With the media being an immediate part of our societal structure, it’s hard not to be influenced by it and the message it perpetuates. Although we are constantly surrounded by media, it becomes hard for us to reproduce what we already have to create new content. The laws and restrictions by large companies make it hard for us to successfully build off already existing content to create something different, that is without having to pay hefty fines and going through tedious procedures.
How do the tight claws of copyright infringement affect our society and technically infringe our creativity? I decided to look at the monolithic world of female publications with a focus on teenagers. There are magazines such as Seventeen, Teen Vogue, and J-14, these magazines have been around for a number of years, and as the times change the way that they interact with their readers and build their content change. But who and how are their readers being represented?
Seventeen recently released an issue with pop sensation Miley Cyrus as their cover star. Cyrus might seem like a great choice for a teenage female magazine, but what is interesting about Seventeen’s cover subject is that the it is an unauthorized cover story. Cyrus did not approve of the magazine using her as their cover subject, and the publication went as far to use a stock photo as their cover image. Seventeen Magazine claims that
“Seventeen readers love Miley Cyrus and they’ve been begging for her to be on our cover. She ranked high on the March issue’s Girl Power List — her independence and confidence make her an icon for this generation. Miley’s currently on tour promoting ‘Bangerz’ so what better time than now to celebrate her and give our readers what they want.”
This makes for an awkward and uncomfortable situation, who is Seventeen really writing for? Cyrus has been known to attract magazine sales, but is she really a representative of the publication’s target audience? This is where I introduce Rookie Mag; Rookie Mag is an independent online magazine for teenage girls, the site was created by Tavi Gevinson who helmed her personal blog Style Rookie for many years before she decided to create Rookie Mag.
The New York Times credits Gevinson with “Inspiring Young Women to Create Communities of Self-Empowerment” Which is basically what Rookie Mag does, unlike other sites/publications which dictate what to wear, eat and how to live out your teenage years, Rookie Mag creates a conversation about how to make it through the murky waters of being a teenager. Rookie is a site where the readers are almost as or equally as important as the editors. From an observer standpoint, I like to think of Rookie as less of a publication and more of a community, it creates conversation as opposed to dictating and it leaves room for honest and open interaction between the readers and the editors.
Rookie has done something not many online publications have considered, it has somehow done away with the hierarchal structure of publishing that leaves no room for reader input, Rookie is a holistic representation of teenage girls because they listen to the girls they write for.
- NYT: Tavi and the Taviettes: Tavi Gevinson of ‘Rookie’ Inspires Young Women to Create Communities of Self-Empowerment.
- Fashionista: See Seventeen’s Unapproved Miley Cyrus Cover