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Kids Won’t Listen

Why I’m sick of articles about teenage girls written by grown-up men.

Collage by Beth.

Collage by Beth.

“Whoa, impressive taste for a teen-girl mag!”

This comment, in one form or another, often gets directed at us on Twitter, especially on Friday nights, right after we post our weekly playlists. It’s also something I hear a lot in real life when I tell people—especially grown men—who I write for. “Wow!” they’ll say. “Good work, ladies!” Their surprise might be based on our staff’s working knowledge of punk rock history (yes, we know who the Wipers are) or on the fact that Rookie’s articles are actually thoughtful and well written, but it’s always condescending and insulting, and never itself much of a surprise.

I know I’m coming dangerously close to generalizing about ALL men in the exact same way I’m complaining that SOME men generalize about young women. There are, of course, many male critics who celebrate teen-girl fandom and our voices as cultural consumers and analysts and don’t roll their eyes when we gush about 1D or whatever. Thank you for that, dudes. But because men have more power across the board than women in our culture, they get the message, from birth, that their opinions about things are the Most Important Opinions. Whether they choose to believe this is up to them, but rejecting it is a lot harder than sitting back and enjoying it.

So I can hardly blame the many, many adult males who seem to have this cute assumption that all girls are dying for their approval of our cultural tastes, though we never actually asked for it. And I guess it’s kind of understandable that they might assume we have shitty taste—but I still don’t totally understand their need to vocally criticize us for liking the things we like. When Tavi posted a link to an excerpt of her Taylor Swift piece for The Believer, a highly detailed and laborious work of pure love for Swift’s music, a male cartoonist called her out for liking what sounded to him like “the soundtrack to getting a froyo and then stopping at Target for a new pair of Crocs.” Not that she asked him!

When I wrote a long piece for Buzzfeed about discovering Animal Collective and falling in love with them as a 12-year-old girl, dudes in the comments section made fun of my musical taste! Apparently my enthusiasm and knowledge meant nothing, because this band’s music wasn’t on the sacred list of Music Men Approve Of. And that’s just one example in a long history of criticisms lobbed against me and my apparent TEEN TASTES! Once, I was talking to an older male friend about the brilliance of Mean Girls, and he kept dismissing it as an airheaded comedy “for teens.” Obviously, he hadn’t seen it, because I think we all know that Mean Girls is a classic for people of any age. It wasn’t until I told him that the movie was written by Tina Fey that he seemed willing to reconsider his first reaction. Because 30 Rock is cool, but young women are NOT.

When you applaud or critique a young girl’s taste based on how well or badly it aligns with yours, you are suggesting that your taste = THE RIGHT TASTE, because you are the one IN THE KNOW. I sometimes rate movies on the website Mubi, and I can’t count the number of times an older male cinephile has urged me to rewatch a film I’ve given a low score to, because obviously I “didn’t understand it” the first time around. “How do you even know about this?” they sometimes ask. “You weren’t even born when this movie came out.” Dude: I have the internet.

This kind of cultural superiority complex extends to the makers of culture as well. For evidence, look at almost any piece written by a grown man about a young female artist. Here’s one: When Jody Rosen wrote about T. Swift for New York magazine, rather than ask this funny, smart, world-famous young pop star anything interesting about her work or her views on the world, he pitted her G-rated pop against Beyoncé’s and Rihanna’s more risqué work and let us know that Swift has never “writhed across a stage wearing a negligee, or less.” Rosen found Swift “witty,” “despite her public persona.” Because, what, cute girls can’t be funny? He marveled at the mostly female crowd at her concert for a full paragraph, but was careful to point out that there were “creepy dudes from Oklahoma” among the screaming young females, to illustrate…what? That Swift is so versatile that she appeals to both (a) females and (b) male creeps? The whole piece came across as the work of someone deeply out of their element. I mean, he described the male gaze as an “old feminist bugbear.” Why is this the person who was assigned to the Taylor Swift story?

