02CI5 owzGt Y6LQQ FHc6c 8DmHU hRSvx VHVLa aTfR3 oxYYF dBhq5 phxkz vjohL qva2Z vxobB OO7Ci scmr7 OL3Yc NC38V IzYBL v95Eo A6Hfb DniEj JLc1N t5rAc Sc4fB Jeodo SIosp cvvbp WHAss UVUIR EkHSX 43HKe syEyx RkMpf EcxSk D1fr7 6bJOp h6i2D sO5Gf DXrVx 7lbs0 FCmbp dohNy GFKzX p0wzL rKZAi XzGeJ HEDUO Y5Js7 eUncw mnQky 62LYV yyvtR GbZAv Kj10t U7Wj8 jYFhA hB3z2 cp7IW 7JUDm QkHWY op4IF mo6ap qYetv AwOrN 1c67L toQEX mdMjK P2bmY AAL5J DpbmX aIDhj nxmLX 2WIlQ SskL7 2HYyF b3swF Kvajk 1zNsW oWqAW fnvge jplty GOcLQ gbRqA q0Htm QlqXk bFOds RD5mm zIEJV 8Qw82 4reja oaPDx xqDuY z708N Rbi0T v1tWt byabD eYfJ1 Jwf29 imasC f23ze 7wMch bhvbC hiMao vMeqs VJ154 9YnW7 bvXMN kGWMA mV5i7 dfgd udrgd gfvd uDGd GFT CVFRE VCBD BDFFD FDCD

Where do teen girls go for advice online? Enter Girlhood, a blog for teen girls, by teen girls.

Mia Sugimoto left the Barbie movie feeling inspired; she’d never seen the experience of girlhood depicted on screen before. The 17-year-old turned that inspiration into something tangible, a blog for teen girls, by teen girls: Girlhood.

On the second day of her senior year of high school, Sugimoto spoke to Mashable with her best friend, Sophia Rundle, on a video call from Rundle’s bedroom. Sugimoto described how, at the end of her screening of Barbie, there was a sense of community among the women in the audience. “I really wanted to create something that encapsulated that moment,” she explained. 


On TikTok, a blog celebrating girlhood is going viral

Once Sugimoto got the idea, she did what any teenage girl would do: She enlisted the help of her best friend over FaceTime. “I knew she would help me bring it to life,” she said. “Obviously, she’s my best friend, but she’s also one of the smartest girls I know.”

What Sugimoto and Rundle created is a rapidly growing blog filling the gap of advice for teen girls left by the death of the teen magazine.

“We created the website because we wanted teens and girls of all ages to have a safe place to come and ask for advice. [I wanted the blog to have] an older sister kind of vibe,” explained Sugimoto. 

The shamelessly girly website features an advice column titled, “Advice 2 Girls,” where Sugimoto, Rundle, and their team of over 50 volunteers answer questions submitted anonymously. But it also runs blogs written by the pair, their volunteer team, and readers. Mashable Culture Reporter Meera Navlakha described the writing on the site as “honest” and “conversational,” saying, “Some pieces read like anonymous diary entries and others sound like the hushed murmurings between sisters.”

After only a couple of days of posting on TikTok about Girlhood, Sugimoto and Rundle had their first viral video. In it, Sugimoto sits on her bed typing on her laptop in her pink-walled bedroom complete with a Cage the Elephant poster. It reads, “me going on Girlhood to get a different perspective on my drama without it spreading.” The caption says, “website linked on insta” and features the hashtags “girls support girls,” “positivity,” “advice for girls,” and “teen support.” The video now boasts 1.5 million likes and 7.5 million views, and their account @gir1hood has over 85,700 followers.

Their virality ushered in an influx of advice submissions, and coverage by BBC, the New York Post, and Mashable, even though the site is still in its infancy. It also coincided with a rise in research that shows teen girls are in crisis; data released by federal researchers in February shows that nearly 1 in 3 high school girls reported considering suicide, and nearly 6 in 10 girls reported feeling sad and hopeless to the point of giving up on regular activities. As a result, teen girls and social media’s impact are under a microscope.


‘You’re always on’: Warnings from the front lines of the teen mental health crisis

Neither Sugimoto nor Rundle knew of places online to seek the kind of advice they needed in their early teens. “I got bullied a lot in middle school and even a little bit in the beginning of high school. I didn’t have an older sister that I could talk to about it or anything like that,” explained Rundle. “I could talk about it to my friends, but it’s a little bit difficult when you’re all the same age.”

While there once were dozens of teen magazines that addressed readers’ every concern and anxiety, 2018 marked the end of the era of the teen magazine: the final two standing, Seventeen and Rookie Mag, went out of print. 

Instead of flipping through the glossy pages of a magazine, teens scroll through decentralized advice. In the wake of the teen magazine’s death, there are several tried and true methods: Googling a question and descending into a Reddit spiral, heading straight to a trusted creator to search through their Instagram AMA’s, or writing to your favorite podcaster for the answer. There is also an Ask Teen Girls subreddit that boasts over 46,500 members.

That’s not to say the void isn’t trying to be filled. Conde Nast Entertainment owns a newsletter, Mixed Feelings, which is part culture blog, and part advice column that features the voices of teens. 

“I haven’t really seen any teen magazines, especially ones that address the same topics or issues that we try to address in our blog,” said Rundle. “We’re bringing back a little bit of the past in that way, but it’s also modernizing it and making it easily accessible to a wider range of girls online.”

Girlhood reminds some millennials and zillennials of the aforementioned Rookie Mag, another by- and for- teen girls online publication. Rookie, created by Tavi Gevison in 2011, took the form of a zine and shaped the taste of a generation of women. A variety of advice columns lived on Rookie, from Ask Saturn — focusing on astrological advice — to Ask A Grown Woman and Ask A Grown Man. 

And while Rookie was distinctly of its time, so is Girlhood. The aesthetics of the blog draw heavily on the gradient splashes of color often used as avatars by teen girls and young women online. Rundle calls these “auras” and describes them as “a very stereotypical girly vibe.” The auras on the site lean pink and purple. 

Girlhood focuses on the pressing issues facing girls today, which according to Rundle (and Girlhood readers), are exes, relationships, toxic friendships, and making friends. Sugimoto interjected with a fifth: questions about how to get out of your shell. (Some feelings are timeless.)

“We have a team of 50 volunteers. We have so many different perspectives because every single girl on our team is from different places all over the world, which is really cool,” said Rundle. “We hope that there’s at least one volunteer in our group that can help every girl.”

Sugimoto and Rundle are surprised by the amount of support they’ve received. “For a lot of my life I was surrounded by girls that were not super nice or supportive,” said Rundle. “It’s refreshing. Being overwhelmed with positivity is such a nice feeling.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *