'KAZOO' Magazine Brings Feminism To Girls Ages 5 To 10, Because You're Never Too Young To Be Empowered
Lately, there's been a surge of feminist publications for Millennial women and even some for teens. But what about the younger crowd? That's who Erin Bried had in mind when she began creating KAZOO, a feminist magazine for girls ages 5 to 10. With information on technology, nature, critical thinking, and other topics girls don't always get to learn about, KAZOO is trying to give kids a head start on their path to becoming strong, empowered women.
It makes sense to start teaching girls it's OK to defy gender roles at a young age, since socialization into these roles also starts young. Toy aisles too often offer action figures and sports equipment to boys while providing girls with dolls and play kitchens. (All these toys can be fun and educational, but they should be available to anyone — not marketed exclusively towards one gender in particular.) And kids' books are often segregated by gender as well, teaching girls to care about family and animals and boys to care about war and alien invasions. (Again, not bad in of themselves, but why oh why are these things unnecessarily gendered?)
Bried tells Bustle over email that she started KAZOO out of frustration that there was nothing on the newsstand for her 5-year-old daughter that "didn’t include a story on pretty hair."
"Since my daughter happens to prefer pirates to princesses, we left the store that day empty-handed," she says. Another day, after her daughter asked her, “Mom, did you know that space is for boys?” she knew she had to do something to change what her daughter and other girls were learning.
"I know we can do better for our girls," she says. "In fact, we must, because this sort of messaging that we see in the media (and in the toy aisles) — that’s there’s only one right way for a girl to be — has real and negative consequences."
KAZOO seeks to provide content that is typically coded as "for boys'" and "for girls'" in a way that doesn't gender it at all, but rather presents all kinds of information as valuable. In addition to standard articles, it'll contain science experiments, recipes, comics, puzzles, and interviews with accomplished women. And the first issue already includes contributions from some big names.
Comic artist Allison Bechdel is creating a tutorial on how to draw a cat, because what kid doesn't want to know that? New York Times best-selling author Lucy Knisley is contributing a comic about Elizabeth Robinson, the first female American track athlete to win an Olympic gold medal. And scientist Meenakshi Wadhwa is writing about the Perseid Meteor Shower.
While the magazine is aimed towards girls, this isn't to say that it's only for girls; rather, the idea is to fill a gap in what kind of media is regularly offered to girls. As Bried notes, most of the magazines and publications that target girls focus on one narrow view of what "girl" actually means. There's nothing wrong with enjoying princesses or other things that are typically coded as "feminine"; the problema rises when those are the only options available. KAZOO offers another option — and although its primary audience is girls, it's likely that boys (and just people in general) will enjoy it, too.
KAZOO is currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter and will start shipping orders to contributors in July. Bried is also selling clothes that say "make some noise," which is the magazine's mission: To encourage girls to retain the loud, boisterous, energetic demeanors they having during childhood throughout their lives instead of piping down like they're often taught to.
"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!" Bried says. "I want to give girls the tools and the space to dream, build, explore, think, and ask questions. I want them to know that the world is full of possibility. I want them to know they can be true to themselves, and when they are, it’s a wonderful thing."
Find out more in the video below and at the KAZOO Kickstarter page.
Images: Courtesy of KAZOO/Kickstarter (3)