2013: The Year of Crippling Inadequecy Via Precocious Underage Girls

Tavi Gevinson

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2013 was high school and I was the janitor man.  

Me in 2013

Those are the feels I experienced for most of this year and it was all because of underage girls. 

The shiny overachieving juvies were inescapable though they didn’t even know I was alive. Every morning, noon and hometime spoke volumes of their brilliant youth, and the inordinate promise of these youngsters. I squelched my wintery mop into its bucket of discontent as teenagers wrote their twilight-year memoirs well in advance, while in the wings, sequels already took shape.     

The ‘now’ of Generation Y has been great for nurturing oceanic vibes of “My life sucks.” The propensity in each of us to crumble like the edges of an old house at any given click is constant and sharp. Gold with chocolate inside, people’s perfect days roll along the floor under small feet stomping. Deep down we say, They are going through bad times the same as me. Then we wonder if what we’re telling ourselves is still human and true, because out of sight, out of mind. 

That’s the unfair point. We can do that now with 1s and 0s. There is smoke and there are mirrors, and there are people trying to see themselves through that smoke. Most of it is just that, and other lives are shopping lists and laundry days. Not for these teenage girls, they weren’t old enough to turn left down mundane Adult Lane yet. I at least thought it nice they were girls. So much has been said but not done about modern women, louder and louder each year, and here was this trio of libertine young things exalting the voiceless virtue of action. 

I had a dream this year that Lorde penned a platinum hit viral masterpiece called Just Quit and all she does in the video is point at everyone watching and laugh uproariously. Ella Maria Lani Yelich-O’Connor… good GOD, good girl, I never want to type that code of names together ever again. That was harrowing for everyone, like the seemingly overnight high-rise that has been her life. She’s Lorde forever. Maybe, hopefully. Maybe hopefully not for some if they’ve been a musician for as long as she’s been alive and have no SoundCloud yays to show for it. She’s Lorde of the Right Now, that much is an enormous der. She’s 17.

Chloë Grace Moretz is worse because she’s 16, and I think one of the near future’s finest actors barring very few. Every year there she is in a thespian capacity that recalls the unnerving promise of a then-who? Christian Bale in American Psycho and The Machinist: 2010’s scene-for-scene Let The Right One In remake Let Me In; 2011’s Hugo; 2012’s Dark Shadows; this year’s Kick-Ass 2; Stephen King alle-gory Carrie. These might not always have been great movies, but Moretz is always great in them. Doesn’t matter what, and this is the crushing overture: she is not ever recognisable as the personal brand “Chloë Grace Moretz.” She’s an actor in the same way that Bale and Gary Oldman are actors, and can’t even legally toast everyone she’s laundering fat cash for yet. When she can, Jennifer Lawrence will no longer control the internet. Might even happen sooner

Tavi Gevinson was there for the writer-ly and the wannabes, and that is a powerfully insecure demographic at the worst of times (“All times are the worst of times” – internet writers). With even pundits from Vice’s billion dollars eager to hear her talk about things and stuff, 17-year-old Gevinson and her Rookie, (now so ironic – though irony never goes out of style, like the classics), she is officially the future of everything. Her vibe spoke to me above the crowd, too: I was missing the muchness of Gen Y and its internet lives. It can be about putting the Y in envY, or it can be about putting the Y in “okaY, let’s do this!” 

The older now want to hear what the younger have to say, the traditional model knowledge train is now careening backwards. Where did these girls come from and why are they so good at their chosen things, so maturely articulate and unshy when spotlighted by adult crowds? A: They came from planet internet. 

It’s a good planet where anything can happen at any time for anyone. This is the only generation given to the birth of self expansion at dawn and all through the day. If technology is destroying us it’s not doing its one job. There is no excuse for not being better, I realised, an unprecedented state of collective being that is both the mother of potential and the father of entitlement. Though the latter gets more snark-ticle airtime (guess why?), that’s the duality of it. It can totally be “monkey see, monkey don’t do ‘cos it’ll just happen, you know, I exist,” and kicking arse is still a choice, and a more individual one than it’s ever been. 

2013 finally explained the yin and yang with examples of both. Such is that life, both a window and a boardwalk. Age seems less relevant. It is actually just a number when it’s no longer divisible by eye-rolls.   

Toby McCasker (@jane_tobes)

  • By Toby McCasker