To celebrate our favorite publication for and by ’90s babies, our Newsprint and Style sections this issue are guest edited by Rookie Magazine.
Victor Vazquez knows how to get things done. He’s released no fewer than 16 solo mixtapes over the past five years while also rapping with Das Racist, the aggressively witty (and recently defunct) hip-hop group that rose to popularity by accessorizing references to sociologist W.E.B. DuBois, Paul Wall and donuts. Vazquez’s most recent release, last December’s Not O.K. mixtape, collected the overspill of tracks that didn’t make it onto his forthcoming album, Word O.K., proving his leftovers to be fresher than many of his contemporaries’ main courses. We admire the way he gets down to business without sacrificing the thoughtfulness, honesty or intelligence of his words, so we were unsurprised when he brought that same approach to answering these advice questions from teenage girls. After reading them, we’re pretty sure “Kool A.D.” stands for “Kool AD-ult.”
Reagan, 12: I have a crush on my best friend, and I’m pretty sure he likes me back. But I’m worried that if we try to go out with each other it will end badly, and then our friendship will be over. I don’t want to ruin our friendship if a romance doesn’t go well. Please help! It doesn’t have to be awkward when a relationship ends—I’m friends with plenty of my ex-girlfriends, some of whom I knew before we started going out. Things are only as awkward as you allow them to make you feel.
Alondra, 14: I just turned 14 a few days ago, and I’m actually pretty bummed about it. I don’t want to grow up. I can’t see anything good or fun about being an adult. What is so great about it? It feels like I have nothing to look forward to. There are plenty of fun things about being an adult! I feel like I’m probably not allowed to tell you about all of them. You’re just going to have to trust me: it will be fun.
Ruby, 17: Why is porn so degrading to women? From what I’ve seen it almost always involves women being pushed around, being called whores, etc. Do most men really find this appealing? It’s made me paranoid that normal men secretly fantasize about this sort of thing. I just find it gross and depressing. It’s true, Ruby: a lot of (if not most) porn is sexist, misogynistic and often racist. So are a lot of (if not most) movies, TV shows, pop songs. These things are less subtle in pornography, because everything is less subtle in pornography. Sexism exists across the board, in all industries, but in pornography, it’s literally naked. I don’t think photographing or filming nudity and sex is sexist in and of itself; sex is just part of being human, and as humans we have always sought to represent all parts of our lives through art and culture. Before photography and film, there were erotic and pornographic drawings and stories. I’ve always seen the problems in the porn industry as reflective of the problems inherent in capitalism, which is an amoral system that incentivizes greed, concedes to the lowest common denominator of human desire and perpetuates unhealthy, non-compassionate behavior of all kinds. End of the day, though, if you don’t like porn, you don’t have to watch it. But if you do still want to watch porn, there’s plenty of pornography made for and/or by females and/or feminists—you just have to seek it out. Different strokes for different folks.