I’ve received multiple emails the last couple weeks from friends who are very frustrated with my secrecy about my project/future/decisions. And to be honest, it’s been both difficult to keep things under wraps (cuz I’m so excited/certain/hopeful) and yet, quite easy at the same time (that’s that “fear thing” creeping in again).
But I had to get a few things in order before the cat was allowed out of the bag.
And now, it’s time.
(I couldn’t keep from smiling as I wrote that last sentence.)
But first, a little back story.
About five years ago, maybe six, I found out about an article in Seventeen Magazine entitled “Vagina 101: What’s Normal & What’s Not.” While I am a huge proponent of women being aware of our selves and our bodies, I was incredibly disheartened by the manner in which the information was dispensed. I felt it was inappropriate for the audience and forum and I joined a letter writing campaign to have the magazine removed from shelves. We were mildly successful.
Now. Before you go thinking I’m all about tearing up the Bill of Rights, believe me–as a journalist and writer I will fight for anyone’s right to freedom of press and speech, even when I disagree. However. I believe we have a duty to act responsibly when we’re feeding words and images to our youth. No, don’t burn books, heaven forbid. And don’t ban them either. But do think long and hard about how those words will influence a developing mind.
Anyhow, I kept flipping through the pages of the magazine.
A Q&A about dating and relationships caught my attention. One reader wrote in that she was thinking about having sex with her boyfriend. My eyes scanned her questions and rested on her name and age. Thirteen years old. Thirteen. years. old.
I read Seventeen‘s answer and my heart sank. It was not how she should have been answered. Where was the firm honesty about how sex at 13 would affect her for the rest of her life? Where was the “Don’t do it! You don’t have to! Why do you want to do this?” None of that was there. It was just a sterile, “Sex is a big decision. Think long and hard before doing it. And if you do, use protection.”
And in that moment an idea came to me. An idea that settled deep into my core and has stayed with me ever since. An idea that floats, no springs, to the top of the pool of ideas I slosh around in whenever I’m trying to figure out what in the heck I’m doing with my life. An idea that I want to run away from and yet run full speed into at the same time. An idea that I know I have to make happen.
I’m starting a magazine.
I’m starting a magazine for teenage girls based on standards and values. It will be less air-brushed, less fake, less celebrity drama and more real, more inclusive, more empowering. Oh, believe me–there will still be articles about what your lip-gloss color says about your personality, but there will also be articles about being (and becoming) the amazing women they are and were always meant to be.
There will be no mixed messages about modesty and sexuality and how those ideas play into self-worth and personal esteem. We will talk about education and dating and family life and health and beauty and fashion. But we’ll talk about the hard things too–drugs and sex and suicide–as these are things today’s teens are dealing with (whether you want to admit it or not). But we’ll talk about them within the context of moral truth.
What do you think?
So. Here’s where I need your help.
I need girls. Lots and lots of girls to fill out a survey (https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/GVVT7BY). There is SO much that goes into creating a magazine from scratch and I want to make sure I begin with as much information as possible. So would you please (please?!) send this link to as many girls, mothers of girls, teachers of girls, church leaders of girls, as you know? Post it on your blogs. Your Facebooks. Your Twitters. Send an email. Talk about it with friends. And tell them to forward it on too! Religious affiliation does not matter. This magazine will be rooted in spirituality, not religion.
My goal is to have 1,000 responses in the next two weeks. I don’t think I can do that on my own.
Y’all. My eyes are wide and full. I have a vision for what this can be–and I see a world-wide community of girls living up to the incredible within them. I see a place where they can come to talk “real life” and get real answers that will point them to the bright futures ahead of them. I see them dreaming and becoming. I see them loving themselves because they know who they are. I see them embracing their bodies and their minds and their hearts and their spirits. I see them living lives of greatness.
I’m planning to launch my premier issue in January 2012. Call me crazy, I know. That’s only 3 months away. And there’s much to do. Much to do.
But I’m only chewing one bite at a time. And the first bite is the survey. So here’s the link again: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/GVVT7BY
Thank you for sending it to everyone you know. Thank you for being an ambassador for this magazine. And thank you for sticking with me through the blah. Truly. Thank you.
(So … what do you think?)