kinda find it disrespectful to refer to Rookie as "The Rookie cult" or "The Rookie craze" or "the cult of perpetual teenagehood". Also, WHAT is up with the girls in the comments saying "I feel so bad because I have dyed hair now."? That just seems like a bad thing for a blog post to do-make people feel bad about themselves for something they've chosen to do with their appearance. I personally won't be reading the blog much again.

P.S. I thought the generalizations in the comments were horrible. Okay, call the Rookie readers (such as myself) a "pink haired girl talking about having hairy underarms". That isn't ME, and I'm willing to bet it isn't most of the people who read Rookie! There are so many people who read Rookie... I wish that people on the blogosphere could be kinder to each other.

leilani.e said...

"Everything I wear and do is to celebrate the fact that I exist and I can make my own choices and be whatever the hell I want to be, and none of that takes away from you being the person you want to be. At all."

This articulates a lot of what I've been bothered by in Isabel's post. I closed that window so hard I didn't even bother to read the comments section... it's disheartening. I've been reading her blog for a few years and reading some of her things up here in Canada (WORN etc. ftw!) but the tone in the past year has shifted to a very uncomfortable tenor of self-promotion, or at least I think that's what's been bothering me.

A part of that may be discomfort at the transition out of university, perhaps, and believe me I know what that lost feeling can be like, being at the end of school myself. Finding how to spend your time is hard. But. Saying you aren't validated anymore sounds like saying I'm finding my place is and I resent those who seem to have taken it. That's kind of an un-self-aware thing to say. Discussing that transition, examining your own self-perception and how you see your place in the industry would be more honest, and personally I think really, really interesting.

Posting about your publishing work (good for her!) and how awesome you are and how you don't need it turns that space into a marketed version of yourself, for those likes/comments/etc... If you're really excited about doing all that work and loving it and want to share it, do so! Don't hold back on something you're enthusiastic about just because you don't think it will be liked.

Really good marketing never makes comparisons, it simply asserts its value and lets the audience conclude how awesome it is (if it is, indeed, awesome). It felt like bad marketing, that post. Everyone's allowed a bad day or a period of feeling lost, but that post seemed to miss the point. Blogs are an opportunity to share a valuable (bright, broken or otherwise) piece of yourself or story with the world in the name of connection and building shared stories that make sense.

This is an articulate, well thought-out response. Thanks for that.

*Edited because, errr, it's what I do... and I used some fairly dumb turns of phrase. I'm sure there are some still in there and this may be as clear as mud.

Rowanne said...

Yes. Yes. Yes. Labeling groups of people is dismissive and accomplishes nothing. No one can be diminished to their appearances or even just their likes/dislikes. People are more than that. And girls are people so GIRLS are more than that. Arabelle, you speak the truth.

brie said...

i've been reading Rookie since Tavi's first Editor's Letter and i have found it to be an amazing source for inspiration and creativity. i just want to give you a big hug for this post. i really think your emphasis on the importance of getting rid of girl hate is perfect.

Akosua said...

What you said at the end about someone being inspired by you through this blog, well it's true. Since I started reading Fashion Pirates I've been more open minded,and reary to explore who I am. I've been able to have my own beliefs and also be more comfortable about who I am. And for those who feel like they've grown up out of it that's for you to deal with because a blogger(or anyone else for that matter) isn't supposed to mould to you and how you grow. Either way,thanks for writing this post Arabelle.

Mai said...

I wonder where it started to happen when someone's ability to do something was automatically hampered by others doing it differently. Fashion is supposed to be about personal style and I find it strange that it's being said that being "weird" is so mainstream that being "boring" is too deflating to do.

Ginger said...

This articulates very well not only many of my INTENSE STYLE FEELS but my disappointment in reading the discussed post. I've always been an odd bird in my guts and my heart and all those other organs, but it was the intentional, crafted aesthetic expression thereof that gave me the most agency. To express who we are at bottom - or to shroud it - through a glittery whatever is each "weird girl"'s prerogative, just as it is the... "normal girl"'s (?) prerogative to keep on doin' her thing. The end. Full stop. The thought that my daily armor - a healing, space-claiming (and sharing), self-loving thing - is somehow displacing to anyone is pretty baffling to me. To act as though someone's personal style, like, steals your validation hurts all of us and does perpetuate some pretty damaging girl-hate. All of this to say: Arabelle, I feel ya.

stephanie says said...

well DAMN. I wholeheartedly agree. And in a way, on either side of the spectrum, I think both you and Isabel make valid points and I enjoy both of your blogs. And of course, when one chooses to make their thoughts public and give their opinions and bodies essentially for others to judge, and perhaps feel at the end of the day that it's still a popularity contest, then that person has to step back and realize the base of what they're doing and the platform they are doing it on. I love your style and your point of view, and yes, I am a 25 year old women who is still figuring out her own style and identity, but reading blogs is a way of seeing other styles that exist, instead of an unorganized rule book that depicts how women from 13-28 should be. I know that I don't need to dye my hair purple or blond or add the word "vibes" to the end of my sentences, but I think it's great that others do. I really love seeing girls wearing zana bayne's harnesses; I wish I had one too; that's the extent of my identity snatching. Let's all just bite the bullet and call it inspiration instead of a need for validation, opening the floodgates for disrespect.

shelby hubbard said...

I've always found Rookie to be a good source of self-love and appreciation. Sometimes I feel like if the internet were were a high school that maybe I wouldn't fit in with the "Rookie Club" but then I realize I probably would because I love people who love themselves and I love to love those people! I love being crazy and fun and feeling glad to be me. Rookie provides so many different perspectives. I like different perspectives, even if they're the polar opposite of my own.

Isabel said...

Oh Arabelle, I love you and think you are super smart and really appreciate you writing this post. You are absolutely right, and I wasn't articulating any sort of grand argument on the topic, just saying that these things aren't necessarily for me and that is why I have been so silent on the blog front lately.

I am sure you aware that I was not trying to be judge-y and I am so sorry it came off that way. I KNOW you look the way you do to feel like yourself and you are an awesome, strong lady for doing so. Girl love, always.

PS - I was wondering where the surge of semi-negative comments on my blog came from! Always glad to get input and different perspectives into the conversation.

caitlin said...

thank you for writing about this, and speaking so fantastically eloquently on something that could have quite easily turned to mud slinging. What made me the most angry about Is was that women were being defined by their external features. Our identities are our OWN, not up for discussion, or commentary thankyouverymuch end of story.

caitrín said...

YES! yes yes yse

Isabel said...

For a really long time the fashion blogging world felt like the only place in the world I was able to fit in and make friends, and nowadays I just don't feel like I fit in anywhere anymore. My feelings are definitely coming from a place of insecurity and I'm glad there are people willing to acknowledge that with me.

liluratu said...

