BY: KRUPA JOSEPH
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams,” Eleanor Roosevelt once rightly said. The meaning is quite apparent – success is for those who dream of it. But the world that we live in so often tells our girls that their dreams don’t mean much, and it is absolutely necessary to change that.
That is why mom and editor, Erin Bried, started a new magazine, Kazoo. Aimed at all the young girls out there who are looking for inspiration.
It all began when Erin took her fiveyear-old daughter, Ellie, to the newsstand looking for a magazine that they could enjoy together. “I was upset — and honestly — kind of angry at what I saw. I don’t think there was a single title for young girls that didn’t include a story on getting pretty hair. What’s more, every cover I saw featured a princess, a doll, or a child wearing makeup,” she said. When she realized that more often than not, the world was telling her little girl that there were things she couldn’t do or achieve just because she happens to be a girl, she realized something had to be done.
Kazoo is a quarterly magazine meant for girls from ages 5- 10. Filled with comics, recipes, science experiments, interviews with accomplished women, stories written by iconic females, and art projects among various other features, the magazine hopes to tell young girls that they are smart, strong and capable of doing anything they want, regardless of perceived societal norms.
“I know we can do better for our girls. In fact, we must, because this sort of messaging — that there’s only one right way for a girl to be (and that’s pretty and quiet) — has real and negative consequences,” shared Bried. We’ve got to let our girls know that they have other options. They can be loud. They can be messy. They can be strong. They can be adventurous. They can be silly. They can be intellectually curious about science, art, engineering — anything. Everything! That’s why I wanted to create Kazoo. I want to give girls the tools – and the space – to dream, build, explore, think and ask questions.”
As a mother of two, author of three books, and the former editor of Conde Nast, Bried knew exactly what she wanted for the magazine, and how to go about it. She began by assembling a great lineup of contributors for the first issue. She went on to set up a Kickstarter page, so that she could raise enough money for the project.
In a world where photoshopped bodies, and increasingly cruel remarks are directed at those who don’t fit the “mould”, it has become increasingly necessary to tailor-make content for children, especially to cultivate interest in other spheres of life. Within 30 days, the success of the idea became apparent with Kazoo becoming the highest funded journalistic Kickstarter campaign in history.
In August they launched their first issue and it featured a full-length comic by Alison Bechdel, an original comic by New York Times bestselling author Lucy Knisley about Elizabeth Robinson, the first female American track athlete to win an Olympic gold medal, and a story on the Perseid Meteor Shower penned by geological sciences professor Meenakshi Wadhwa.
Every issue since has continued to strive to make girls realize that they can do anything if they set their minds to it. All of their content is created by or about strong women in every field under the sun, from artists and explorers to chefs and athletes. They have science sections, comics and interviews with inspiring women to show young readers that one size doesn’t fit all in any aspect of life. They also call out to the readers for submissions in every issue, whether in the form of artwork, stories, or personal experiences, giving the young girls a space to express themselves without fear of backlash or rejection.
She also has big dreams for the future of the magazine. She hopes that someday personalities such as NASA’s Diana Blaney, who helped build the Mars Rover and Tina Fey, Ellen DeGeneres or Mindy Kaling would be willing to contribute to the magazine.
Recent statistics revealed that while 75 per cent of girls are interested in engineering, only 11 per cent actually end up practicing it. The magazine encourages its readers to learn new skills, read about girls just like them who are strong and independent, and also understand that while being a ‘Princess’ and feeling beautiful is important, it is equally important to love yourself and realize your self worth.
Bried hopes that her young readers will be inspired to fight for their dreams, and hopefully end up bringing a change in the way the next generation views its women. She also hopes that the young girls who do read the magazine grow up to be smart, confident women who love and accept themselves, instead of being bogged down by society’s rules and expectations. What a wonderful world would that be.