Moms of girls know their daughters are strong, capable, and all-around awesome. But they also realize that growing up female comes with a unique set of challenges. The above video, which was created by filmmakers Courtney and Peter Hutchens as part of a Kickstarter campaign for a print magazine called Kazoo, stars a 5-year-old little girl named Ellie. In the clip, the narrator shares that Ellie "knows how to brush her teeth, put on her shoes, and read to her sister." She "knows she's fast and smart."
But there's a lot she doesn't yet know—like that only 11 percent of practicing engineers and one-fifth of head chefs are female, or that by middle school, girls earn higher grades in science but feel less confident than boys. Ellie doesn't know that 60 percent of girls give up doing something they love because they don't like the way they look, or that by age 11, 30 percent of girls will try a diet." And maybe she won't have to," the narrator notes. "After all, the world is changing every day. Ellie is 5. All she knows is possibility. Let's join together to keep it that way."
Erin Bried, a mom of two, former women's magazine editor, and author, was inspired to create Kazoo for 5- to 10-year-old girls after a particularly discouraging incident at a newsstand. "After browsing the newsstand with my 5-year-old daughter one day, I was upset—and honestly—kind of angry at what I saw," she tells Cosmopolitan.com. "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."
Bried says that although her daughter's "absolute favorite thing to do right now is to pretend that we're part of a 'super-fast species' that lives on Saturn," she later asked her, "Mom, did you know that space is for boys?" to which she responded, "You can do anything you want to do, and be anything you want to be."
"It infuriates me that she's just 5 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," Bried says. "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. We've got to let our girls know that they have other options. 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!"
So, that's why Kazoo, which will be published quarterly, will have sections that include art, nature, science, tech, cooking, travel, sports, emotions, citizenship, and critical thinking. Bried says it's meant to give each reader "the tools, and the space, to dream, build, explore, think, and ask questions." Her goal is for every little girl to "not only read, laugh, and learn, but also see the world from a new perspective, one where she is celebrated for being smart, strong, fierce, and above all, true to herself."
Kazoo is not meant to replace all the princess-themed entertainment that's already out there. "Pink toys, princess movies, and stories on hair are all fine—and often totally fun, but not if that's all they ever get to see," Bried explains.
That message has definitely being well received. "One mother wrote to me and said she gave up acting as a kid, because she didn't like the way she looked and she's still so angry about it," Bried shares. "She said she subscribed to Kazoo, so her daughter would never feel the same way."
So far, Bried has raised $18,154 of her $150,000 Kickstarter goal with 26 days of the campaign to go.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.