Dr. Michelle Golland: The story about Jamie Kieles and her 30-day trial of following Seventeen magazine was insightful and funny. It also got me thinking about alternatives to the teeny-bop magazines that do exist.
As a psychologist and the mother of a 7-year-old girl (who at difficult times seems like a teenager already!), I am always looking for anything and everything that will help balance my daughter's consumption of Hannah Montana, iCarly and, yes, her 15 Barbies under her bed. My daughter listens to Taylor Swift, owns American Girl dolls and loves to dress up as a pop star -- but that doesn't mean that I am totally blind to the impact that some of these things can have on her feelings about being a girl in our culture. It is imperative that I strike a balance for her in her exposure to the slick media campaigns that target our daughters.
I am a realist, so given the fact that I grew up with Barbie and turned out (somewhat) emotionally healthy, I decided I couldn't ban the plastic blonde from our home. By the way, Tova loves Barbies of all colors, ethnicities and apparent socioeconomic status (from doctors to veterinarians to supermodels). I am a feminist and want my daughter to value herself for her brains and her brawn as well as her beauty (both inner and outer), and that is why I fell in love with New Moon Girls Magazine (NMGM).
New Moon Girls Magazine is for girls aged 8 and above. It is girl-edited and written, too! It was started in 1993 by an amazing mom (of course), Nancy Gruver. The idea came when Nancy's girls were entering their teenage years. Nancy felt that girls are often upset and confused by the conflict between what they dream for themselves and what society expects of them. She wanted to counter the bombardment of "perfect girl" stereotypes and disrespectful, objectifying media messages that all too often are all the tween set is exposed to.
Nancy's daughters, Mavis and Nia, and their friend, Sara, excitedly began creating this unique magazine. It started with the formation of the founding Girls Editorial Board -- twenty girls who shared power with Nancy and her husband, Joe, to develop the departments, themes and features of this groundbreaking magazine. Their work together introduced NMGM's pioneering "share the power" method, which has since been adopted by many other youth organizations and companies. New Moon Girls Magazine has girls making their own media instead of just consuming it!
The magazine publishes original nonfiction, fiction, poetry, advice, opinions and artwork from girls worldwide. All of the magazine's content is selected and edited by girls, for girls. They have also launched NewMoon.com, a girl-centered online community for girls ages 8 to 12. It is a safe, ad-free environment where girls can create and share content and develop their full potential through self-discovery, creativity and connection.
When your daughter reads the latest New Moon Girls issue, she will find solid, self-esteem-raising articles such as "Inner Beauty Queens Tell All" and the advice column "Ask a Girl," wherein girls ask for advice from other girls. (They get good and grounded advice from their peers!) The May/June issue focuses on beauty, both inner and outer -- inner being the most important, as is reiterated over and over via a variety of fun and entertaining stories and activities.
The Girl Board also came up with a fabulous spin on a fashion show. It's called "The UnFashion Show," wherein you invite a bunch of girlfriends over and strut down the "runway" in your favorite clothes. The focus is not on fashion, but on what the outfits represent and mean to each girl (a la, wearing a ski outfit because you love to snowboard; PJs because if you could stay in bed all day, you would; a favorite T-shirt because it says a lot about your personality). New Moon Girls Magazine is a seven-time winner of the Parents Gold Choice award. With all that this magazine is doing to empower our daughters, I'm not surprised!
So if you are looking for a magazine and an online community that will empower your tween, look no further. I'm so glad I discovered it ... and just wanted to spread the word.