You probably don't know this guy, he's an Australian cartoonist called Leunig, and he was recently interviewed in one of my favorite magazines. One of the things he said is relevant to this/blogging, and also struck a chord for me. Here is the quote: "You've got to market yourself now. It's hard to have your fumbling experimental thoughts, your vulnerable thoughts, your half-formed inconclusive ideas, but they're vital. It's vital to stay with it. Keep something really important to yourself to develop slowly and don't be afraid of your vulnerability. That's your creativity. Know that it's right. Know that's the way." I think it really relates to this 'validation' thing. Everyone always wants new ideas, they want to sell themselves, be the first. Creativity and self expression looks different in all people! Arabelle you are such a role model to me not because of your hair or the way you dress but the reason why you do these things.

Dee said...

when i read that post I was really confused by the things you pointed out, and by all of the comments that agreed with it and congratulated the author on her bravery for saying those things out loud. one particular comment was saying that this type of feminism was trying to define what a woman is, while i think the people behind rookie are trying to do the opposite. to move away from labels. and another comment was conflating the whole "Rookie Aesthetic" with a new wave of feminism we are apparently undergoing (and of course saying how wrong it is).
i mean, i'm turning 24 tomorrow and i respect what rookie is doing, while understanding that while it would have been awesome to have this when i was a teenager, it's no longer my demographic.
also, the rookie weird girl aesthetic they keep referring to. that's not one website's fault. i was reminded of nerdfighters, because when that whole thing started it was supposed to be totally inclusive and yes, value intellect but not attempt to insult or disparage people with other interests. however, in the last couple of years there has been a divisive tendency and the definition of what a nerdfighter should be was limited (you have to like doctor who, you have to like wrock and harry potter and sherlock and this and that). but that's not the vlogbrothers' fault, it might be what happens when a group gets large enough to define common trends (that might be for an anthropologist to decipher). anyway, sorry about the comment length!

Liora said...

Yes, yes, yes.
I agree with like, everything you wrote. So I won't repeat what has already been said. But, kudos for writing this and for being yourself.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this! I'm a little bit speechless right now, and in shock of the complete misunderstanding of what Rookie is. I wish everyone would just be whoever the are instead of being worried about what's commonly showing up on the internet, and how they are/are not like it. Sigh. END THE HATE PEOPLE. Thank you!

Tricia said...

I really appreciated this post and the emphasis on personal choice. I think you can very much be a participant in a moment in fashion/trend/whatever you want to call it without losing your personal aesthetic voice.

And I also don't think that GG or Rookie are telling you how! you! have! to! be! just because they gravitate towards certain looks. I'm part of the GG team, but my style is super minimalistic/preppy, and I know that not all the Rookie staffers are constantly sporting flower crowns. And you know what? I doubt any of us have ever felt any pressure to be something other than what we are to write for these websites.

Angie Wu said...

Thank you Arabelle. Thank you for posting posts like this to show the superficial folks that only see what's on the surface that they are sad, thank you for being such an inspiration to your followers, and thank you for being so brave. XX

Allison said...

Thank you so much for posting this. I knew something about that post didn't sit well with me, but I wasn't able to put it into words as eloquently as you did here. I think what gets to me the most about people who generalize about Rookie readers and tumblr girls is that they assume we're just trying to be carbon copies of Tavi. That is so hurtful and untrue. We're just dressing in response to the things that resonate with us, and if that means having hairy pits, pink hair, and flower crowns, why is that such a big problem? I don't think this is necessarily the point that Isabel was trying to make, but it's one I've heard from plenty of other people.

Tavi said...

<3

The post made me sad because, like you, I've always tried with my blog and with Rookie to encourage people to find their own style. On Rookie, we never dictate fashion rules, we try to never make anyone feel obligated to be into something just because other people (including us) are, we actually DO have a number of photo editorials and style posts solely about jeans and t-shirts and not glittery stuff, etc. Every month is even a slightly different aesthetic, changing with each theme. February probably spoke to you more if you like the Meadham Kirchhoff thing, March was overalls and articles about astronomy, July was all sportswear and being comfy, etc. I'm not saying we're all-inclusive, because that would be impossible, but we do have more variety than I felt Isabel's post or the comments gave us credit for. And even if we don't succeed in the way I'm saying we try to, well, we're a magazine, so obviously we have a point-of-view and an aesthetic. I don't think "they have a style and it's not my own" is a valid criticism. I don't think it's wrong that other girls feel inspired by it. And, like you said, it can exist next to publications with aesthetics and points-of-view that are different from Rookie's.

The anger about it being about being a teenager just blows my mind. Obviously Rookie isn't about being in your twenties. (Though, again, if people would just look at more of the content instead of the immediately seemingly "weird girl" stuff, they'd see that we do have stuff about college, growing away from family, about making decisions, general "growing up" matters, etc.) I remember one article about Rookie where the writer said that when she was a teen, she didn't want to read about other teen movies or TV shows the way we always talk about our fictional teen heroines. She wanted to read about ADULTS, when she was a teen, because they're more interesting and the characters on Friends are so aspirational and fascinating and foreign and gave her something to look forward to, etc. Therefore, this woman wrote, how could it be plausible that these other teenagers today would want to read about characters and people their own age, who make them excited about who they are now (other than, I don't know, the fact that they say so in our comments and on their blogs)?

And I just felt like, why can't we make being a teenager something that can be somewhat enjoyable, (even though, AGAIN, we acknowledge the ickiness too), why can't we just try to help make this experience positive for people, why build up expectations for adulthood for people who already feel like it's so far away? Obviously youth is fetishized in our culture. But I don't think Rookie is to blame. I don't think we're wrong in celebrating being a teenager to our teenage audience, when we also counter it with honest articles about the ways in which adolescence can be really hard to get through.

A lot of my time spent fashion blogging and working on Rookie is time spent trying to show that you *can* identify with this girly aesthetic and be interested in fashion without it invalidating any ways in which you might be smart or mature. It just strikes me as lazy to simplify Rookie into the manic pixie aesthetic without taking into account all the writing on our site that discusses the topic of growing up fairly eloquently. The goal of Rookie has never been to be a place for the cool girls, but to let people know that whatever they're like already, that's enough. Whatever your style is, that's stylish enough, solely because YOU LIKE IT AND YOU WEAR IT, and that is awesome.

I have a lot of thoughts on this, obviously, and I wish this could've been more eloquent, but, there it is. Thanks for this post, Arabelle. We're very lucky to have you.

Kelly said...

This is perfect Arabelle.

Ria said...

Mmmmm this post gives me so many feelings. Love it.

