7th grade. What does that evoke in you? For me, 7th grade was puberty, braces, new hips, boy crazy, new to leg shaving and wearing make-up. My mom let me subscribe to Teen magazine and I remember a particular issue where the model on the cover had a super-cool haircut. I wanted that same super-cool haircut, so off we went to Supercuts with the magazine in hand. I proudly showed the stylist and 30 minutes later I walked out of there with a mullet. I kid you not. It wasn't the stylists fault, it really was a cute mullet on the model, but I was devastated. I clearly remember crying on the way home, holding the magazine in my hand. I would love to post a picture of this, but I would not let my mom take my picture until it grew out. I thought I looked hideous. Looking back, I wanted to look like that teen model. I thought all my dreams would come true if I looked like her. It wasn't the haircut, it was everything that went along with it. The clothes, the sparkly white teeth, the perfect skin, all of it. Teen magazine was just the beginning. I later got Seventeen magazine, then Cosmopolitan, then Shape. Model after model, advertisement after advertisement, telling me what I should be: Beautiful, thin, perfect.
What is this doing to us? What is this doing to little girls?
I'm not going to get into the effects of mainstream media right now, but I want to introduce you to Nancy Gruver and her amazing magazine of nearly 2 decades, New Moon Girls. In this day and age where girls are evermore exposed to heavily sexualized imagery and messaging, New Moon Girls gives them empowerment, no advertising, a safe interactive online community, girl created content and not to mention numerous awards, year after year. Nancy wanted to have a magazine available to girls that was for, by and about girls 8 and up. On New Moon Girls Facebok page she shares messages from subscribers like this one:
“I really love your magazine. I know i sound like a ad, but it really, truly makes me feel, happy, beautiful, and unique. I wish that every girl would have a subscription to new moon girls. It would make girls feel so good. Keep making more girls feel beautiful!” – Chloe, 12, Illinois
Hoorah, right? But, here's the bad news. (Boooo, I know). New Moon Girls is in trouble and needs our help. Because of the current economic climate, New Moon Girls may have to close their doors forever. So, here's how we can all help: I have become an affiliate partner for New Moon which means I will be selling New Moon subscriptions from my blog. A year long subscription is $44.95. That's a great deal for an entire year of empowering that little girl in your life! If you choose to purchase a copy through me – you will receive a $10 discount off the total price. Making a year of empowering magazine action for just $34.95.
If you don't have a girl in your life to buy a subscription for, you can still help by buying and donating a subscription to your local library or school. How's that for paying it forward? Or, if you can't buy a subscription, please consider tweeting about New Moon Girls, this post, or sharing about New Moon Girls on Facebook and become a fan yourself.
Another cool thing if you do get a subscription: Have your daughter or the girl in your life contribute to New Moon. She can send in her poetry, essays or her questions. This magazine is by, for and about girls!
Young girls don't have to be bombarded with images and messages that make them feel less than what they are. We may not ever know what they see or hear that is damaging. But, with publications like New Moon Girls, I can guarantee you'll be sure they'll get empowering messages encouraging them to be themselves, dream big, have their voices heard and to discover and honor their true selves.