Following the U.S. premiere of Chris Lilley’s television show Ja’mie: Private School Girl, which has Lilley playing a highly exaggerated mean-girl archetype, several think pieces popped up to criticize not the show itself (even though there was plenty to legitimately criticize, as a few smart writers did), but rather…the sorry state of REAL YOUNG WOMEN in the world. In one such article on The Atlantic’s website, Jake Flanagin took a look at a work of over-the-top campy fiction and posed, in all apparent sincerity, this question (about real people!): “Why are young women turning into monsters?” I repeat: monsters. Ooh, scary! I’m sure we’re a big threat to straight white men who write for magazines like The Atlantic, what with all our dangerous selfies and Snapchats and sexts. Flanagin went on to wonder whether the average viewer was smart enough to tell that the show is satire: “Presumably, Lilley poses this array of amusing insecurities and prejudices as a critical device, not face-value comedy,” he sniffed. “But it’s difficult to say whether the audience can discern the difference.”

As a member of that audience and a teenage girl (aka future monster), I’d like to ease his fears, at least on that last point: Teenage girls know that Ja’mie: Private School Girl is satire; it’s by Chris Lilley, for god’s sake. Have you ever met a teenage girl, Jake? We don’t act like Ja’mie. Just like how you, a guy in his 20s, don’t act like Van Wilder. Or so I assume (insert a thousand winks here).

I know I have a vested interest in this whole thing because I’m an aspiring cultural critic and a current young woman, but I think I speak for all girls and women between the ages of 13 and 19 when I say that grown-up male journalists are probably not the best choice to assign stories about teen-girl culture to (keeping in mind those aforementioned exceptions). What they come up with, too much of the time, is a lot of off-base and frankly clueless speculation about what girls think, what we do, what we want, and what we need.

It’s not these dudes’ fault that they believe they know everything. They were raised that way. But they really don’t know much about us at all. Here’s a tip for them: Next time you’re musing as to what girls are all about, try to shut up and listen. ♦


  • rachaelreviewsall January 6th, 2014 3:33 PM

    Just… I can’t… I love you Hazel. This is everything I’ve ever wanted to say in a nice concise article. I LOVE T-Swift (I’m literally dying over seeing her in London next month), Mean Girls, and general cute things. I also love F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Smiths, and taking a general interest in society. I have NEVER understood why if I mentioned I like all of these things at once is an issue to anyone. It’s like you can only belong to one category in these ridiculous, arbitrary categories some man has created somewhere. People can have a varied amount of interests and shouldn’t be judged for any of them.


    • christinachristina January 6th, 2014 5:00 PM

      The best part about being a human being is being able to like whatever the hell you want. Simple as that.

    • honorarygilmoregal January 6th, 2014 6:32 PM

      Yes! I wish I could “like” +this comment. I hate it when people judge others for liking something.

      • Kirthi January 7th, 2014 5:51 AM

        The scariest part is that, we start believing it. At least I did, anyway. I liked 1D the first time I heard it, same with T.Swift. Then thanks to all those memes and facebook shit , I started apologising to myself for liking it. Then one day I was like…wait, why am I apologising? I can like whatever the hell I want!

  • Margo January 6th, 2014 3:41 PM

    Yeah, this irks me. Once, I was talking about religion online and how I was looking for my own spiritual path, and this guy criticized me for it, saying I wasn’t serious and that I just wanted to upset my parents. I was seriously questioning my faith and seeking another path to God, and a stranger belittled me and made me seem like I was just looking for something to sound trendy and rebellious.

    It just drives me crazy.

  • Tyknos93 January 6th, 2014 3:47 PM


  • sam2994 January 6th, 2014 3:54 PM

    Thank you! I need to print this out and give it to my gym teacher, he has the same attitude as those dudes.

  • lizabeth January 6th, 2014 4:04 PM

    I knew when I saw the title on Twitter that this was a Hazel article haha Such a good read and so very true

    (Ps- “future monster” is a Lady Gaga reference, right? ;p)

  • z33zy January 6th, 2014 4:12 PM

    This is exactly how I feel! Thank you so much, Hazel.

