Check out this awesome Operation Beautiful photo I received today.  The notes posted in a high school bathroom after an assembly on bullying. 🙂

photo (40)

Speaking of girls…


While doing research for the second Operation Beautiful book, I stumbled upon a startling fact. Most pre-teen and teen magazines’ content breaks down as follows:  1/3 fashion; 1/3 dating advice; and 1/3 beauty tips. 


672 ways to look pretty for spring? Flat abs and a great butt? The best guy advice EVER?  Amazing hair EVERYDAY?! My intellectual horizons are being expanded by just looking at the cover. 😉

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Career or college advice; self-esteem boosting tips; advice for dealing with emotional situations like frenemies, dating abuse, or bullying; world news; and other important intellectual subjects make up a very small percentage of the articles.  Fortunately, I think this percentage is increasing, but slowly.


That’s why I was SO excited to discover Kiki magazine – “a magazine for girls with style and substance.”

kiki_winter-10-233x300 kiki_fall-09-233x300

Look! REAL girls on the cover!  How cool is that?! I wish women’s magazines would follow suit.


I got a free issue of Kiki during an Operation Beautiful event, and I loved it so much!  Kiki “is a magazine for girls who love life, appreciate creativity, and recognize good ideas. A Kiki reader thinks for herself, has her own look, and is on her way to being a confident, strong, and smart young woman. She’s a girl with style and substance!”  I like Kiki because it still talks about fashion and beauty (which, of course, pre-teen girls are interested in) but in a smart, fun way – not a demeaning, Thin Ideal kind of way.


Here’s some of the articles in the issue that I picked up (it was a movie-themed issue):


  • A piece about Angels, a store in London that produces all the costumes and accessories for major motion pictures like Harry Potter, Braveheart, and Star Wars.
  • A photo history of iconic movie fashion
  • Step-by-step guide to knitting your own hat
  • How to make a flip book
  • How to process film
  • A look into the city of Brussels, Belgium and why the city is important socially and politically
  • A piece about Olympic sports, including a coloring page in which you can design a speedskater’s outfit (COOL!!)
  • Recipes with a section that requires the girls do conversion math to figure out the ingredient portions
  • Tips on how to organize your underwear drawer so you can actually find stuff (I actually did this after reading the article)
  • Fun word-based games


Pretty cool, huh? Most of all, I enjoyed the fact that the models were all clearly ‘real girls.’  No photoshopping.  No gobs of make-up.  Just beautifully unique girls.  What an awesome message to send out.


Edited to add:  A lot of people are commenting that this magazine can’t replace Seventeen for older teens.  The truth is that the average reader of Seventeen magazine is more like 11 – 13 than 17.  By the time a girl is 17, she is reading Cosmo (“100 ways to make your man moan in bed”).  Kiki is intended for 8 – 12 year olds.  Another magazine, New Moon, is also a good alternative for younger teens.


I recently noticed Kiki in Earthfare, but you can also subscribe just like any other magazine.


What magazines or books positively influenced you as a girl (or boy)?  I really, really loved Sassy magazine.  Anyone else remember Sassy?! 

Oh, the 1990s.  I miss you so much. 



  • kalli@fitandfortysomething March 2, 2011, 8:45 am

    gosh i don’t think there was anything positive when i was growing up for magazines…….i always felt so big and awkward! love this kiki magaizne-what a nice change of pace 🙂

  • Cyndi @ Weightless Life March 2, 2011, 8:46 am

    The only thing I read growing up with Tiger Beat. I guess that’s not exactly a positive role model.

    • Caitlin March 2, 2011, 8:50 am

      They still have Tiger Beat, I think!!!!

      Justin Bieber, SWOOOON.

    • Caitlin @ The Caitie Experiment March 2, 2011, 9:44 am

      I definitely have a saved copy of Tiger Beat from sometime around 1997 — there are posters in there of JTT and Devon Sawa, and every so often when I clean out my stuff, I find it and die every time!

    • Allison @ Happy Tales March 2, 2011, 11:23 am

      Oh my goodness, I totally subscribed to Tiger Beat, no shame, no shame!!!!

      • Clare March 2, 2011, 12:29 pm

        Oh my goodness; I was OBSESSED with Tiger Beat, Bop and all of those magazines–This week my 9 year old daughter came home from a sleepover with her first copy–it was fun to see who all the current heart throbs are. Wish I had kept mine to show her–she’d probably think it was hilarious. That said–I was struck by how junky the content is and the fact that I really don’t want her reading that kind of thing. Going to sign up for Kiki NOW.
        I loved SASSY–coolest magazine ever. I used to read Seventeen too but it always made me feel crummy…go figure.

  • Jackie @ Baking Charms March 2, 2011, 8:47 am

    My mom didn’t let me read magazines like that until I was in high school…

    I’m with Cyndi (the comment above) on Tiger Beat hahah! Those were the days.

