Well, what do you know? I was just gearing up to write a post about
the Bitch library's recent acquisition of a full set of Sassy magazines—the
first issue! the Kurt 'n' Courtney issue! All the issues!—which were a
gift from the fabulous Rita Hao, forever friend of Bitch and a member
of our National Advisory Board. And then the news came down the
Intertubes that tiny wunderkind style blogger Tavi Gevinson will be
teaming up with founding Sassy editor Jane Pratt to launch a new teen
magazine at some point in the not-too-distant future. According to a
somewhat vague post on Gevinson's blog, Style Rookie:
guys may know how I feel about Sassy. You also may know that I've been
babbling about how I think our generation should get one, too. Jane
Pratt, founding editor and then EIC of Sassy, also became aware, and
emailed me, and we've met a couple times, and it looks like we're going
to start a magazine for an audience of wallflowerly teenage girls.
(I am trying so hard to be cool and professional right now.)
(Trying. so. hard.)
Of course, it won't be Sassy (or the rebirth of Sassy, or Sassy
2.0) and nor do we want it to be. For one, you can't try to recreate
something that good. For another, while I can read old issues of Sassy
and relate, the world has changed a bit in the past 15 or so years, and
that whole Internet thing happened, and this world calls for something
different. Something that will use Sassy as a point of reference for
the whole teen-magazine-that-doesn't-suck thing, and something in which
Jane Pratt will take part, but something that is not trying to recreate
the other something a bunch of us love and don't want to see copied.
When we heard that Jane Pratt, the former editor of Sassy—the sharp, celebrated teen mag that above all was absolutely unwilling to pull its readers into the spiral of insecurity and product consumption so endemic to all others in the genre—was launching a new grown-up glossy, we, along with other feminist pop culture junkies nationwide, squealed with excitement. Then Jane launched. And we weren’t excited anymore. Here’s why.
Back in March a horrible thing happened. After a few months of checking the newsstands for my beloved Sassy, wondering what the hell was up and why I couldn’t find it anywhere, suddenly there it was—mutilated almost beyond recognition. Peterson Publishing (they also own Guns & Ammo) bought Sassy, replaced the entire staff, and gutted the editorial philosophy—and the new staff is trying to pretend that it’s the same magazine it always was.