  • o-girl January 6th, 2014 4:12 PM


  • o-girl January 6th, 2014 4:14 PM

    i also really love the background for today! i like that it’s by petra and i like that you see one of the girls on one side and the other girl on the opposite side.

  • ♡ reba ♡ January 6th, 2014 4:26 PM

    UGH yes this is so good!! i stopped buying music magazines like Q and NME a few years ago because i just kept seeing things like “only if your a teenage girl” “the sort of thing a teenage girl would pretend to like” etc. (it’s so boring and i hate that music “journalists” use that to diss bands/festivals/songs. UGH x 10000000)and just got a really rude vibe of some of the articles? this totally articulates why thank you hazel xxxx

  • yuki January 6th, 2014 4:28 PM

    So in love with this post hazel!! But seriously, sometimes men can be totally ignorant. Like yeah, I love 1D and fan girling, but does that make me incapable of forming cohesive/intelligent thoughts on issues facing the world today? Does that mean I can’t also LOVE the Beatles/the smiths/van Morrison/etc? Ugh MEN these days

  • bigmarlz January 6th, 2014 4:38 PM

    this is TOO GOOD. AND YOUR ARTICLE. this is crazy. i, too, fell in love with animal collective as a 12 year old girl. i’m so jealous you got to see them live, and i totally feel you on familial confusion, especially when it comes to younger siblings. right on, girl B)

  • momobaby January 6th, 2014 4:58 PM

    This is actually fantastic. Sometimes I can’t exactly put into words my feelings about the biased ways girls are represented in the media, but you really said it well. This is suuuch a great article :)


  • christinachristina January 6th, 2014 4:58 PM

    This is WONDERFUL.

    ARE you a teenage girl with assorted musings? You probable are. Consider submitting those musings to a publication a few friends and I are working on – we’re looking for submissions through the end of the month! Check out http://www.fullcirclejournal.org.

    • Kelly K January 6th, 2014 8:28 PM

      Definitely want to contribute, so thanks for sharing! I actually have a piece I’m working on that might suit your needs. :)

      • christinachristina January 7th, 2014 5:48 PM

        Yeah, please do!

  • CBM January 6th, 2014 5:12 PM

    I needed to read this article! For a long time I have felt that in order to gain an older man’s respect I have to abide to their interests/prove my “adultness” to them. I am just starting to see how messed up this is because, as this article states, adult men (and everyone for that matter) should respect me as a teenage girl weather or not my interest align with theirs. I don’t need to quickly state that I like Pink Floyd so that my uncle will respect my music opinion for the rest of our conversation. He should respect that I like Marina and The Diamonds regardless. (WHat I’m trying to say is this article wrote out what I have been thinking and didn’t know how to say so THANK YOU HAZEL!!!!)

  • droppingdaisies January 6th, 2014 5:16 PM


  • oliviamore January 6th, 2014 5:21 PM

    this is really really great thanks hazel :)

  • sloththefifth January 6th, 2014 5:39 PM

    when male writers review romcoms for the newspaper. so over it tbh.

    a thousand *applauding hands emojis* for you Hazel

  • electriceden January 6th, 2014 5:49 PM

    Okay, as a technically grown man who hates the automatic condescension of teenagers/teen girls, I agree with you on a lot of this, but: isn’t blanket acceptance of sterotypical ‘teen girl’ stuff as patronising as blanket dismissal? I haven’t read Sheffield, but there’s a certain strain of …well, glorification of teen girl culture lately by a certain kind of (usually male and middle aged) critic, and it honestly weirds me out, for reasons best described here: http://theremixbaby.tumblr.com/post/63743848442/internet-poptimism-and-i-broke-up-and-i-got-all

    I mean, yes, I know, patriarchy/ageism, and anything that stops the dismissal must be good in the end, but…I dunno. I’ll just take your advice and listen to some Actual Teen Girls about this.

