My whole life changed when I had my daughter three years ago. Bringing a girl into the world is wonderful and scary. All I want to do is keep her safe, both physically and emotionally.
When I was growing up, the message felt loud and clear: "If you don't look like the girls you see in all the glossy magazines, then you are not enough."
Even as early as eight, I remember seeing the glamorous women in those magazines, with their perfect hair and perfect features, and thinking, "None of those women look like me. Where do I fit in?"
I was a suburban kid who liked music and drawing and comic books. Not only did the young women in the magazines not reflect how I looked on the outside, none of it ever felt relatable. To be frank, it made me feel like there was something wrong with me.
And girls today still face the same homogenized, airbrushed, glossy beauty ideals. It's alarming with how much we claim we've progressed as a society. In 2016, I found myself asking, where are all the magazines encouraging girls to become astronauts? Or scientists? Or doctors? Or invent careers that don't exist yet? Where's my daughter going to turn to find things that she's interested in now, and not what someone is telling her she should be into in twenty-years? Young girls have amazing ideas, talents, stories, and voices that we should be listening to and encourage.
Everything doesn't have to look like a miniature version of some adult idea. Kids have their whole life to live in a glossy, grownup world.
What's so great about being an adult anyway?
What I wanted was to find a safe space. Not just for my daughter, but for girls everywhere. A community where girls can communicate with each other and learn from each other. We think it's important to bring cultural awareness & support girls from all backgrounds.
So my partner Christa Renee and I started Bright Lite, an independent quarterly magazine for preteen girls, written by girls for girls. Bright Lite also has an editorial board run completely by girls. This board makes the magazine feel like a conversation between friends.
Every issue we give girls a place to express themselves and reflect on a central theme and have been lucky enough to receive and publish submissions from all over the world.
The quarterly magazine is a collection of various mediums, including photos, interviews, articles, music, crafts, recipes, journals and advice curated just for them. It's powerful and engaging in that it allows preteen girls to express themselves and celebrate each other's similarities and ￼￼ differences.
These young women are our future leaders, and artists, and writers, scientists, doctors, activists...the list goes on. We want to highlight female role models for young girls and with the idea that it's not about competition but about cooperation.
Why wouldn't we want to nourish them, tell them they matter, and that they are perfectly perfect, just the way they are?