A Message From The Creator

A Message From The Creator

Inspirational Woman Of The Day: Franny Armstrong

Inspirational Woman Of The Day: Franny Armstrong

Inspiration of Style: Why Twentysomethings Love Rookie

Inspiration of Style: Why Twentysomethings Love Rookie

Women’s Health: Finding Courage and Happiness Through Rheumatoid Arthritis

Women’s Health: Finding Courage and Happiness Through Rheumatoid Arthritis

A Message From The Creator

“I am grateful for all of my problems. After each one was overcome, I became stronger and more able to meet those that were still to come. I grew in all my difficulties.”
–James Cash Penney

Inspirational Woman Of The Day: Franny Armstrong

Emine Saner

The Guardian

Franny Armstrong

Filmmaker behind The Age of Stupid, environmental activist and founder of the 10:10 campaign

Environmental activist Franny Armstrong‘s brainwave came as she was walking to a debate with the then Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Miliband. She had read a report saying that the developed world must cut its carbon emissions by 10% by the end of 2010 to avoid passing the tipping point. Armstrong, 39, dropped her idea to start a campaign into the debate. 10:10 was born. It was the obvious next step for the woman whose apocalyptic film The Age of Stupid had already galvanised support for climate activism.

The simple idea for immediate practical action took off, with thousands of businesses and institutions and more than 100,000 people pledging to cut their carbon emissions by 10%. Days after the coalition government was formed, David Cameron announced central government would do the same. The campaign is now active in more than 40 countries.

Inspiration of Style: Why Twentysomethings Love Rookie


Over drinks with a friend last week, talk turned to our fumbling sex lives. She mentioned an advice column—it detailed how to deal with body insecurity while having sex—that had helped her gain a new perspective on things. The piece was not written for pushing-30 ladies like us—it was published in Rookie, 16-year-old Tavi Gevinson’s online magazine for teenage girls. “I’m 27 years old, and Rookie is catching me up on things I should have learned when I was 17,” is how my friend put it.

This week, Rookie is capping its first year in publication with a week-long series of age-appropriate activities in Los Angeles—a flower crown-making night; a viewing of Clueless; a TV-marathon sleepover; a school dance-themed final party. And many of my peers are lining up for the show. We’re a decade out of Gevinson’s demographic, but we’ve been following the site’s thrice-a-day updates (posted “after school, before dinner, and before bed”) religiously since Rookie’s September 2011 launch. There’s a lot for women my age to appreciate about Rookie—it’s stylish and intelligent, treats teen girls like adults, and trades in ’90s-era cultural touchstones like CluelessSassy, and Freaks and Geeks (even though Gevinson was born in 1996).

So is Rookie for us? An early review in the New Republic sniped that women like me see the magazine as a “representation of the values and aesthetic of their formative years,” that we’re using Gevinson as a “last chance to grasp at youth.” But my pal’s love of Rookie doesn’t feel like nostalgia so much as it does regret. Outlets like Rookie give us a chance to relive our teen years, not because we loved them, but because we hated them. We want to attend Rookie’s school dance because it will be better this time—cheeky and inclusive, not socially awkward and painful. We want to watch Clueless again because now we can enjoy its irony without falling into obsessive aspirational desperation over wanting to look just like Cher. And we want to read sex advice for teenagers because we can finally begin to recognize ourselves in the “after” section, not the “before.”

This is not the nostalgia of the high school jock who thinks those were the best years of his life. It’s a cathartic experience for adult women who grew up on corporatized “girl power” likeCosmogirl and She’s All That and Alanis Morissette and are still reeling from the insecurities they produced. (I missed Sassy by a small window—it folded the year Gevinson was born, when I was 11). The teen boy demographic is so heavily targeted by the mainstream that their cultural products—Comedy Central, Sports Illustrated, endless Hollywood superhero reboots—are rarely coded as explicitly “for teens.” This must take some pressure off. SI isn’t telling 14-year-old boys what they should look like, or how they should dress. At least not overtly. But so much pressure is put on a woman’s image in her teens—and the products she should buy to fix it—that those expectations continue to reverberate in our adult lives.

Rookie’s teen readers are, in theory, afforded a critical distance from those pressures: Gevinson says the L.A. celebration is informed by “the cheesy, marketed idea of girlhood.” Then again, Rookie’s own series is sponsored by Urban Outfitters. Even ironic takes can function as endorsements—Gevinson recently told an interviewer that she still finds herself picking up Tiger Beat because she feels “somehow obligated to keep up with that world.” And even the most empowering media can be difficult to parse when you’re a teenager.

As for us adults? Rookie allows us to believe that had it been around 10 years ago, “maybe I wouldn’t have done half the self-destructive shit that I did to myself at the time,” my friend told me. “And maybe I wouldn’t be so fucked up about some of these things now.” Or maybe, like any other consumer product, Rookie cannot fix everything that we think is wrong with us.

Women’s Health: Finding Courage and Happiness Through Rheumatoid Arthritis


Dedicated to delivering only good news, all the time

“No matter what you’re going through in life, everyone has something,” Australian Karen Ager says. “It’s how you bounce forward despite these obstacles and make the most of future opportunities.”

Diagnosed with an aggressive form of joint-destroying rheumatoid arthritis (RA) at 17, Karen Ager was told she would spend her life on an invalid pension, unable to accomplish anything due to the constant pain she would suffer. Now 45 years old, Karen enjoys a full life. She married the man of her dreams, teaches grade school children full time, exercises and advocates tirelessly for the millions who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis.

In her book, Enemy Within, Karen shares her inspirational journey of personal suffering at the hands of fate, refusal to accept defeat and the discovery of a hidden gift that gave her a new purpose. While the disease is the thread that weaves Karen’s story together, Karen’s memoir is less about her outer journey and fighting the ravages of her disease, and more about her relentless pursuit of happiness and inner peace.

Arthritis is commonly considered an affliction of the elderly but the disease is actually far more widespread than that:

• 46 million people in the U.S. live with some form of arthritis.
• Two-thirds of arthritis patients are under 65.
• It’s estimated that by 2030, 67 million Americans will suffer from arthritis.
• Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is the most crippling form of the disease and affects 3 million adults and two to three times more women than men.
• RA also affects about 300,000 children in the U.S.; this represents about 1 in 250 children.
• Arthritis annually results in 9,367 deaths and 744,000 hospitalizations.
In 2001, Karen was given a revolutionary new biological drug that completely altered her quality of life, enabling her to do simple things that most people take for granted like brushing her hair or lifting something above her head without excruciating pain for the first time.

Using her media savvy and connections built from raising RA awareness, Karen successfully campaigned back home in Australia for several drugs to be added to the pharmaceuticals benefits list, making them available and affordable for Australian sufferers in 2003. Today, Karen continues to work relentlessly to raise public awareness of the disease, with regular media appearances and talks at fundraisers and advocacy events.

Karen’s journey is one of heartbreak and humiliation, triumph and tragedy as she grapples with relationships, infertility, grief and her ultimate powerlessness to stop her disease, finally accepting it and discovering it to be a hidden gift as a catalyst for positive change. Karen’s pursuit of happiness has led to happiness, and good health, in millions of others, who will, in turn, help millions more. Be the change you want to see in the world, a popular bumper sticker purports. Looks like Karen Ager took those words to heart.

For more information about Karen Ager and Rhuematoid Arthritis visit her website and Facebook Page. Nominate someone with a courageous story for a future HooplaHa video right here!

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