    • taste test January 6th, 2014 7:35 PM

      really good post & really good point. I’ll be the first to say that condescending reviewer dudes are the worst and I totally enjoyed this article. but at the same time, I am a teenage girl who does not like and has never liked so-called teenage girl music/movies/tv. I am not trying to put myself on a pedestal for that or claim that those things suck. it’s just not my individual taste. and when talk about “teen girl culture” comes up it can definitely make me feel weird. sometimes it can feel like I’m getting it from both kinds of reviewer-dudes out there- like I either get a condescending pat on the back for liking “good music” or a scolding for neglecting the Super Awesome Teenage Girly Fun Pop that they think is so great. either way, I am not a “real” teenage girl to them.


      • electriceden January 7th, 2014 12:22 AM

        This. Exactly what I was getting at.

    • Steve January 6th, 2014 11:10 PM

      That is exactly what I thought of when I read this (hadn’t read that article though, it’s really on point). It’s one thing to have an older dude who has a teenage daughter and can understand that it has some kind of value to her, and another to have some hipster bohemian wax fanatic because teens are the flavor of the month.

      In Japan, you have an example of what would happen if this attitude were taken to the extreme: they have cute girly pop marketed specifically towards creepy older dudes! So you end up with something like My Little Pony – the target demographic is 2-8yr old girls and 24-30yr old men :|

      • Erin. January 7th, 2014 12:07 PM

        Since you’ve mentioned Japanese “cute girly pop,” I just wanted to say that there are a lot of great things about jpop idols that tend to get overlooked because of assumptions about their target audience. Like, there’s a lot of emphasis within the pop groups themselves about how important it is that they, as girls/young women, work together and help each other to grow and improve as people/entertainers, which I think is a pretty good message. There are also plenty of artists/groups who pride themselves on their professionalism and high performance abilities. In short, they aren’t just messing around to make a quick buck from old creepy dudes. I’m well aware of the blatant sexism in the industry, and of the sexism among members of the audience as well. But, as a young woman, I’ve found that there’s a lot to admire about the singers/groups themselves. This doesn’t totally relate to what Hazel wrote, but I wanted to put it out there.

        • daydream January 7th, 2014 9:55 PM

          I agree with Erin. I live in Japan, and “cute girly pop” is totally not marketed specifically towards creepy old dudes. It’s just one segment that got exaggerated by Westerners, because “Japan is sooo weird”.

        • daydream January 7th, 2014 11:25 PM

          Here’s a video of a Kyari Pamyu Pamyu concert (she’s the most popular cute girly pop artist right now)
          I guess not everyone in the audience is a creepy older dude.

  • Bleaka January 6th, 2014 5:50 PM

    Spot on.

  • Lascelles January 6th, 2014 6:28 PM

    Having known a die hard 1D fan that gave it up not much later and having to drag her to the movie because I knew it was important, I have to admit that us guys usually think we are right mostly because of stuff like that. I don’t know if anyone (male or female) can make a critical analysis of say music they hear in their teens because, I know for me it’s wrapped up with emotions. It’s not that you are wrong but rather that you are just too close. Probably has more to do with age than anything. Also, in general any art directed at a particular group usually sucks. It’s not always true but it’s good rule of thumb.

  • Naomi January 6th, 2014 6:32 PM

    perfect hazel

  • honorarygilmoregal January 6th, 2014 6:36 PM

    Oh Hazel, I LOVE this piece. So well-said!


  • TinyWarrior January 6th, 2014 6:50 PM

    Hazel, you are brilliant. I admire you and your ability to be funny while intelligent and insightful. This piece is right on target. YOU GO GIRL c:

  • Madeline Shea January 6th, 2014 6:56 PM

    This is SO IMPORTANT to me and all girls everywhere! I’ve been thinking about this subject a lot. It’s so much bull that so many men think that we are in *need* of their approval.
    Girl power! (ノ´ヮ´)ノ*:・゚✧

  • Velma_Kelly January 6th, 2014 6:57 PM

    Oh my god Hazel, I want to print this out and hand it to every grown man I run into. Brilliant article.