Psychedelic Daisy said...

Being a teenage girl myself (14), Rookie has helped me soooo much. I feel so lucky to have it around, because every other magazine talks about how to get guys to look at you or the 'latest trends', where Rookie is so pro-self love and loving who you truly are and liking whatever the hell you want to like.
Anyone who thinks Rookie or your blog are all about pushing trends is missing the point.
Thanks for writing this. It was so articulate and wonderful.

Kelly said...

This is perfect Arabelle.

maggie said...

Although I personally do not follow Rookie/use it for inspiration (even though I'm within the demographic), I knew of it, and I think it does provide a place for teenage girls like myself to derive inspiration and let girls feel better about themselves. -- And while I understand Isabel was stating her opinion, I believe it should have been made in a much more respectful tone of voice. You don't have to like the whole cotton candy haired soft grunge whatever aesthetic, but you have no right to bash it so viciously like that, because in doing so, A) you hurt the confidence of girls who so happen to enjoy and follow the aesthetic, and B) reveal your personal insecurities about your looks. Some females, like yourself, dye her hair/wear "outlandish" clothing because it is their personal preference and it reflects themselves. Some just do it to follow the trend. But in the end, they are doing it for themselves, and not anyone else, and I don't think anyone has the right to infringe upon that right.

Express your opinion all you want, just do it in a way that won't get you this horrible backlash.

Ivy M. said...

this is a really nicely put together post. I don't know much about the fashion blogging world, but I do read Rookie semi-religously. I've often been overwhelmed by how girlishly fantastic it is. What Isabel said on her blog was a very mean thing. I was especially upset by the comment where someone said that they felt ashamed for dyeing their hair after reading the Isabel's post. It literally made me feel sick. Nobody should compromise their style because of one person's opinion. Arabelle, thank you for this very thoughtful and considerate post, and i hope Isabel can in the future consider all sides of a topic before she post something. I'm looking forward to dyeing my hair blue this week.

Madison said...

Good job for standing up for yourself and all the teenage girls that I'm sure have read the other post as well. xx

m said...

This is a beautiful, eloquent response to Isabel's post. As a twentysomething myself, I don't frequent Rookie, but I love what I've seen of it. The first time I visited the site, I found myself wishing there had been something like that when I was a teen, because it promotes such a positive view of young women and individuality.

As a fashion student, I felt she really missed the mark when she said that a large part of fashion blogging is validation. Fashion is not about validation, and anyone who thinks this is the case really has no business having a fashion blog.

That being said, I think your blog is lovely. Over the years I've really appreciated your posts on unconventional beauty, wabi-sabi, and feminism, and I'm glad that you continue to share your unique view of the world with us.

Inés said...

Wow, I cant believe all the problematic that can merge from blogs and tumblrs!
When it was supposed to be a way of expressing yourself and let the whole world to be able to reach different people, thoughts, style, anything... and later it had become more like the horrible real world :-/

I´m already 30, and I enjoy reading a lot of blogs made by teenagers because I believe they -you- have a lot to say, share and, well, I love all the differents styles, tastes and colorful hairs hehe
I read ROOKIE sometimes and it is interesting even if you´re not a teenager.
Things like loving yourself and learning how to do it, for example, is not something you learn once, you have to keep reminding it to yourself.

And the one thing I really like about all this movement, all the ROOKIE roadtrip, and the different blogs, tumblrs, etc, is the feeling of support between girls (and boys), the amazing creativity shared, the encouragement to try to do everything and anything. And I think that´s amazing. And that´s what should be preserved.
If there´s people that only want to follow what anybody says/likes/do is because they´re missing the point...
Well, I kinda lost my way in the writing... :P

Keep on been amazing all of you.

krissy said...

tavi pointed out in her TED talk speech that feminism is a discussion and a process.

rookie is a powerful thing that's resonating with so many girls and women, and there are so many wonderful people that are taking part in it. there is so much sincerity and hard work at that publication. although i've never thought to stereotype or demonize rookie or gg in any way (22 yr old RELIGIOUS rookie reader over here), i can understand the insecurity isabel must be facing. it's a "tough act to follow" if you are being competitive, but i absolutely believe there is room for so much more!

becky nos said...

Arabelle, I just want to thank you for writing this post. Ever since I read the post in question I've been thinking about it and about why it bothers me, and I'm glad to see it's not just me. You write so eloquently and concisely, every time. So thanks.

Lee said...

This is a beautiful post.

I concur.

Love,

A 23 year old walking rainbow who likes colours not because it is a 'trend', or Tavi and Rookie said so, but because I like colours.
I wish Rookie had started 10 years ago. I might have had the ballz to dress like I wanted and be a little happier with myself at the most awkward and insecure point in my (and pretty much everyone's) life.

Magnet said...

You're so good at articulating the way you feel about a particular topic, I'm quite envious of this skill you have. I read your blog and Isabel's blog. You both seem like very interesting ladies, in your own unique ways. I agreed with parts of Isabel's post. I also found the judgements about the way Tavi looks now, bizarre, what's wrong with wearing loads of eye shadow? I mean, anyone ever heard of Alice Glass? Her eye make up is freaking amazing. Well, in my opinion. I used to pack on the eyeshadow when I was 16 too actually. Getting off topic here. I don't have any problem with the existence of Rookie, the only thing I have a problem with is the fact that I feel so old compared to all these awesome 16 year olds who are inspired by rookie on tumblr. That just sucks for me. I almost wish something like Rookie existed when I was a teen, the teens of today are lucky, when I was a teen, the blogging community was TINY and I was too afraid to tell people of my blog for fear of being called a nerd.

That's something I don't have in common with you, you're amazing self esteem, I think that part of you is seriously AMAZING, honestly. In that sense, you truly inspire me. I've always struggled with self love. Getting off topic again.

I'm fine with observation of an emerging style culture inspired by a magazine, but I don't think one should assume everyone with pink or purple or whatever coloured hair is the same. I mean, yeah, there are a lot more people with pink hair these days, but there are way more people who choose to have brown, or black or wait a minute. WHO CARES ABOUT HAIR COLOURS ANYWAY?! I like this hair colour trend to be honest. Why? Because I have sincerely wanted my hair to be pink since I was 13. By the time I got older, I realised that my hair was thin and weak. I was scared of frying the hell out of it. Seeing so many people with coloured hair now though.. has just, forced me to get the fuck over my fears and do it. So what if I kind of damage my hair. It will grow back right? So I'm going to do it soon, in the next two weeks hopefully, and for somebody to assume that I'm going to do it, just to fit in with some trend is quite judgemental and unfair. However, even if I DID want to do it to fit in, is that really such a huge deal? There are much worse things in this life.

