As the mom of a smart, fierce, energetic girl who has a strong sense of herself, I was really excited this year when I saw the Kickstarter campaign for Erin Bried’s new magazine, Kazoo. In the end, that campaign was really successful — the most successful crowdfunding campaign for a publication in Kickstarter’s history — ultimately raising $171,215.
Bried was generous enough to answer some questions for Wear Your Voice just as she was putting the finishing touches on the first issue of Kazoo, which will be on its way to subscribers soon.
Beth Winegarner: Where did the idea for Kazoo magazine come from?
Erin Bried: I started Kazoo because, after browsing the newsstand with my five-year-old daughter one day, I was upset — and honestly kind of angry — at what I saw. I don’t think there was a single title for young girls that didn’t include a story on pretty hair. What’s more, every cover I saw featured a princess, a doll or a little girl wearing makeup. Since my daughter happens to prefer pirates to princesses, we left the store that day empty-handed.
Then, while walking her home from school another day, she said to me, “Mom, did you know that space is for boys?” I was shocked, especially since her absolute favorite thing to do right now is to pretend that we’re part of a “super-fast species” that lives on Saturn. I told her that space is, of course, for anyone — and explained, as calmly as possible: “You can do anything you want to do, and be anything you want to be.” It infuriates me that she’s just five years old and is already being told, this time by a boy at school, what she can’t do, where she can’t go and what she’s not supposed to care about.
I know we can do better for our girls. 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.
BW: Do you see this as a magazine for girls, their parents, or both?
EB: It’s for girls ages five to 10, though boys are certainly welcome to read it too. Parents, too!
BW: At what point did you decide that you were going to crowdfund the magazine? Were you surprised by the response?
I wanted to crowdfund Kazoo because I wanted to make sure there was a large enough audience to ensure its success. Kazoo’s aim is to inspire girls to be strong, smart, fierce, and above all, true to themselves — and shockingly, no other magazine like it exists. So, since there’s such a huge hole in the market, I was heartened by the enthusiasm and so incredibly grateful for it. I’m also proud to say that Kazoo is the highest funded journalism campaign in Kickstarter’s history.
BW: Does Kazoo follow a particular breed of feminism, and if so, what is it?
EB: Nope. We just cover cool stuff, but here’s what makes us especially unique: Every story in Kazoo is either developed or inspired by top female artists, scientists, writers, athletes, chefs, activists and others.
BW: What kinds of regular features will readers see in the magazine?
EB: We’ll feature sections on art, nature, science, tinkering and tech, cooking, travel, sports, emotions, citizenship and critical thinking. Regular features will include: science experiments; comics; art projects; recipes; interviews with inspiring women from athletes to astronauts; and fun activities, including secret codes, jokes, mazes, search-and-finds and more.
BW: It feels like feminism is having a pop-culture moment; how will you engage readers and their families to take feminism deeper?
EB: Our readers are as young as five years old, so our only mission is to show them a world full of possibility by reinforcing in them what they already know. That 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! I created Kazoo to give girls the tools and the space to dream, build, explore, think and ask questions. Oh, and have a ton of fun, too!