  • monkshood January 6th, 2014 7:39 PM

    This is officially one of my favorite articles ever. Sometimes when I read things like this that point out how shitty sexism is, it inspires me to feel really angry about it afterwards. And surprisingly, I actually feel pretty calm after reading this, like I wanna go out and show this to all of my male friends. I feel like this perfectly sums up what I’ve always tried to explain to them, and I think it’s important that we help the dudes that we care about in our lives understand and learn how to think of us as young women. RESPECT! Thank you, Hazel!

  • littlediamonds January 6th, 2014 7:53 PM

    I love everything about this. Hazel, you rock.

  • paige.xo January 6th, 2014 8:06 PM

    also old people need to stop with dumb think pieces on selfies. they are not the downfall of society. calm the fuck down.

  • mollyh16 January 6th, 2014 8:12 PM

    So so well written! And unbelievably true…

  • Chloe22 January 6th, 2014 8:42 PM

    <3 LOVE <3 I believe ultimately that the world needs to get rid of the ageist and sexist attitudes and categories of music. It restricts everyone from loving and enjoying all of the fabulous art and music in this world. Let's get rid of ''teen'' music and ''grown up'' music. LETS JUST LISTEN TO MUSIC!

  • ladyjenna January 6th, 2014 9:24 PM

    Preach it


  • LilyB January 6th, 2014 9:59 PM

    this is so true! I am constantly annoyed by old men saying that teen girls are stupid and everything else, blah blah blah. This is a righteous essay Hazel.

  • llamalina January 6th, 2014 10:00 PM

    This article is so sick (in the good way). Rookie articles have just been especially fantastic lately. Hazel, your pieces are always so insightful and well-written.


  • Tavi January 6th, 2014 10:05 PM


  • katielikesyou January 6th, 2014 10:38 PM

    This reminds me too, of times when girls are scoffed at because they like things (sports, nerdy shows, action movies, etc.) “only to impress guys.” As if.

    Love this post!

  • amendnatalie January 6th, 2014 11:00 PM

    I host a radio show at a college station where I play post-punk, shoegaze, noise, kraut, etc. I got a call from a male listener commending me for my “heavy taste for a girl” and that most female DJs at my station, normally aged 18-22, have “weak” tastes in music. This article brings me back to how pissed off that made me and me telling him to reconsider his opinion about girls my age. Thx xox

  • magenta04 January 7th, 2014 1:36 AM

    Go Hazel!

  • Lena_hyuga January 7th, 2014 4:44 AM

    Great article! So glad I found Rookie…

  • grace537 January 7th, 2014 7:50 AM

    I personally think you are wrong about ja’mie, I’m an Australian teen and just finished senior year at an expensive private school and in no way is ja’mie and exaggerated character. Girls like that exist, you can’t put all teen-girls in the same pot, some of them are insane.

    • rhymeswithorange January 7th, 2014 2:42 PM

      I agree. I don’t think it’s saying that ALL teen girls are like that, but SOME are. Just like the Plastics in Mean Girls- the whole thing is definitely a satire, but there is truth in its portrayals.

  • flocha January 7th, 2014 8:24 AM

    yes yes yes this piece is brilliant! Its totally baffling how people dismiss anything teenage girls feel/think as not meaning anything because we’re all silly hormone riddled airheads and then tell us that all the things we’re doing are DOOMING SOCIETY its like we end up being the scapegoats for everything ‘wrong’ with the world ugh thank you Hazel


  • teenager January 7th, 2014 10:25 AM

    Preach preach preach. I’ve been thinking of this topic a lot recently and you phrased it perfectly.


  • pizzaface January 7th, 2014 11:00 AM

    This is such an awesome article, I couldn’t agree more!

    In my opinion, Rookie is DEFINETLY not like any other teen girl magazines, and this article is one example of why it rocks. Need I say more?

  • Emma January 7th, 2014 1:18 PM

    This is really great. And also it just makes me incredibly happy that Rookie exists as a place for this kind of conversation to happen and be seen. Great job Hazel and Rookie!!

