Westervin raves about Tavi Gevinson’s influence

Why I Love Tavi Gevinson

Westervin    |    Sarah    |    February 18, 2013

What were your biggest concerns as a teenager? Fitting in? Finding yourself? Trying to make sense of the world around you as it expanded beyond you, sometimes painfully, while everything felt so intensely important? Sixteen-year-old Tavi Gevinson is concerned with these things, too—not just for herself but for her following of teenage girls and young women. As the founder and editor of Rookie Magazine, Tavi explores these issues with maturity, feminist principles, and a strong sense of purpose. In her reviews of books, music, movies, and television, she analyzes emotional impact, authenticity, and complexity, sharing what will inspire, inform, and guide readers toward a healthier understanding of themselves and the world.

Tavi knows how a work of art will make readers feel. We will identify with the angst in Heathers, the yearning in The Virgin Suicides, and the “combined relief and excitement” of Etta James’ “At Last!” She understands the power that emotions hold, over teenagers especially, and acknowledges their often-fleeting nature.

Tavi also analyzes authenticity in art, dismissing female stereotypes while praising Joni Mitchell’s honesty about her own weaknesses, as well as Lena Dunham and Mindy Khaling for their sincere, non-clichéd portrayals of imperfect but inspiring women.

Whether celebrating a work for its layers of wit and charm or highlighting a character’s contradictory nature, like the sarcastic but hopeful Mindy, Tavi appreciates complexity. She sees how art can help readers reconcile their own contradictions—listen to Bowie’s Hunky Dory, she says, when you want to “feel like being in love with life without betraying the side of you that sometimes watches Bridezilla just to laugh at how stupid it is.”

Tavi zeroes in on the elements of art—emotional impact, authenticity, and complexity—that allow us to connect, be inspired, and make something of the world and of ourselves. I wish she had been around when I was 16…but at least she’s here for me now.

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