I don't check out Rookie very often, seeing as I'm 21, and it's obvs not targeted towards me, but as I said on Isabel's post, I think Rookie is great.

My comments never make sense, I always have this feeling that I come across as kind of an idiot. Hmm. I don't think anyone should be blogging for any sort of validation, I don't think anyone should do anything for any sort of validation, unless it's for your boss or something so you can get a promotion and make the $$ if that's what you want. (But that's just my own perspective, I don't like telling people that I think they should DEFINITELY DO THIS, CAUSE AT THE END OF THE DAY, DO WHATEVER THE FUCK YOU WANT MAN) I mean honestly, I don't. I learnt, a long time ago, from being a total loser and having zero friends. Who gives a flying fuck about what anybody else thinks of you? When I first started blogging, I averaged 1 - 2 comments.. even now I only get like 7 - 9, but I really don't give a shit. I don't blog for anyone and I don't sit here on my computer on Saturday nights making those colourful graphics for anyone but myself. Because it's fun, and I enjoy it. Maybe I don't give a fuck because I've never fit in anywhere. One of my friends once called me a drifter, she said, "Sophie, you're such a drifter.. you just don't fit in anywhere, you have no purpose in a group, you just drift through life. It's kind of sad, a bit lonely" Meh, I actually like it that way.

I feel like I've hijacked your post now. I love your posts. You already know I love your style, so well put together and great ALL THE TIME!

Marjolein said...

Hipstermusing is focusing too much on Tumblr I think. There's not everyday a picture of someone with pink/purple/green hair on rookiemag. Off course there are a lot of girls in 'eye candy' who wear clothes that not all of us would wear, but that's why it's called eye candy, people just like to look at it!
Some people use Tumblr as eye-candy-blog and I think that's why she got that generalized thoughts. When I post pink hair it doesn't mean i have/want it.
AND, very important!: Dressing up/doing make up/talking about teenagethings makes me happy, and I think I can speak for a lot of Rookies, and isn't being happy the most important thing :)?

Anonymous said...

I honestly think the press industry is afraid of Rookie. It teaches girls to love themselves.

Anonymous said...

I honestly think the press industry is afraid of Rookie. It teaches girls to love themselves.

Dayzee said...

wow Arabelle I love you.

I actually had no idea there was all this criticism for Rookie! I don't have dyed hair and I don't dress like a fairy all the time, but I do feel like I fit in with all the other Rookie readers and feminists! Rookie has always been an amazing help to me and I think anyone saying it is for people in their 20 has totally overlooked like half of their articles about being yourself and girl hate and moving out and family.

Rie said...

i completely agree. just because a certain aesthetic has become popular among teenage girls on the internet does not mean other people have to feel excluded by it. there are plenty of successful bloggers who do not adhere to this aesthetic, so to see other people say they feel like their blog isn't good enough as a result is just ridiculous. first of all, who gives a shit if your blog isn't the most read? it's not about that. and this idea that anyone who isn't a 'wierd teen girl' feels inadequate sounds pretty immature in itself. dare i say it, a little teenage. teenage girls are allowed to explore and experiment and go through phases, if you're an adult then maybe you feel developed enough already not to do the same. fine, but just accept not everyone's at that point yet.
it's ironic how people are criticising rookie for being exclusive when i feel it is the most inclusive place on the internet. and my hair is just blonde.

ginormouspotato said...

i agree with everything you said. i don't understand what the problem is with wearing "loud" or strange clothes and having dyed hair even if you're not a teen? i'm 21 and i've only just dyed my whole head purple in june because i was inspired to finally do it by friends in real life AND internet people such as yourself and celia and ari. and i've been inspired on so many levels to be more daring in how i dress and act by the same people, even though i'm not a teen. and i personally don't see a problem with that. i'm still figuring things out despite being in my 20s. and that's ok.

i read rookie everyday and i get that a lot of the things that are posted or talked about might not be your thing, but that happens with all magazines. they all have a certain feel to them and that means they'll tend to publish things that fit in their interests and what not. i just, aghhh it's just a little sad to read that post and feel a 20 year old shame me for having purple hair and wearing peace sign printed stretchy shorts and blue tights and a green tshirt or whatever.

i'm in my 20s and i'm still figuring things out as if i were 16, my sexuality, my style and how i present myself and how i behave. and that's ok.

michalina said...

have you seen the old old movie fountainhead? i watched it yesterday and i believe it can give one a clue in this situation you write about. the tip is not to care, like, never, what the others've got to say about you in person, your work, your life etc. it just doesn't matter and won't ever matter so just do your thing. i am a reader of your blog for some time now but it's my first comment. and i just wanted to say girls don't fight. x

michalina said...

and how can anyone get to the point that liking rookie equals wanting to go back to one's teenage years - such a nonsence. and caring if anything is 'mainstream' or 'goes mainstream' is even more silly and going on about it is pointless - generally speaking i find both of your posts really unnecessary. but still it made me post a comment here for the 1st time so. xx, random reader. : )

Quatsching said...

Hey just to play devil's advocate, perhaps Isabel felt that there was no fashion/life/feminist forum for people in their twenties, and that Rookie was perhaps mistakenly perceived to be what is intended for them? Obviously I can't speak for her and that would be wrong to do so, but I can understand what she'saying in that the variety of bloggers for this specific market is very small. Which is unfortunate, however I don't think she should blame either Rookie or Girlguts for this.

Heart Rot Chick said...

so much yes

Jessie said...

This post is great!

Isabel also states in her post that she now writes for xoJane,and I understand that Jane Pratt was the founding editor of Sassy,which some people think of as the 90s version of Rookie.Sassy was for teenage girls in the 90s,so why can't the newer generation of teens have the same thing?

Jasmine Nicole said...

hmmm I am in my twenties and I still enjoy rookie mag. I love my purple hair. I love all personal style bloggers no matter what their style...my main attraction is their writing. I did not really understand Isabella's post. Isn't style basically being yourself and expressing yourself? shouldn't everyone experiment with different trends? I know everyone is entitled to their opinion but I enjoy Rookie mag and wish I knew about Tavi in my high school years.

Alexandra King, Independent Bridal and Womenswear Designer said...

I love this, I love Rookie and I'm 28. I just like being inspired by girls who have complete creative freedom and genuine honest expression.
Yeah it's nostagic to me (hope this isn't patronizing) because it reminds me of that feeling I had 10 years ago of being able to do anything and wear anything.
I wish Rookie and Fashion pirate were around then but at least I get to read it now and enjoy in a whole different way as a designer. Us girls in our twenties really are just jealous.
Don't ever change yourself, for anyone, any job, ever.

Nicole Pittman said...

