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Saturday Links: Girl Code Edition

This week, we’re equally crushed out on Morrissey, Rihanna, and a new movie from Sweden.


Illustration by Pippin Barr for the New York Times.

Illustration by Pippin Barr for the New York Times.

I loved this New York Times article by Nitasha Tiku about how to get young women into coding. Developers and research scientists who teach coding are starting to shift the focus of their classes from “learn how to code” to “figure out your dream idea, then code it,” using video games and websites as their examples. Tiku’s interviews with Rebecca Garcia of CoderDojo NYC and Kimberly Bryant of Black Girls Code unpack and attempt to answer a tough question in tech: There’s no doubt that girls want to build things, so why aren’t there more of us in STEM fields?

Imagine if you had a phone application that could control rude, day-ruining boys? The forthcoming Disney Channel movie Zapped imagines what that app would be like, and, oh god, it looks so good. It stars Zendaya as Zoey Stevens, a 16-year-old girl whose phone, after a wacky accident, can make boys do anything. Would this be dangerous in real life? Probably. But let’s just forget that for a second and indulge in a fantasy where we can make loudmouthed kids shut up with only the touch of a finger.

My favorite fictional second-wave feminists, Toni and Candace from Portlandia, had an IRL debate with two gender studies professors, Jack Halberstam (USC) and Juliet Williams (UCLA), at the Last Bookstore in Los Angeles this week, and it’s hilarious/amazing/perfect.


Also this week, Rihanna was honored with the Style Icon Award at the CFDA Fashion Awards. (Just in case: You can see her breasts in this video). Her excellent outfit comprised an incredible 1920s-inspired translucent fishnet gown, a head wrap made with over 230,000 Swarovski crystals, and a fur wrap. She looked like the queen of Sparkly Sexy Flapper Mountain! And, as if this look wasn’t enough to make the world see her as royalty, her acceptance speech revealed some wonderful insights about her relationship with fashion. She called fashion her “defense mechanism,” and discussed how it made her feel more confident as a young person—and still does today. I can see how that might work—who could mess with this form-fitting batwing jumpsuit, or this “Fear” stole?

Photo and illustration via KISS FM.

Photo and illustration via KISS FM.

The next day, Rihanna made her Twitter avatar a picture of Peter from Family Guy wearing her gown, reminding us that she’s a badass gal who doesn’t take herself too seriously. Hell yes, RiRi.


The poster for We Are the Best!

The poster for We Are the Best!

I just saw the movie We Are The Best! and, let me tell you, it totally hits the sweet spot. It’s set in 1982 Stockholm, Sweden, where two 13-year-old best friends decide to start a punk band to express their righteous anger about the world, and enlist a guitar-playing goody-two-shoes to join their crew.

The movie isn’t so much about music as it is about making your own adventures, and how, as We Are the Best!‘s director, Lucas Moodysson, says in this great Pitchfork interview, having “one friend is actually enough sometimes. But two friends? That is a fantastic thing.” Moodyson also gets into why he’s drawn to telling stories about misfit teenagers: “I don’t want to be a teenager—but I’m trying to protect that person inside of me who is open to things, and looking at things, and responding immediately and actively. A lot of grown-up people lose that.” That reminded me of something our bosslady wrote in her Forever Editor’s Letter: “One way to avoid killing your heart is to decide that you will spend your whole life growing up.”

Amy Rose

From left: Marlon Wayans, Questlove, Bill Bellamy, Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock, and Kevin Hart at the Comedy Cellar. Photo courtesy of Bill Bellamy via GQ.

From left: Marlon Wayans, Questlove, Bill Bellamy, Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock, and Kevin Hart at the Comedy Cellar. Photo courtesy of Bill Bellamy via GQ.

This account of a 2013 surprise performance by Dave Chappelle at the Comedy Cellar in New York City—as remembered by Chris Rock, Questlove, and the man himself, among others—reminded me YET AGAIN why Chappelle is such a king. I suggest grinning through it, then backing it up with this entirely amazing and tear-inducing Believer article about Chappelle’s life, work, politics, and refusal to compromise his integrity. KING, I tell you!


Mayor Ed Murray, far right, after passing a new wage bill in Seattle. Photo by Ted S. Warren/Associated Press via The New York Times.

Mayor Ed Murray, far right, after passing a new wage bill in Seattle. Photo by Ted S. Warren/Associated Press via The New York Times.

I’m very proud of my city right now! Seattle has officially approved a $15 minimum wage, which is more than double the national minimum! This is huge, as almost 14 percent of Seattle residents currently live below the poverty line, and 24 percent earn $15 an hour or less. Here’s a chart explaining Seattle’s new wage increase, which will change a lot of lives for the better. I hope other cities will follow my city’s example!