  • Joyce @ Flowing to Fifty March 2, 2011, 8:51 am

    Interesting post. I spent the ’70’s reading Seventeen mag and definitely came away with image issues. My Mom thought she was doing a great thing by buying it at the grocery store when she bought her mags. I’ve banned fashion mags in my house – only fitness or cooking mags allowed.

  • Cindy Robinson March 2, 2011, 8:55 am

    Wow, seeing the Kiki magazine makes me smile. I sure hope this becomes more popular and young women gravitate towards magazines like these. When pointing out the Seventeen covers, it is a real big wake up call. I feel shallow just looking at the cover. And 936 fasihion & beauty tips??? Wow, that is overwhelming. Thanks for your positive posting, keep up the good work!

  • Leslie March 2, 2011, 8:55 am

    Caitlin based on this post I’m curious as to what magazines you read. I read Self, Shape, and Fitness but sometimes even feel that those magazines don’t send the completely right message and can end up making me feel like I need be thinner. Do you have any recommendations? Thanks!

    • Caitlin March 2, 2011, 8:59 am

      I like Real Simple, Oprah, Runner’s World, The Week (a political mag). I do like Fitness and Self for fitness tips and recipes, but I think mags like like Oprah are more well-rounded (which makes sense because Fitness and Self are niche magazines and Oprah is a life mag).

      • Caitlin March 2, 2011, 9:01 am

        Oh I also think Glamour is a pretty good women’s mag. The only women’s magazines that I have serious problems with are Cosmo (UGHHHHH) and Marie Claire (but that’s more personal, LOL).

        • Allison March 2, 2011, 9:35 am

          You know what else actually has good fitness articles? Cooking Light magazine. On top of good recipes, they usually have articles about cardiovascular exercise or weight training. They also were running a fun feature called “I Tried It” where this girl was going around and trying different exercise classes like Zumba and aqua fitness.

  • Laura March 2, 2011, 8:55 am

    I LOVED Seventeen magazine as a teenager. In my late elementary school/early middle school years I would be stoked the day my American Girl catalog arrived. haha

  • ali March 2, 2011, 8:57 am

    I loved Sassy!! I will have to look into Kiki for my daughter who is 11. She used to get New Moon which is also fabulous.
    Sorry..don’t know how to make it clickable but check it out!

    • Caitlin March 2, 2011, 9:00 am

      New Moon is going to be interviewing me for a podcast this summer about Operation Beautiful – very cool!

      • Natalia - a side of simple March 2, 2011, 12:19 pm

        That’s so great, Caitlin! Congratulations 🙂

      • ali March 2, 2011, 1:21 pm


  • Holly @ Couch Potato Athlete March 2, 2011, 8:58 am

    I remember begging my mom to get me a subscription to YM – but she never got it for me. Instead, she’d give me a box set of Little House on the Prairie books! My mom did like to buy People magazines, so I’d usually read/page through those.

    • Hallie March 2, 2011, 7:26 pm

      Ahhh I did YM for YEARS! I think I was in college when I cancelled. Good times.

  • Kristy @ March 2, 2011, 8:59 am

    Kiki looks awesome! I’d be proud to give that to my daughter…if I had one. Lol 🙂

  • Allison B March 2, 2011, 9:00 am

    I am going to look into this magazine some more for my 9 year old. All of the teeny bopper magazines are banned, like Joyce, because I don’t want her to feel the same as I did/do. Thanks for the info!!

  • Erin @ The Grass Skirt March 2, 2011, 9:01 am

    Awesomesauce! I always wanted to start a magazine featuring REAL girls. Kiki looks awesome! I am totally with you on Sassy. I loved that magazine! And I am totally loving the Blossom flashback. 🙂

  • Britney March 2, 2011, 9:02 am

    I used to have a subscription to New Moon (a magazine for girls and their dreams) – I think it was targeted to 10-14 year olds. I think it’s still around too! It was awesome because actual girls my age were on the editorial board and working on the magazine.

  • Carolyn @ Lovin' Losing March 2, 2011, 9:02 am

    haha! Love Blossom! I’ve never been much into magazine so I don’t think I read many.

  • Alayna @ Thyme Bombe March 2, 2011, 9:03 am

    This is great! The topics in that magazine seem really interesting. I’m so glad that something like this exists out there!

  • Cassie @ Back to Her Roots March 2, 2011, 9:03 am


    I loved Seventeen, YM and all those other teen magazines when I was a tween. I struggled a lot with shyness, so I dreamed of being like a lot of those girls.

  • Victoria (District Chocoholic) March 2, 2011, 9:06 am

    The Winter 2011 issue has an article about a chocolate museum. I like this magazine already.

    A mother of one of the swimmers I coach, who told me a few months ago that her daughter “isn’t skinny anymore” because I had her working on something that’s usually easier for smaller athletes, ALWAYS buys the teen mags for her daughter when we travel. It irritates me to no end and I want to shove my copy of The Economist or Technology Review in the kid’s lap.