I just wanted to send a quick note to say how much I admire you. Similar to what Alexandra King has said, a lot of this is nostalgic to me, but I also realize that this is something you're experiencing for the first time. I'm reminded of when Tavi first found Hole, and reminded me so much of the time when I first heard them, and how much it meant to me at that time.

You are so incredibly well-spoken, and intelligent. I love hearing your perspective of things, and I'm very thankful you share them.

RE: Hipster Musings and the blogging to garner comments and 'likes': Back in the day I changed my LiveJournal "Comments" to read "Validations of my existence." Or something like that. I understand wanting positive feedback from people, but I truly think that it's a mistake to have that as a goal for a blog (subconsciously or otherwise).

Anyway, I commend you on this post, and I appreciate your willingness to put yourself out there with your style/aesthetic.

sugoi-punk said...

It angers me when people like her bash on well... people like me. Oh excuse me for having pink hair and excuse me for following trends that are colourful and "weird"! I don't blog because I want people to love me and like me, I do it because I think it's fun and a creative outlet for me! I don't wear "weird" clothes etc because I want to get famous or something, fashion has always been a huuuge hobby of mine and it's my life, honestly. I don't put on my clothes for other people. It always makes me mad when people think people like me have these differtnt styles because they want people to look at them! I DO THIS FOR ME, NOT FOR YOU!

& something that always pisses me of is when someone bashes on something "weird" girls war and then suddenly they wear those things themselves! Like platform sneakers and creepers etc was a very weird & ugly thing to the majority of people (atleast I felt like it was???) just a year ago, and now everybody wants them! hypocrisy much?

+

IF YOU DON'T LIKE SOMETHING, THEN GOOD FOR YOU BECAUSE YOU KNOW WHAT? YOU DON'T HAVE TO HAVE PINK HAIR IF YOU WANT TO? SO SHUT UP.

I don't really know where I'm going with this comment, I'm just upset with this thing and her post and other poeple who think alike...

Katrina said...

This used to be a really loving community. Blogging is supposed to be about self-expression and keeping yourself as you want to be: whether it be purple haired, hipster fabulous, or otherwise. It makes me sad that this happened.

Chris.T.K said...

i love rookiemag, it's one of the biggest positive influences on my life. keep going, don't ever let blog posts like that bring any of you brilliant people down. all the best xxx

Isadora said...

Amen to this.

saffronsugar.com said...

I really don't understand what's so wrong about being a "weird" girl! So freaking what if you wanna dress in lots of colours or dye your hair all weird. If it is what makes a person happy and makes them feel comfortable with themselves, how the hell can someone else criticise them for being some sort of MPDG stereotype or trope? It's so rude to categorize people that way. I think it's really lovely to have a blog community where people feel like they can express themselves in whatever wacky ways they like, write about what's important to them without compromising their personal aesthetic (or opinions for that matter) for the comfort of certain readers. I think what you guys are doing is really great, it's intellectual but also fun and liberating. That's a great thing.

Adrienne Deeble said...

I think its great that teenagers have their own venue to write and read about things that are relevant to their age group, as opposed to being forced into adulthood as many other forms of media do. However, I don't think it is "girl hate" to offer critique. Isabel's post highlighted an issue with a dominant aesthetic beginning to arise, which is deviating from unique self-expression and more about "the other". This happens a lot with aesthetics and subcultures, particularly with blogs. The internet is not only a means of communication, but a form of validation for small-town weirdos (as I once was), and the last stop for kids who sat at the misfit tables. So, I can empathize with someone losing their niche in something as vast as the internet, and as a WOC, I do find my self-esteem is lower when I can't find media that is representative of me. Also, re-reading her piece, she's coming from the perspective of someone who freelances. When you work in the creative industry and you are not what's new and fresh, you're kind of screwed. That said, I can understand why someone would read her piece and find it derisive, and I am also leery of co-signing a blog called "hipster musings".

As I enter young adulthood, I'm seeing more and more women my age and older (sometimes much older) obsessed with "the cult of perpetual teenagehood". [As an aside, I once met a 30-something who was obsessed with current teen girl culture and subsequently told me she followed a lot of teen girl Tumblrs.] Honestly this is nothing new- the fashion industry uses teen models as the ideal, and the beauty industry pumps aging cream on you once you hit 20 (if you don't believe me open up an issue of Cosmo). Its kind of absurd that 20-somethings feel the need to jump on the bandwagon of people so much younger than them. Whether that's a personal issue, a cultural issue, or a bit of both, I can't say. Isabel's post, while obviously flippant, touches on this issues of nostalgia and anachronism, although not in a particularly eloquent way.

Personally, I see a lot of problematic people and fashions being promoted within the girly blogosphere (i.e. cultural appropriation, inaccurate historiographies, etc) and I think this might open up a good discussion for this. I also see a lot of people on the internet (not necessarily teenagers) ignoring problematic behaviors because it is a part of a subculture they love. By neglecting to look at media as critically as they would, say, MTV or FOX, people are perpetuating a lot of problematic behavior, a cultural "peter-pan" syndrome of sorts, which I find somewhat related to critiques of "the cult of teenagehood".

Just some food for thought, keep that PMA etc etc etc.
j
PS when you guys hit 22 you'll realize its still not "grown-up" but you're getting there.

melly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
stevie said...

Hi, I would like to chime in here in support of Isabel since I feel like I'm taking crazy pills right now. I read Isabel's post yesterday and honestly didn't think too much of it except, "wow, I did notice that!" It's true, everyone's speshul snowflake *different* style (on the internet, anyway) has kind of morphed into this creepily familiar pastel sparkly modcloth asthetic. If you claim that you don't notice, you're full of it and I applaud her for being honest enough to comment on that and put it out there. I don't think she was in any way trying to invalidate anyone's ""originality"" or whatever, she just made a comment on something she noticed. Nothing more, nothing less. I also would like to point out that I think that she didn't mean Arabelle specifically because Arabelle is one of those people that TRULY has her OWN UNIQUE aesthetic, changing as she herself changes, not as she sees other tumblrites/bloggers do. Isabel does have her own AWESOME style as well, it just doesn't currently jive with what's hot hot hot in the blogosphere right now. Everyone here leaving sycophantic messages to Arabelle and slamming Isabel at the same time is just perpetuating girl hate and misconstruing her personal opinions as a direct attack on their internet idols. I'm not going to sit here and PRETEND I didn't notice that Isabel is right on and I'm also not going to get all butt-hurt because I have my own personal style and I don't need validation from anyone but myself, like Arabelle was saying. So, please, Calm Down people. Don't get your flower crowns in such a bunch about it.

Nosferatulle said...