  • amescs January 7th, 2014 1:43 PM


  • elliecp January 7th, 2014 2:01 PM

    this is so true argh I feel you on so many levels


  • kendallkh January 7th, 2014 2:32 PM


    this is honestly perfect i want to send this to everyone i have ever met

  • painting_the_roses_pink January 7th, 2014 3:42 PM

    I loved this article!

    SO many of my male teachers have this attitude and its so frustrating!
    Yes I watch the news, yes I read books and love museums! But I’m not some special freaking teen girl snowflake!
    Teen girls have diverse passionate interests because PEOPLE have diverse passionate interests.


  • poopcorn January 7th, 2014 3:56 PM


  • Reginechassangel January 7th, 2014 5:15 PM

    This reminds me of the time I bought some music at a record store and the 30-something guy behind the counter literally laughed at me and was really mean and condescending presumably just because I was a teenage girl and he had some preconceived idea of what I was like or my relationship to music. It’s ridiculous.

  • GlitterKitty January 7th, 2014 5:21 PM

    Yes this is so right!! I had an argument about this sort of topic with a male English teacher at my school (who by the way wasn’t even the teacher of the class but decided to basically just stroll in and tell everyone his opinion). His point was that teenagers didn’t really know a lot about the world and had all these opinions but couldn’t back them up. I suppose he was somewhat right; you can’t write any sort of critical essay in English class without information to support your thesis. But this can’t be applied to the rest of your life. I was really insulted by this because what I got from it was that I’m not allowed to have an opinion just because I’m young.

    Basically I agree with this 100% and I’m really glad it was written. May have to print this one out.

  • kelsey January 7th, 2014 5:37 PM

    Bravo, Hazel!

    You know, I can relate to other commenters, because I’ve never been a big fan of “teen girl” stuff either – but I’ve totally been told by guys that I didn’t understand something as fully as they did because I was young and female.

  • meloraine January 7th, 2014 7:24 PM

    I just started reading ROOKIE, and I LOVE IT. I’m very proud of what ROOKIE is about and I’m enjoying quite a lot all the articles I’m reading. Keep up the good work :)
    Greeting from Peru!

  • ana-holmes January 7th, 2014 9:24 PM

    I had this site on my favorites for months and for the first time I decided to sit and read your texts. Probably the best decision of 2014.
    My love for this site, and particularly for this article, cannot be described in words ♥

  • dobby_is_my_hero January 7th, 2014 9:30 PM

    thank you so much for this.

  • GabbyCat January 7th, 2014 10:46 PM

    there was a story on the my local radio station about this radio guy’s 11 year old daughter buying queen and led zepplin cds and the cashier asking whether they were for her and then being ~SO SHOCKED AND IMPRESSED~ by this ‘precocious’ kid and the radio guy was talking about how proud he was that she liked the real music “not that one direction garbage” and every layer of the story just made me angrier and angrier. the fact that people probably wish their teenage daughters were like her so they could “relate” to the “youth” and talk about ‘kids these days and write their little articles and share their little anecdotes about the SHOCKINGLY GOOD TASTE OF THESE PRECIOUS YOUTHS THAT REJECT THAT TEENAGE GIRL BOY BAND GARBAGE is just ridiculous. wow this is a long comment, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR WRITING THIS ARTICLE

    • ana-holmes January 8th, 2014 8:48 PM

      As a girl that listens to both One Direction and The Beatles, I always get shocked by how people (that do not know me) think that it is incoherent. The thing is, I don’t listen to music so my taste can be considered “right”, the only parameter is my own satisfaction.

  • daydream January 7th, 2014 11:42 PM

    This reminds me of the time when my boyfriend at 17 told me that the Strokes sucked, when I showed him a song by them. Unfortunately, I was compelled to kill him. Jk, but I broke up with him, because he was constantly belittling me in every way.

    I’m an avid music lover, and I get these culturally superior comments all the time, just because I’m a young woman.

  • mindalini January 7th, 2014 11:55 PM

    Full disclosure: I am old enough to be your mom.
    That said, when I read the voices on Rookie, I feel there is honest hope for this world. Love it.

