|(Oh-so-personally-metaphorical image courtesy of Lance Anderson)|
In further unpacking the other day, I came across this stack of magazines from the ‘90s that I bought about a year ago. I thought the project I was working on—that morphed into “The Rule of Three”—would be set in the ‘90s. It wasn’t, and isn’t. But I still have all these cool magazines around, like a copy of Sassy. I loved Sassy as a teenager, and wanted to buy a bunch, but they can be slightly expensive, so I settled on just one.
An article by Tavi (is she famous enough to only go by one name now? Probably), about the male gaze and an incident at her high school really captured what it's like to become a teenage girl.
I remember the first time a man catcalled at me. There were two of them, actually, in a red pick up truck. I was pretty young—maybe 13? I was walking back home, close to the huge tree that marked where the school bus stopped. Whatever they yelled was shocking, both because it just startled me, and because it was this weird thing I had to think through. I realized they were saying something sexual and harassing, even though the words were just, "Hey, baby!"
I wasn’t a happily invisible child anymore. I was female, and because of that, men would yell things at me, totally confident that there would be no repercussions. It sounds obvious, because it’s something that’s accepted and expected in our culture. But I bet that just about every woman and teenage girl has had a moment like that, where it suddenly clicks that you are now an object of the male gaze.
Back to the comparison at hand.
|(Not a picture of the listening station in|
question. But, you know, same concept.)
Rookie doesn’t feel like Sassy. For me, it’s not a cool magazine about bands and writers and people and ideas I don’t know about, because I’m not a teenager anymore. I can’t say what Rookie does for teenagers, in terms of connecting them to a bigger, daring, more exciting world. There seem to be some missteps, like a post/article about how the Spice Girls were actually cool. Are the Spice Girls relevant to teenagers today—or anyone else, for that matter? I’m highly skeptical. But any online mag that talks about the effect of the male gaze on teenagers is moving in the right direction.