Before Rookie, before Jezebel, before Broadly—we had gURL.com.
gURL was this proto-feminist, riot-grrrl-inspired, zine-like website. It was the first place I ever saw teen girls writing about teen girls and answering questions of other teen girls. I read about masturbation in a gURL web comic, and I turned to gURL for a gut check on Jewel (verdict: she was cool).
The web design was like the inside of a composition notebook, smothered in cursive and, of course, a doodled power fist, colored purple. I was in love.
We flocked to the horoscopes, quizzes, “Paper Doll Psychology” and especially to the message boards, humming with illicit activity.
By “illicit” I don’t really mean “illicit.” I mean that the girls on gURL chatted about AP classes and pierced ears, boys and sex (and also girls and sex!!!). They popped zits and applied to art schools. They were cool.
Then, a handful of years into the new millennium, gURL.com vanished. In gURL’s place today is gurl.com (not the same! not the same, I tell you!)
I can still feel it, with Lenny Letter and with Rimmel commercials. I feel it with The Cut, Broad City, dark eyeliner and, most truly, with my Tumblr dashboard. “It” feels faintly illicit. A little like how gURL.com felt.