MY LORD. THANK YOU. THANK YOU FOR THIS.

Charlotte. said...

Gosh, you are wonderful. And this is so wonderful. This is kind of exactly how I felt after reading Isabel's post, but I couldn't have said anything anywhere near as beautiful and articulate and clear cut as you. Amazing, as always.

Ms. Dee said...

Of course it's perfectly fine to have an opinion, but it gets into tough territory when the result is people feeling bad about themselves, though I know it was unintentional.

If some Rookie readers seem to have a certain look, maybe it's because they feel more like themselves with neon hair, maybe they have similar taste. One of the perks of blogging is connecting with people through common interests.

As for colorful hair and perpetual teenagerhood, I've had pink hair off and on for about 5 years now and it makes me feel awesome. I'm 27 - I don't do it to make myself more teen-like. I had pink hair at my wedding. I will be a pink-haired old lady. I'll read blogs by pink-haired girls, green-haired girls, brunettes, bald girls, whoever, as long as I am interested in the person. The nice thing is there's absolutely room for everyone! One aesthetic doesn't displace another.

Jessica said...

I think it's quite rude of you to call Isabel out like this, to make it so public. If she is your friend, a person you claim to admire and respect then why not speak to her personally?
Of course she was not referring to you when she mentioned purple hair and colorful clothes. She clearly wasn't slating Rookie or girl-guts either.
I totally get what she's saying. It's foolish to ignore the fact that everybody looks and acts the same right now. It's boring and uninspiring.

OrigamiGirl said...

Firstly I want to say that I am sorry. I didn't comment that I dislike Rookie, but I did say that I do feel caught up in the aesthetic and find myself wanting lavender hair even though that is not really me.

However, even if you had asked me then I would have agreed that I can be fickle and insecure in style and likes. I see people who look well-dressed and have a great outfit and I think 'Oh I wish I looked that good!'
I see these cute girls with pink hair and wish I could have it and then perhaps resent my normal adult life in which pink hair is not an option.

I do feel like a lot of blogs I follow have a similar aesthetic, but I know that I am attracted to that and choose to follow some younger blogs.

However, I would never hate on Rookie. I am 23 and I check it about once a week for things of interest to me. Most of it isn't. Because it is not for 23-year olds. Sometimes there is some -usually a life story that resonates. But I think that Rookie is something great for teenagers. I would have loved to have it ten years ago.

So I want to apologise for myself if my comment felt at all negative towards younger bloggers. It was not intentioned and I whole heartedly respect the positive thing for girls that Rookie is.

Anonymous said...

Isabel has always thought that she did everything first. I read her blog when she first started it and always thought she had an attitude that she was the special snowflake, so it's kind of ironic, really, now she's complaining that other people get the attention she used to. I'm old and everything she wore was being done/had been done, she just lives in a tiny town and never saw any of it. :/

Alisa said...

I actually think Isabel had a good point. I am a teenage girl and I think Rookie is AMAZING, but I also think it presents a rather narrow aesthetic. I like glitter and movies about high school and all that, and I realize that many Rookie readers are Americans who can relate to these kinds of things, but I would appreciate some more variety in their content. I have the feeling that Rookie has a more diverse following in terms of nationality, style and interests than most people believe, and I think that this could be reflected better by the magazine. Obviously you can't hold Rookie responsible for your personal validation, and I don't think Isabel was doing that - she was just stating her personal motivation for blogging, and though it may be different than other people's, it's really not something she should be judged on.

That being said, I agree that it isn't fair to lump the unique styles of people who use fashion as a means of self-expression into one big stereotype of "weird girls" who are copies of Tavi, and present Rookie as a shrine to that. Though I believe Rookie still has room to grow, I do think its efforts to be more inclusive, tackle a variety of topics and promote individuality should be recognized and appreciated. It's miles ahead of all other teenage magazines, and will probably remain so for quite a while.

diana said...

so i feel unfortunately strong on this topic given i don't know either you or isabelle personally, but the thing is i do feel there is an (wholly unintentional, really) 'cult of rookie'. i am a massive fan of tavi and have read rookie since it's debut and although i love it, i do find that there is a conformist-within-nonconformity vibe when it comes to style especially (flower crowns, the mermaid hair, the glasses, the anti-trendy trend) that i feel isabel eloquently pointed out. i agree wholeheartedly with alisa about the narrow aesthetic and demographic.
this is not to say this at all is negative. it takes being part of a larger community (even though the rookie community in and of itself is small) to be able to break away and form your own ideas on topics like feminism and style. also, i do feel she has a valid point when it comes to the celebration and lauding of perpetual teenagehood. its true. rookie does do that, albeit in a way that i feel is accessible to older readers as well (for example, the first kiss column where they go back and talk to their first kiss, or the talk to a grown man advice columns)! its a place geared towards teenage girls about teenage girl issues and stories and doodles from everyone, not just teenage girls. this isnt to say that they should extend into giving out canning recipes or sewing patterns (although as a teen girl who does BOTH of these, that would be awesome) because those are generally towards an older demographic, but to be inclusive i feel there are boundaries that need to be pushed. for example, how about instead of doing just solo outfits, do a flowchart with variety and different options instead? or making a column written by a teenage boy and HIS experience with feminism (because these beautiful golden creatures exist, i swear to it)? or an honest column about the lack of racial diversity in fashion from a minority teenage girl's point of view? i love rookie as it is, but i would love and respect rookie as a publication even more if it were to be more inclusive to people who are 'different' even among the different-i'm pansexual, i've been hit by a car, i am poor, i read webcomics, i can't feel sexual attraction, i've beaten perscription drug addiction on my own. i am also a 'teenage girl' in the loosest of terms. i don't feel very represented. i just wish there were more diversity in the teenage girls rookie is aiming for, and i feel isabel has the same sentiment but from a less wistful and more solid stance as she is older and therefore out of the rookie loop.
(to be continueddd)

diana said...

honestly there is nothing to be 'pissed off' and insulted about. i can understand how you, arabelle, could disagree and strongly so, but claiming insult and being rude to someone that is just a fellow independent blogger is something that i find somewhat disillusioning. i agree and disagree equally with both of your points, its just that her dissection of rookie-an awesome, but not totally fleshed out, web magazine-is coming from a place of her own musing (yes pun intended, haha) to understand on how the blogosphere works. the purple hair thing is just a small example, and to be so brash and confrontational to someone that didn't intend it in that context at all is wrong. i do understand what you are saying though. i just feel your snide yet totally legimate remarks come from a place of immaturity.
this is why i don't read blogs very frequently. although i do appreciate an unbiased source now and again for more serious topics like the news and politics, its the personal stories and experiences that make reading blogs and blogging fun and, in a way, inspirational. i wouldn't have gotten so much into feminism without blogging and i wouldn't have been able to feel so me in trying out my own style either, just to name a couple of instances. but the thing is, where there is personal opinion there will be disagreements. disagreements can spawn both hearty debate resulting in improvement and hateful misunderstandings causing schism and rift, and unfortunately, i fear, isabel's honest opinion has just given way to the latter by a lack of reaching out and understanding.
sorry for the length, its just that as a longtime reader of tavi, yours, and isabel's i just think this whole thing is ridiculous and could, if treated with more seriousness, result in improvements to an already impeccable publication! ~uwu~

