New Feminist Print Magazine For Girls Encourages Them To Be Smart, Strong & Fierce

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Dear Kazoo magazine, where were you a few decades ago when we were little girls and NEEDED a publication like this growing up?

In case you haven’t come across it yet, Kazoo Mag is the print magazine you wish you had as a young girl. It is a new venture started by a mom in Brooklyn, NY, who wanted to ensure her daughters grew up surrounded by at least one media publication targeted toward them that didn’t force them to feel like they need to live up to some of the unhealthy and unattainable standards that many women have been subjected to.

Erin Bried, a mom of two girls who has spent two decades working at magazines like Self, Glamour and Women’s Sport and Fitness knows the women’s media space well. While she was souring a magazine rack with her 5 year-old daughter Ellie, she was struck by the lack of diversity in messages and topics aimed at girls. She told Mic.com that most of the headlines she saw did not appeal to what her daughter was interested in.

“How to get pretty hair, how to have good manners” and “how to handle friendship drama” were some of those headlines.

“We left that day empty-handed. She wasn’t interested, and I was annoyed,” Erin told Mic.com.

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Instead of lamenting the situation, she decided to do something about it. In April, Erin launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund an idea she had for a feminist magazine aimed at girls who, like her daughter Ellie, were more interested in things like science, art, animals, space, climbing trees and more.

“We launched…with hopes that other people would also be as interested in a magazine that doesn’t tell girls how to look or act, but instead inspires them to be strong, smart, fierce and, above all, true to themselves,” she said.

Within the 30 days of the campaign, Kazoo Magazine raised a whopping $171, 215 dollars (she had looked to raise $150,000 in total) and became the mot successful journalism campaign in crowd-funding history, according to a description on the Kazoo website.

If that kind of demand isn’t enough to show the publishing world they are missing out on a valuable market, we don’t know what is. Thankfully, brilliant and entrepreneurial women like Erin will continue to become the change-makers girls really need.

The first issue was released in the summer and it sold out very quickly. Erin is currently working on more content and clearly will not have a problem selling copies. Each edition will feature work from top female artists, chefs, writers, explorers, scientists, athletes, activists and more. There is something in Kazoo for every girl, and for every girl at heart.

Erin perfectly sums up why influencing girls while they are young is so important. At that stage in life, girls haven’t yet learned to be ashamed of their bodies, their voices, or taking up space. But when they hit adolescence things begin to change.

“Six in ten girls stop doing what they love, because they feel bad about their looks. And by age 11, 30% of them have already put themselves on a diet. 75% of girls are interested in engineering and related fields, and yet only 11% of practicing engineers are women. Middle school girls earn higher final grades in science than boys, and yet report a lower sense of their own mastery of the subject, a lower science self-concept and more anxiety about their performance in class. By adolescence, girls are less likely than boys to act, and feel, like a leader. Adolescent girls are nearly three times as likely to have suffered from depression in the past year, compared to boys,” she writes on the magazine’s website.

Kazoo wants to flip the societal script by becoming a foundational asset, setting up girls for success with the messages, images, and role models presented in their pages.

“Girls and women are completely underrepresented in our culture. Look at Congress (80% men); the modern art section of the MET (95% men); the engineering profession (89% men); Oscar-nominated cinematographers (100% men); even children’s books, where boy characters are 3 times more likely than girl characters to appear,” writes Erin.

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Kazoo wants to encourage girls to pursue the topics they are passionate about by presenting them with visible role models and messages of possibility.

“When you’re excluded from the political process, museums, professions, awards, even your own bedtime stories, there is a consequence. The less girls see themselves in positions of power, the less likely they’ll be to believe they can achieve such power. Kazoo is the antidote to this invisibility,” writes Erin.

The first edition featured drawings from author and artist Alison Bechdel, the woman who the now-famous Bechdel Test was named after. It also contained inspiring words, visuals and work from New York Times best-selling author Lucy Knishley, Cosmochemist and Director of the Center for Meteorite Studies Meenakshi Wadhwa, Ph.D., and artist Mickalene Thomas who has had her work featured at The Guggenheim, The Whitney, The National Portrait Gallery and MOMA.

Inside the print edition girls also got to read about athlete Diana Nyad’s historic and badass swim from Florida to Cuba. On her fifth attempt, at age 64, she became the first person to swim this channel without the aid of a shark cage. Imagine if every girl in America grew up with the tools to know how to accomplish their dreams and overcome barriers, instead of learning the best shade of lipstick for them complexion.

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Look, being interested in makeup, fashion and beauty is not wrong, and in fact we love and are fiercely passionate about the body positive advocates and messages challenging the status quo. But in order to ensure we see a generation of girls growing up without high rates of depression, body image problems, eating disorders and insecurities, it would be great to see more of a balance in what is presented to them in mainstream media and journalism.

We are seeing a number of independently-produced magazines aimed at cutting into the dominant glossy market by fostering discussions about feminism, race, faith, careers, culture, and more. We salute Erin Bried for going against the grain and using her voice to inspire and influence young girls in an empowered way. We often talk about using the power of our wallets to change culture and send a message to certain industries that we want to see change. Here’s one way to do this: you can subscribe to Kazoo magazine to ensure you don’t miss out on future issues.


 

 

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