If you've ever been disappointed by the stereotypical magazines for girls, you're not alone. When author and magazine editor Erin Bried visited a bookstore with her 5-year-old daughter seeking a magazine for them to read together, she found that every cover featured princesses, dolls, makeup, or all three. Nothing inspired her daughter to be strong and smart; instead, they encouraged good manners and crushes on boy bands. Coupled with the disappointing statistics about women in STEM fields—75 percent of girls are interested in engineering, while only 11 percent end up practicing—Bried decided to develop the kind of magazine she was looking for—and from that came Kazoo.
Currently, the magazine only exists as a Kickstarter, with an ambitious $150,000 goal, and 163 backers who have raised just under $10,000 for the project. Kazoo promises to be "a new kind of print magazine for girls—one that inspires them to be smart, strong, fierce, and, above all, true to themselves." Several women have already offered contributions to the premier issue, including MacArthur Genius, comic, and author Alison Bechdel, who authors a tutorial on "How to Draw a Cat," and artist Mickalene Thomas, whose work has been showcased at several major galleries, is transforming one of her portraits into a paint-by-numbers project. The entire magazine is interactive, encouraging its readers to learn new skills, test their intelligence, engage with new cultures, and read about girls just like them who are strong, independent, and prince-free. Bried is at the head of this project, using her 16 years of magazine experience to guide Kazoo into reality.
"We’ve got to let our girls know that they have other options," says Bried. "They can be loud. They can be messy. They can be strong. They can be intellectually curious about science, art, engineering—anything. Everything! I want to give girls the tools, and the space, to dream, build, explore, think and ask questions." Bried's daughter has been an important collaborator on the project—her official title is The Tiny Editor, and she's "psyched" about the project, says Bried: "When we color, she often designs possible Kazoo covers."
As for the kooky name, Bried has simple explanation: "If you can breathe, you can play one." According to Bried, the kazoo is a pretty awesome metaphor for a young girl's voice: they already have what it takes to "make noise" in the world.
"I want every girl to feel celebrated for being her smart, inquisitive, silly, strong self," says Bried. "I want her to know that the world is full of possibility. And I want her to know that she can do anything she wants to do."
Money donated to the project goes towards printing and postage, page design, copyediting, and illustration. Watch the video below to learn more about Kazoo's mission, and visit their Kickstarter to support the project.