  • sully-bean January 8th, 2014 5:02 AM

    This is such a great article! I WANT TO PRINT IT OUT AND SHOW IT TO EVERY GUY THAT’S EVER BELITTLED ME FOR LIKING WHAT I LIKE. Also people who are all “you only pretend to like blah blah blah to impress boys obviously” and it’s like?? YOUR OPINIOJN ISN’T LAW AND I DON’T WANT TO IMPRESS YOU WITH MY STAR TREK TRIVIA I JUST LIKE STAR TREK OMG
    But this was great because I have trouble wording why it annoys me and you’ve TOTALLY just explained exactly what it is in a funny and enlightening way and omg Hazel u da bomb thank you <3

  • Paola January 8th, 2014 2:28 PM

    this is sick. Going down the comments, though, there’s so much YESSSSS PREACHH!!! that I love but makes me wish this was required reading for actual Old Dudes/non Rookies. ultimately I totally love the “we like whatever we want to like” vibe that I get from the article and comments. anyway, YESSSSS I LOVE THIS PREACHH!!!

  • elyon61 January 8th, 2014 2:38 PM

    When I was about 13-14 I was on some music forums and there was this one mod on there who would literally seek out posts by kids my age who didn’t appreciate “the correct music” and make unbelievably rude and uncalled for comments. It was upsetting at the time but now that I realize he was a 20 or 30-something year old man who spent hours of his life on the internet picking on teenagers, it’s pretty sad.

  • Sophii January 8th, 2014 4:40 PM

    I’ve been waiting for an article like this on Rookie. However, not to sound like a horrible person, I do find that almost everybody I’ve spoken to at my school is unwilling to have a discussion about culture or society or literature but they’re also not very interested in One Direction or rom coms. They don’t have opinions on anything and when I try to get into a discussion about something they cast me aside and make me feel weird. I guess I’m saying that some teenage girls sort of feed the stereotype. Does that sound really terrible? I have found teenagers outside of school (some of them who I met at a Rookie meet up) who are really passionate about things though. That’s what I think is important; passion, interest, fangirling. Whatever. Whether it’s One Direction or 18th century literature or astronomy, I think it’s important to be really care about something. There are lots of teenage girls like that but I have encountered a lot in real life who are not. But again, we are all people and not everyone is going to be the same.


  • Anya N. January 8th, 2014 7:48 PM


    this has to go in yearbook 3

  • sparklingbutterfly January 9th, 2014 7:56 PM

    i would just like to point out a description i just read on hulu.com of my so-called-life: (the annoying parts are in all caps)

    MSCL follows Angela Chase, a NEUROTIC, touching and funny 15-year-old as she chronicles the ever-present trials and tribulations of adolescence. No matter the fixation, ANGELA FINDS EXTRAORDINARY DRAMA WITHIN ORDINARY SITUATIONS as she navigates discovering who she is and where she belongs.

    so one of the most brilliantly written complex HUMAN characters of all tv i have ever watched is actually just an over-reacting drama queen with an emotional disorder. sorry i remember finding many situations emotionally overwhelming in high school, a little factor being that it’s part of the teenage experience. And this is common for everyone not just an unusual quirk of one teenage girl.

    who even needs to guess that another member of the “adult men party” ‘s ingenious, manly psychoanalysis is behind it.

    your loss, old man, i’ll go back to getting chills over angela’s spot-on wisdom and powerfully poetic observations. sorry males are conditioned to view these qualities as symptoms of a “neurosis”.

  • sparklingbutterfly January 9th, 2014 8:00 PM

    and we know this neurosis is viewed as “female caused” .

  • lalalalexi January 10th, 2014 6:12 AM

    I had an English teacher who flat out refused to find the merit in anything that was “teen”. When you talked about older men talking down to you, it gave me a #throwbackthursday to people with close minds. But it gave me a #wowgouswednesday when I read the article and all of the comments!

    Kudos to you, and all of us, for staying firm in our beliefs. Four for you Glen Coco (Hazel), you go Glen Coco.