Though there was a lot to celebrate in Seattle this week, there was also a major tragedy here. On Thursday afternoon, a shooting took place at Seattle Pacific University. One person was killed and two others were wounded. Many more could have been injured, but some brave students and faculty members were able to restrain the shooter until police arrived. It’s very, very sad that gun violence is still so persistent, and so often deadly, in our country. These links that we posted after the Newtown tragedy in 2012 might be worth revisiting. My heart goes out to SPU and its community.



Our own Amy Rose wrote a loving paean to Vauxhall and I, the 20-year-old album by her one and only Morrissey (whom she has also interviewed right here on Rookie), for Rolling Stone. It embodies everything we love about ARS: elegant language, incisive analysis, and fierce passion. To wit:

As midlife crises go, Vauxhall is an elegant one: Morrissey’s vulnerabilities had become more finely tuned. He finally found tangible antagonists to blame for his misery (record-label ogres, the press, the rest of the usual wounded-star coterie of villains), and was eager to lay into them. The predominant emotion on the album? Weariness. Instead of kowtowing to pop ideals in an attempt to redeem his stature, he proffers the gorgeously fed-up “Why Don’t You Find Out for Yourself,” which is essentially a kiss-off to the entire industry-vulture species. He refuses to temper the exhaustion that comes with being misunderstood on “Now My Heart Is Full,” singing, “I’m tired again, I tried again / And now my heart is full / And I just can’t explain, so I won’t even try to.” And god knows how he’d tried, over the course of the 17 years he’d been making himself into music.

The whole article is really crucial reading! ♦


  • soviet_kitsch June 7th, 2014 12:23 PM

    i really want to see the portlandia clip but it’s not available in my country :c anyone have a link?

  • elliecp June 7th, 2014 12:47 PM

    love these! how amazing for Amy! I love Morrissey and Rolling Stone <3
    also, I can't make up my mind about Rihanna. Half of me is like, I would never do that, then the other half is like you GO girl! She did look amazing, I must say.


  • Rea June 7th, 2014 2:02 PM

    I remember my first day in college. In my bloc, there were 20 boys and only 5 girls. I was shocked; that day, I told myself coding wasn’t for girls, most girls. Then, I later learned that my bloc was a special case, and the other blocs had fair shares. I’m glad that in my university (Philippines), there’s an equal gender balance in the Sciences and Engineering. Some degree programs even have more females than males. (Though, Mechanical Engineering is still heavily dominated by boys.)

    However, I get reminded of this bias whenever we meet students from other schools during events and competitions, or when I took an internship in a large telecommunication company.

    Girls should know that the considered first computer programmer was a lady (even before computers were made)!


  • Sophii June 7th, 2014 3:30 PM

    Amy Rose’s piece on Vauxhall and I is beautiful. It’s my favourite Morrissey album and the Rolling Stone article really does it justice. I loved what Rihanna wore at the CFDAs and her acceptance speech was wonderful.


  • hellorose June 7th, 2014 5:43 PM

    We Are The Best is so so good and very funny!

  • Cactus Woman June 7th, 2014 6:06 PM

    I just saw “We Are the Best!” a few days ago with my mom! I absolutely loved it! If it ever comes out on Netflix it will be my #1 go-to feel-better movie for sure.

    I made a post about it on my newly revamped style blog. Check it out!


    P.S. Bobo is my fave. When I was 13 I would have totally had a crush on her.

  • obeykid June 7th, 2014 6:07 PM

    The movie featuring Zendaya looks really good.
    I always thought that Zendaya had more qualities than her co-star on Shake It Up! Bella Thorne.
    It’s weird how Disney always tries to make one girl stand out more than the other and the one that they were pushing away is way more talented.
    What I mean to say is that Zendaya has a lot of potential and I’m hoping she ends up doing some big Hollywood movie because she is THAT good.
    Here’s to hoping she steps out of the Disney limelight!


  • speakeasied June 7th, 2014 6:14 PM

    It’s ironic how TLC is the background today and Rihanna is apart of your Saturday Links, given the kerfuffle between TLC critiquing Rihanna and Rihanna firing back via her Twitter cover photo.

  • herdinthehalls June 7th, 2014 6:54 PM

    My first programming class I took this year, I was one of the only girls, and I was the only girl in my CAD class. Those are interesting skills to learn. I have my programming final next week, and I’m currently working on a (sequel) text adventure where you play as a unicorn!


  • wolnosc June 7th, 2014 10:14 PM

    Some sites to learn coding, there are many more!

    I’ve been taking programming classes in school for a few years now and I definitely think everyone should give it a try. There is so much you can do with it, like programming your own programs, apps, and doing fun contests!
    I wasn’t interested in it at first, I took my first programming class not by choice. But now I’m really considering it as a career. And even you don’t want to do it as a career, it’s a really good skill to have. I personally love making android apps!


