5 Icons of the Tech-savvy '90s Girl

When I think of pre-Clinton era female-marketed technology, it seems pretty dark. Feminine Mystique-inducing home appliances, suspiciously-vibrating fitness machines, straight-up heated hair shenanigans – still weirdly interesting, but glad they’re not our only options anymore. The ‘90s brought a new generation of young girls growing up in a computer information age. If we’d had a handbook, it would’ve been titled Our Screens, Ourselves and written in a Curlz font. Below are the electronic accessories, on-screen heroes and online destinations that defined the oft-confusing era of “geek to chic.”

1. Casio’s My Magic Diary

With its message zapping, fortune telling, love matchmaking, and personalized face-creating phone book features, this PDA was like a dinosaur iPhone preloaded with every girly app for preteens. Boys were legitimately jealous of the device.

2. gURL.com

This site had an appealing design and not only offered cool, easily digestible content for teens, but actually did a good job of community-building and engaging with their audience. I know a lot of girls who made their first web pages and email addresses through the super easy-to-use gURL.com services.

3. Clarissa Darling

When the Pearl Jam-loving narrator of Clarissa Explains It All broke the fourth wall, she really brought the house down. Not only did she also have a killer wardrobe, but she designed her own video games to work out her problems with her friends and family.

4. Foxy Zine

Keva Marie had already founded the skater-chick clothing Poot! (they made those awesome girls kiss ass! shirts, and vegan canvas “choes” ) before making Foxy, the first online teen girl presence. It was the mecca of ultimate cool-girl voice-y pieces for creative, thoughtful and active chicks that were never covered in mainstream teen mags.

5. Cher Horowitz

The charming Clueless star showed how you could combine computers and fashion and be incredibly chic. Her computerized wardrobe was not just impressive but showed how she could more accurately express herself through her style. TC mark

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  • vickylimitless

    This post made me feel nostalgic for the Talkgirl even though I like the Talkboy more.

    • http://twitter.com/KelleyHoffman kelley hoffman

      because of Home Alone? i feel you

  • Angela Chase

    I feel that this could have been longer. Seems kinda thrown together.

    • http://twitter.com/KelleyHoffman kelley hoffman

      i have had the idea to write this since about last October, but didn't have enough pillars. last night I read a friend's essay that mentioned 'gurl.com' and i felt inspired enough for it to come together. her piece is a lot longer than this and i recommend it, it may satiate you: http://petiteleo.tumblr.com/po

  • Blingeescience

    no Laurie Anderson on here? shame.

    • http://twitter.com/KelleyHoffman kelley hoffman

      there is something wrong with me. i can't believe i've never taken the time to really get into her. do you recommend a place to start?

      • Blingeescience

        :) of course O, Superman is a great track, very lovable. She's done some great pieces with Pauline Oliveros. A good album is Big Science, but mostly if you can go see her live then go do it. She fits in with this article because she was one of the first women artists to really go public on the internet–I think a Laurie Anderson performance might have been one of the first videos broadcast online? She was a big deal online in like 1992-1994 and did a tour around then and her tour shirt had URL's on it rather than actual locations. Totally hilarious to think about it now.

        Anyway, just poke around her catalog and see what appeals to you!

  • http://hbgwhem.tumblr.com/ HBGWHEM

    i remember my sister had a tamagotchi and it made me really sad because it was like a thing that you had to electronically feed and take care of, but she kept it in a drawer full of broken crayons and i would look at it and think “that's no way to live life, next to an all but worthless burnt sienna and a sky blue half covered in what i hope is glue.”

  • erin pea

    ughhh this is amazing

  • GIRL

    I forgot about My Magic Diary. YES

  • http://twitter.com/dementia_inc dementia inc.

    I am sure that there was a diary for boys.Or not?Damn.. :S

  • themeul

    1, 2, 3, and 5 defined my tween life.

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