Arabelle said...

thank you for all your insight everybody! i don't want this to be a mud slinging contest and it took a lot of time and thought to decide to post this in the first place. i am not sorry i posted it, and if you think it's rude, i think the actual word you're looking for is uncomfortable. it was uncomfortable being confronted with her writing, and it was uncomfortable writing this in response, and even more so posting it, but i feel like if a criticism is going to be made public, a response should be, too. i am really happy that the discourse around the subject has been (mostly) mature and straight forward without resulting in personal insults (though i have seen some and it bums me out because isabel is a good person and i think i am a good person too and it doesn't need to come to that) and at the very least i'm glad it's made people think about things differently.

Anonymous said...

that isobel chick is always saying weird politically incorrect shit like that.it's gross.

Anonymous said...

My favorite thing about Rookie is that it doesn't perpetuate the idea that fashion/girliness and intelligence are mutually exclusive.

parfums said...

wow , so pretty and beautiful outfit . lovely pictures.

Anonymous said...

Beautifully stated diana! I also don't think she meant to be offensive/rude, she was just stating her honest opinion. The validation part was a bit iffy but I think she meant well. And yes, I think rookie is awesome for teenage girls and it's a great alternative to all these stupid irrelevant mainstream mags but they should try to be diverse in terms of the minority opinion thing (and I like diana's example).

I think also the thing is rookiemag seems to be the only alternative, real legit contemporary magazine out there for teens so people expect so much from them and they can't satisfy all these expectations. There needs to be more alternative teen girl magazines that people can choose from. Ahh remember gurl.com in its glory days?

Jessica W said...

I agree with Isabel. I don't think she was being rude or insulting anyone. Rookie does have its own aesthetic (which every good publication does) and I think it is impossible for ALL girls to relate to it -and that is a little isolating cosidering how popular it is. It's just like how a lot of Rookie readers don't relate to Cosmo mag (this is an assumption though, it's okay if you do haha), and feel a bit isolated around Barbie-esque girls.

Sometimes I do feel a bit uncool reading Rookie, but more often I feel inspired.

The Lovelorn

Anonymous said...

At first I was a bit peed off reading what she said because it was such a sweeping generalisation of people who read Rookie, however now I feel it's her opinion and i can be happy knowing what she said isn't going to change mine. I love reading Rookie articles and that isn't going to change.

Anonymous said...

that isobel chick is always saying weird politically incorrect shit like that.it's gross.

I think the above comment was totally uncalled for. Yes, your post was good, and I can agree with both yours and Isabel's opinions, but this comment is just very immature.

habras said...

i really love this post. i feel like life in general is an art form and if you want to make it poisonous with hate then wow, i don't really know. so yea, i guess this is my fist in the air, hell yes, you tell it arabelle.
rookie is that support that tells me i can do whatever i want just because i can. and i don't need to be validated or scrutinized by people who only have a decade over me. i don't need that from anyone, and i certainly don't need to do that to the coming generations.
i don't need appreciation for my life but i need respect as i give it to everyone equally. just an example how bashing can destroy your credibility and shroud you as a contiguous bias. the internet holds a grudge, and i'm not sure if there is an immediate recovery from this. no matter how sincere isabelle is being, history shows no mercy when it comes to bashing-forgiveness.

Lydia said...

Who CARES if Rookie has its own aesthetic or if there's a large following or if a lot of girls right now, teenage or older, fall somehow into that aesthetic? Why hate on that? After reading some of the comments here that defend Isabel's post, I just want to be like, get over it. So there's a lot of girls right now who share a similar style-- that has happened every few years since the history of fashion. It's called a trend, and a lot of the time, it happens not because people are trying to be cool or fit in, but because people just like it! I for one think it's awesome that the "trend" right now includes colored hair (something that when I was a teenager was associated with punk rock and was not pretty and yes, I had blue and green hair), feminist values, and the knowledge that you can be a feminist who is aware of how you fit into the world and still love glitter and pink and fashion!!

Ana said...

And another post I love.

You have inspired me by your sincerity in the way you describe: I might not have green/purple braids, but I feel inspired by your blog (and others: I don't have a thing for hats, either) to be... myself.

Rookie is my daily read and I have crushes on you, Tavi, Krista, Aunt Debbie and Uncle Mitch :D ...

(This might be the wrong environment for the next bit because a lot of negative feelings were activated and that might cast a different light at it from what the one in which it might be seen in 'neutral' surroundings.

So, to whomever reads this: try to view this next bit in a neutral light.)

The only problem I have with Rookie is the one pervasive aesthetic that, I feel, goes beyond just being a certain mag's style.
The site is made for teenage girls. I'm not in America, true, but I can't imagine that 100% of US teenagers are into that and only look.

In my high-school there was a girl into rap, one into gothic, a skater, a raver, a metal, a dreamy one, one into 70s, one into 80s; some into b&w photos, some into wild colours and stark contrasts, some into strong, architectural lines... And it seems like it's all just one type there, say, a raver. Even if her metal friend comes to visit, she ends up under a ton of fluo beads. I can't remember one photoset that wasn't instagram-like.

Where are all my sharp lined b&w goth-leaners :D ?

(It's late, my English is worsening. I hope everything came out as intended.)

Another thing: I think there's something to be said about the fashion blogging getting ... leveled? Is that the right word? It feels, to me, that I can now go through a hundred blogs and not know the difference. It's not about an aesthetic X here, either, it's about its pervasiveness, whatever X-of-the-moment may be.

I enjoy your and Tavi's blogs because I know "here's Tavi; here's Arabelle".

Ana said...

Whoops, that was a bit long, sorry!

Hanne said...

You go girl!! I think this expresses perfectly the issue, and I can feel how it relates to some insecurities I used to have. Mostly they're dealt with.