  • SparksLefty June 7th, 2014 11:28 PM

    Holy heck. $15 minimum wage?!!!!! WHOA. I live in LA and the minimum wage is only $8! I’m currently trying to make ends meet at $9 an hour and the price of living in LA is way more ridiculous than it is in Seattle. Totally not fair! I really hope that Los Angeles is the next city to raise its minimum wage! I would love to be able to make enough money to afford to go college.

  • Maddy June 7th, 2014 11:47 PM

    CODE! YAY!

    All teen girls in the US interested in technology, please please apply for the NCWIT Aspirations in Computing Award! I received it a few years ago and it has such an active and incredibly supportive alumnae community. I learn about internships, jobs, and can swap stories and advice with other female computer scientists and engineers (both students and professionals)!

    For learning to code online, there’s
    Khan Academy

    And yeah, look up Ada Lovelace and Grace Hopper! They are essential pioneers in computing and just happen to be women!

  • TessAnnesley June 8th, 2014 12:49 AM

    I saw We Are The Best! at Sydney Film Festival, it was AMAZING!

  • itssabine June 8th, 2014 4:58 AM

    We Are The Best seems like such a great film!
    And Rihanna is fabulous as ever :)


  • rahima June 8th, 2014 7:10 AM

    woa morrissey is precious as heck

  • Berries June 8th, 2014 10:20 AM

    Lucky to be in an environment where we all learn how to code our own experiments. I wasn’t that good with it, but in the end I programmed my own (complicated) thesis experiment. I will have a job interview Thursday at one of the two largest telecom companies to be a ”costumor data analist” which will include programming as well.

  • irismonster June 8th, 2014 12:57 PM

    yayy for coding!

    I have a recommendation if you want to try coding~~Arduino! ( http://www.arduino.cc/ )Basically, Arduino is a very simple computer used for prototyping machines, programs, etc, and can basically be used for anything. It’s very good for beginners because you get instant feedback–either the light goes on or it doesn’t, the computer says the right thing or no, etc. Anyone can get the hang of it very easily and the possibilities are pretty endless, and once you’ve got a handle on it other languages like Java are much easier. Arduinos can be pretty expensive, especially if you actually use it and you’ll start needing LEDs, sensors, output mechanisms etc., but you can also use a simulator like the Virtronics one which is very reasonable.

    I had much more luck with this than some of the online coding classes, but those are great too! Codeacademy and Udacity are my favorites.

  • redheadjess June 8th, 2014 1:13 PM

    the saturday post is literally my favourite part of the day

    there’s an unofficial rookie meetup going on during the summer, click the link to join the group!


  • Monq June 8th, 2014 5:02 PM

    Yay for coding! I’m currently been wanting to learn how to code my own website and app for awhile now. Maybe I will learn how to do so this summer. Thanks fellow rookies for some good websites recommendations!

    And Rihanna is always looking fabulous and exuding such confidents. I love how she called fashion her “defense mechanism.”

    Also, “We Are The Best” sound like great film! I love how Lucas Moodysson said “I’m trying to protect that person inside of me who is open to things, and looking at things, and responding immediately and actively.”Me,too, Lucas! Me,too!


    P.S Thanks for another great edition of Saturday Links! Looks like I’m moving to Seattle! $15 Minimum Wage? Holy Cow!

  • umi June 8th, 2014 11:24 PM

    zendaya is my bby anything she touches i will indulge in(supporting mixed girls forever)
    i’ve been wanting to see we are the best for a couple of months now.im glad it’s getting recognition! i cant wait to watch it,it’s quite similar to my 13 year old experience.

  • Violet June 9th, 2014 12:10 PM

    <3 <3 <3 Rihanna

    I was a bit surprised that Rookie would write something like "careful you can see her boobs" – aren't we past this at Rookie? Even very mainstream fashion / people websites didn't mention that her tits were showing, which I found to be a pleasant surprise (finally finally we stop making such a big deal / being shocked by our own bodies).


    • Amy Rose June 9th, 2014 2:18 PM

      I feel you, Violet! But we are a website for underage people, for the most part, and also I didn’t want anybody to get in trouble in the school library and then be like, “COME ON, ROOKIE, NOW I HAVE DETENTION.”

      • Violet June 9th, 2014 4:40 PM

        Aaaaaaaah !!! makes sense.
        Thank you for clarifying Amy Rose.

  • Tiana June 12th, 2014 11:08 AM

    Omg I cannot get over how amazing Rihanna looked. I hate that people are so offended by this. How is it so different to if a model posed naked or if an actor had to be nude for a movie. She looks gorgeous!

  • trassel August 4th, 2014 9:18 AM

    Let’s not forget that “we are the best” is based on an autobiographical graphicnovelby Coco Moodyson! It’s great, it’s called “never goodnight”. But I don’t know if it’s translated, probably not.