In this 7-minute video, 16-year-old Tavi Gevinson addresses a concern of teenage girls, parents, teachers and women everywhere – the definition of a great female character. Yet, it’s not a textbook deduction that we draw from Tavi’s talk, but a simple acceptance that even female role models should be allowed flaws and weaknesses.
Tavi Gevinson is no stranger to the blogging culture; the quirky and creative high school sophomore became one of the youngest fashion icons of all time through her blog The Style Rookie, which she started at the age of 11. Since then she has been on magazine covers, at high profile fashion events and has contributed to the likes of Harper’s Bazaar and Jezebel. But that didn’t stop her – Tavi launched an online magazine for teenage girls in September 2011 called Rookie, which scored 1 million page views within five days of launching.
In her talk, she highlights the lack of strong female characters on films and television, a staple source for inspiration for teenagers. What her generation is often presented with are two-dimensional superwomen who have perhaps one quality that is played up more than the other. Most of the time, this is sexuality.
“The problem with this is then people expect women to be that easy to understand, and women are mad at themselves for not being that simple,” she expressed and – rather matter-of-factly – added, “When in actuality, women are complicated. Women are multifaceted. Not because women are crazy, but because people are crazy, and women happen to be people!”
Strong women characters are not the only slim supply in pop culture, however; there is the other forgotten crowd – strong teenage girl characters. Watch this video of Tavi Gevinson, Still Figuring It Out at TEDx Teen, as she cleverly explains her vision for teenage girls and defining feminism at 16.
Who were your role models (male or female) growing up? What do you think makes a strong female character? Whether you’re a woman, a parent, a grandparent or a teen yourself, we’d love to hear how you figured it out!