  • TessAnnesley January 11th, 2014 11:52 PM


  • Ellieyo January 16th, 2014 2:35 PM

    I love this. It’s nice to see someone else shares this view. I try to explain to my male friends often that media represented and critiques doesn’t equal real life people.

  • shawnee January 21st, 2014 7:35 PM

    i’m not a teenage girl anymore (21 years old to be exact) but this article is still so relatable. my interests range all over the board but as soon as taylor swift, one direction, or disney is mentioned…bam. pushed into the teen girl category who is naive. loved this article…off to read more! xoxoxo

  • Maradoll Mynx January 24th, 2014 6:43 AM

    Superb article! Older white males are NOTORIOUS for attempting to disenfranchise any segment of the population they feel threatened by. They are extremely territorial when it comes to THE VOICE that gets to be the one screaming above all others culturally. Everyone else’s voice has been pushed out onto the fringes. That’s why it’s so important for us to keep going, and to refuse to be steamrolled by the “powers that be.” It’s also what makes it so freaking amazing that Rookie is here at all!!!!! Man, I love you girls and this rad rag!! PUSH ON THROUGH LADIES!

  • alex1990141 February 5th, 2014 2:39 PM

    While I agree with everything you have to say about male journalists, I think you are ridiculously optimistic about the intelligence of young people in America near the end of the article.

    You presume that teens know that Mean Girls and Ja’mie: Private School Girl are satire. Sadly, many teens do not in fact, know they are satire.

    Many teens do not even know what satire is. I have known teenagers that took Mean Girls at face value and disturbingly worship the villains.

    I think you need to account for the fact that teens are not all so lucky as to be well educated like yourself.

    Writers critical of teens girls may simply be more exposed to the poorly educated youth than you are. Consider the hundreds of thousands of barely literate teenagers before you go off on men surprised at your education and taste.

    You are the minority.

    • Anaheed February 5th, 2014 3:28 PM

      I don’t think Hazel was saying that all teenagers are geniuses, she’s just saying they’re not dumber than adults.

      Also, you realize that many of the writers and artists and most of the readers here are teenage girls, right? You might be pitching this argument to the wrong audience.

      • alex1990141 February 5th, 2014 5:25 PM

        Well the problem with that is that due to a poorly functioning education system as well as lacking a college education, most teenagers are dumber than adults. The writers and readers of this blog are clearly very intelligent people but they are not at all representative of the majority of teens.

        Of course I realize the writers and readers are teen girls. And most of them seem to have forgotten that their IRL peers are not nearly as educated as their on-this-blog confederates. They do not have the same access or opportunities.

        Right now, you (the reader, writer, artist) of this blog are the exception to an overwhelming rule largely characterized by ignorance. Once most teen girls can discuss punk music, grasp satire and critique articles in The Atlantic, it will be fair to call out writers for misrepresenting your age and gender group. Until that time, consider yourselves an extremely lucky minority and pity those who give you a bad name.

        • Anaheed February 5th, 2014 5:40 PM

          I do in fact pity you! What a sad and limited view you have of young people, plus an apparent need to disguise your opinions as facts.

  • alex1990141 February 5th, 2014 6:32 PM

    As a young person myself, I am making no critique of young people. I have seen them do the most amazing things humanity is capable of. Their age is no limit to what they can and do achieve.

    I admire your idealism. I don’t want to make assumptions about your life but it sounds as though you have been lucky enough to be surrounded by creative, ambitious, talented and intelligent young people that have given you a rose colored vision.

    Teens are not like that everywhere. I have lived in many states in wildly different communities. You can always find amazing young people, no matter where you are but in many places they are very few and far between.

    At it’s most basic level, this article is about being mad that writers are bashing or misrepresenting a group, in this case teen girls. Guess what? That problem does not go away your whole life. Next you will be bashed for being a 20 something or a millenial or a 30 something or a woman or a man or rich or poor or whatever. Some writer will always be talking shit. The problem is that that writer is always right. Every group sucks in it’s own special way and all you can do is try to be the exception to the stereotype and live a happy life without giving a fuck about what some old white man thinks about your current status group.