Thank You, Rookie Magazine

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Illustration by Esme Blegvad What a robust question to ask a child: Who do you want to be when you grow up? Just the other day, I found this in a questionnaire when I came across my 2004 Stroudsburg Elementary school yearbook. It was a question I was quite familiar …

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Illustration by Esme Blegvad

What a robust question to ask a child: Who do you want to be when you grow up?

Just the other day, I found this in a questionnaire when I came across my 2004 Stroudsburg Elementary school yearbook. It was a question I was quite familiar with and unsurprised by my answer as I read the 10-year-old’s chicken scratch: “Artist, Successful.”

Like most girls, I looked to magazines to figure it out because they seemed to have all of the answers. Steps to be more sexy, what to wear, and as such, all pointing me in different directions on who to be. It just added to the white noise of my female adolescence.

 

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When I found the online magazine, Rookie, I was 19. I wasn’t that same girl looking for answers. I got the answers, or I thought I did. As if pulled from a page of a girl’s notebook, every webpage and every word on Rookie felt like an intimate exchange with their own consciousness. Ironically, the idea of idolizing icons and brands seemed a lot less tactile in the face of intangible experiences shared in Rookie. Instead of telling you how to grow up, the magazine gave a safe space for growing up. It’s all about the journey.

Rookie Magazine’s journey concluded this November. Their last post, an extensive letter from Editor and Creator Tavi Gevinson, brought closure to their 7-year run strengthening the female community. She explained some of the reasons behind the change, acknowledging the “current state of media“:

“In one way, this is not my decision, because digital media has become an increasingly difficult business, and Rookie in its current form is no longer financially sustainable. And in another way, it is my decision—to not do the things that might make it financially sustainable, like selling it to new owners, taking money from investors, or asking readers for donations or subscriptions.”

– Tavi Gevinson, “Editor’s Letter” Rookie Magazine

While this may seem like a heavy blow to the online female community, the influence that was distributed through Rookie is indispensable. By providing a non-judgemental space for females to publicize their work, we were introduced to a massive pool of talent and opinions from various backgrounds, like Photographer Petra Collins and Writer Jenny Zhang. I only hope that we, as experienced women, can continue to promote self-love, authenticity, and confidence as Rookie has. Because we now know that it’s not about the end-goal, the journey is where you are found.

We know how it feels to be a rookie.

 

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