To me, a 21 year old fat norwegian girl with purple hair and ugly glasses it seemed like maybe the original post came from a place of, I dunno, confusion, insecurity..? Some inner issue I guess. I never follow fashion, but I do love clothes and personal style. I don't read magazines, follow any labels, or whatever, but I've thrifting since my youngster days because of economy and that's just who I am. I do whatever feels right, and for years I suddenly I find myself being very "in". Like how I've always been ridiculed for having bright hair and now it's so in, or me wearing flannel shirts since I was 13 because they are super comfy and now everybody have them. It's always a new thing that's hip, and to me it's ever-changing and unstable, so I say we all should do whatever feels right for ourselves, not for validation, but I guess that maybe it is different when you have a fashion blog and are offered opportunities because of it, and suddenly some new thing comes along and you are afraid to be overlooked because you lack turqouise hair/tan legs/a belly ring/whatever, but I don't think this insecure mentality moves us towards respect for others and ourselves.

To me, Rookiemag is the magazine I should have had when I was 13, and so I read it with pride, and some nostalgia. I think the most important lesson here is to be true to yourself. I tried for years wearing comformist clothes, have brown/blonde/"natural" hair, but that's not who I am. Should I feel bad for it just because it's in right now to have bright hair, and all the kids who have been hating on it have dip dyed blue hair, should I dye my hair brown and become everything I find uncomfortable and not me to protest it all? Yeah, it seems like the snowflake girl is very in right now, but like all other trends it will fade, and the trend-jumpers or whatever will jump on the next train to coolville, and those of us who are comfy in our style will stay there. We shouldn't let the marketing and business aspect of fashion kill our confidence in our personal style, and we certainly shouldn't tear each other down because of it.

Sigh, this has been one long windy ramble so I hope I got something of substance across.

Anonymous said...

Jesus Christ, relax yourself. The fact that you're a Rookie contributor--and thus supposedly tuned into how girl-girl communication can be very dysfunctional proxy-wars for deeper, personal problems--should have clued you into the fact that Isabel is just facing some sadness or bitterness as she leaves one (apparently unfulfilled and somewhat unsatisfying) stage of her life for another. She did some passive-aggressive lashing out--but you took the bait and threw your own dumb hissy fit. The mature thing would have been to ignore her comment. Instead, you (and Tavi, etc.) lent it WAY more legitimacy than it was worth. How stupid.

hannah said...

to lydia- i think that's what blogging should be about but lets be honest as social creatures we crave acceptance and the idea is to share your thoughts and ideas and hopefully not just have them float unnoticed in the internet void. i very much get rookies demographic is teenagers and as a 20 something i can understand isabels gripe might have just been in repsonse to mainstream media and society focusing on youth; seeming as if your not a youtube sensation pre-teen you're somehow lazy and untalented!

Kirsten said...

Hi! I'm a little late on this, and probably what I want to say here has already been said above (I haven't read all the comments), but I'm 24 and I loooove Rookie, and I think the aesthetic is really wonderful, and in a way, I would love to be able to emulate it, but isn't really my style (I also have brown hair, etc.), but what reading Rookie's style posts does for me is gets me excited about what wearing clothes can mean. It makes me more into my own vibe. And whenever I see teenage girls who are actually taking on aspects of Rookie's aesthetic I just get really excited by the knowledge that these girls are reading Rookie (I mean, I live in Cape Town!). What Rookie has done for me, in terms of style, is help me to not feel shy or ashamed to get into my own aesthetic. And, more importantly, I believe that's what it does for teenage girls as well. BUT, even more importantly, Rookie does much more for its readers than give style confidence, and to limit the site to that is a real shame. In reading the site, I've always seen the aesthetic as an outward sign of the incredible, thorough, detailed job that Rookie does of building girls up and showing them that there is a place for them, and that they can be themselves. And if it helps them to maybe take on the style aesthetic so that they can feel a part of something that makes sense to them, then that's great. Everyone wears visual signs of where they feel they belong, and for Rookie to provide such a strong, accepting place for teenagers to belong can only ever be a good thing. And sure, when you're in your twenties you still need to feel like you belong somewhere, but it's not the job of a site for teenagers to help you find that. Though, it can help you to find the confidence to just be chill about looking like yourself. I've seen Isabel's comments above, and I think it's cool that she can admit that her post came from a place of insecurity, but to me, it seems like she's not reading Rookie right, if that's what she's taking away from it.

Also, Arabelle, you are so lovely! And I can't seem to register to Rookie for some reason :( so if any other Rookie contributors see this, you guy's are the BEST! <3

Steph said...

woah i'm a little late with a comment on this but i thought it was important enought to say since it's from the riot grrrl manifesto;

BECAUSE we are unwilling to let our real and valid anger be diffused and/or turned against us via the internalization of sexism as witnessed in girl/girl jealousism and self defeating girltype behaviors

Yael said...

Perhaps Isabel feels left out because (it seems like) she wasn't considered for Rookie even when Tavi has mentioned her blog a couple of times in the past. So I think her comment was aimed at you and at Rookie's staff out of spite.

That said, I love Rookie and I am not a teenage girl but I can see how a lot of the articles are written by grown ups reflecting on their teenage years, and even when some of the issues of being a teenager are universal, I don't know if Rookie reflects what being a teenager is, or if it just creates this expectation of what teenagedom should be like. What I am trying to say is there is some truth in what she said which is perhaps why it might upset you.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if it has been said before but I personally find Rookie to be pretty inclusive. Like yeah, most of the pictures in the 'eye candy' section include clothes that are clearly not designed for everyone's everyday wear - but that's why it is eye candy, right ? It's the same in almost every fashion photo shoot - what models wear and style tips are usually two different things.
Actually, Rookie is one of the rare magazines I read that DOESN'T shame its readers for not dressing up or dressing up a certain way. I've never seen anyone, in the articles or the comment of this website, say that if you don't dye your hair pink, you're boring and worthless and not a feminist, or even a subtler version of it.
I really think the 'style' section of rookie is all about ACCEPTANCE, as well as the non style-related articles. In the 'damn girl ya look good' column, some people ask about Abercrombie and Fitch, or dressing ethically, or about what kind of top would make their arms look better - and not only are they told that style isn't about conforming and hiding parts of your body, but they are linked to totally everyday-wearable pieces of clothing, from stores like Forever 21 or Calvin Klein. It's the same if you watch the group photos of the staff & the readers - not all of them have dyed hair, 'weird' (??) clothes or 125 inches high platform heels. However, each one has his/her own style, with real effort put into it.
Rookie's aesthetic (cause, yes, there is one, even if it includes really different styles/years/references) is a true inspiration, even for people like me who have to conform to a certain dress code for school - and I honestly don't think it's designed for people whose style is less colorful or flamboyant to feel guilty, which is what Isabel seems to think. But that goes with her feeling that blogging is searching for validation, which is a sad way to think about it. I can't help but advice to read that Rookie article, 'How To Not Care What Other People Think' or something.

love

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