Selected Transmissions From Youth Spies

Over the weekend, I absorbed Rookie Yearbook One helmed by Tavi Gevinson. I’ve always been drawn to strong writing from cultural insiders, and as a dad who is in the process of helping a 6 year old daughter navigate the world, this phone book sized edition amounts to an extended treatise from what John Waters calls “youth spies.” I enjoyed how it defines “hipsters” as those who “think and care about what their tastes say about them instead of just liking what they like” in an organic and authentic way. It’s also careful about examining how a strong group of outsiders can curate their own likes and style to create a healthy counterculture. Most importantly, it captures the complex contradictions in being a modern girl. As Tavi says, they’re “trying to be innocent but sexy but purity rings but grinding at homecoming.” *Gulp*

While Gevinson acts as Editor-In-Chief and sometimes writer, there are a whole host of contributors. For my money, one of the better is 17 year old Lexi Harder who sums up the ethos of the whole contradictory threading-the-needle dilemma this way: “I am supposed to be pretty (without trying), skinny (without trying), smart but not too smart (without trying), and perfect (without trying)… What my point is: society sucks. It’s a damned if you do, damned if you don’t kind of situation. I’m not allowed to be fat, but not I’m not allowed to go on a diet either. I’m not allowed to be dumb, but I’m not allowed to be smarter than a boy. I’m not allowed to do drugs, but I’m considered boring if I don’t. I’m supposed to be an empowered woman, but if I ask for respect, dudes will just call me an annoying bitch. Heck, if I wait to have sex I’m labeled a prude, but if I lost my virginity today there would be a lot of people thinking that slut.”

If you want a secret look into the soon-to-be mental space of your young daughter, I recommend this to all the dads out there that I know.


At 7:34 AM, Blogger Ryan Claytor said...

This looks really amazing. Is this a comic book or a WORD-book? Regardless, thanks for highlighting this.

Ryan Claytor
Elephant Eater Comics

At 11:18 AM, Blogger Justin said...

It's a collection of online essays, now published by D&Q. I guess it's technically a word-book, but it's very multi-media and collage-y. Not sequential art per se 95% of the time, but much more interesting than just dry text.


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