    We leave for a meet tomorrow. I’m not pumped to see this happen AGAIN. The kid does NOT need this, and I wish her mom would just let her take pride in her amazing athletic and academic accomplishments without getting all wound up about things the kid doesn’t care about, like her weight, hair, makeup, clothes…

  • skinnyrunner March 2, 2011, 9:07 am

    ive never even heard of sassy! where was i when all the cool stuff was going down?!

    • Caitlin March 2, 2011, 9:09 am


  • Samantha @ Health, Happiness & Skinny Jeans March 2, 2011, 9:07 am

    U think that its sad that magazines aimed at children would encourage dieting or weight loss. Should we encourage youth to eat well and be active? Of course! But we should present it in a postive way that encourages self esteem. I don’t remember Sassy but I love that Blossom is on the cover!!

  • VeggieGirl March 2, 2011, 9:08 am

    My favorite when I was little was Highlights magazine.

  • Ilana March 2, 2011, 9:09 am

    American Girl had a magazine that dealt with girl issues (like FAT TALK and bullying and liking boys!) in a responsible way, also giving fun ideas for activities, crafts, parties, etc. And there was always history. And my favorite part was the centerfold, where they featured paper dolls modeled after REAL women, someone’s grandma, someone’s aunt, etc. I used to devour that baby. Seventeen embarrassed me because my family would always be around when I was reading the “sex and love” column and … well … I was thirteen and the word “sex” was totes TABOO.

    • Allison March 2, 2011, 9:33 am

      You and I could have been best friends at age 12. I liked AG for the same reason, and was embarased by Teen and Seventeen for the same reason!

    • Catherine March 2, 2011, 5:49 pm

      I was SO into American Girl Magazine!! I read it for probably way longer than was considered “cool.” My first teen magazine was Teen, and then Seventeen, and I liked Cosmo Girl for a while, but as far as positive messages I think American Girl was the tops.

  • Michelle March 2, 2011, 9:09 am


    I refuse to buy any magazines these days with “Get slim quick!” or “The easy way to great abs!” They just put a bad taste in my mouth and I don’t want to support what they’re putting out there. Plus it’s great to get in the habit for when I have kids. I SUPER don’t want any of those headlines hanging around then.

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat March 2, 2011, 9:09 am

    Wow what a great find! As a teen, I was into all those celebrity magazines – BB, Bop… yes, those ones with all the posters. My room was plastered with them!

  • Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) March 2, 2011, 9:12 am

    I think that magazine is great, but unfortunately, I fear that most girls won’t pick it up. It’s sad that magazines like Seventeen prey on the girls by telling them they CAN improve their lives with superficial things. Even with boys I worry about the message media is sending out. Unfortunately, the focus has to be provided by the parents. We don’t focus on money or looks here…

  • Anna March 2, 2011, 9:14 am

    I remember LOVING American Girl when I was in elementary school. If I had to make up a tagline for it, it would be “the magazine for the girl with a good head on her shoulders” or something like that. I also loved the teen magazine YM, and I remember that they had a strict “no dieting content” rule. Or maybe that was Seventeen?? (if so, they’ve clearly changed their style.)

  • Alison @ Around the VeggieTable March 2, 2011, 9:14 am

    That is AWESOME!! Do you know what age group the magazine is targeting? I think it would make a great gift 🙂 I kind of want to buy it myself…sounds a lot better than some of the garbage I read.

    • Caitlin March 2, 2011, 9:18 am

      8 – 12.

      Someone else in the comments section also recommended New Moon mag and said it’s for 10 – 14 year olds.

  • Annie@stronghealthyfit March 2, 2011, 9:17 am

    Great to hear about this magazine. I realized at one point how harmful fashion magazines were, and stopped buying them and started ignoring them in the grocery isle. One of the best things I’ve ever done for myself!

  • D March 2, 2011, 9:18 am

    I think that magazines are usually cheesy and ridiculous on the whole, but I also think that magazines like Kiki would just not appeal to teenage girls. Coloring?! Doing math?! When I started reading teen mags it was because I wanted to read something cool and fun that was a little ‘risque’ at the time. I would never have picked up a magazine that encouraged coloring or knitting. I’m not saying it’s not a positive influence, but I think there has to be an element of realism here too. I agree that stuff about flat abs doesn’t belong in a young girls magazine, but I do think that girls are intelligent enough to not take this stuff seriously. If they have positive parental influence and good role models, it doesn’t matter what they read in a magazine. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting to learn about beauty tips or how to flirt with a guy at their locker! It’s up to the people in their lives to teach girls that there’s more to life than beauty, not the magazines.

    I don’t think that what I’m about to say applies to your blog, because you often discuss social issues and debate more ‘serious’ topics, but think about the blog world as a whole…here are grown women discussing the best type of peanut butter, the best sports bras, and how to cut out sugar (or whatever) from their diets. There’s no doubt that these women are intelligent and have far more important things in their lives than sugar cleanses and workout gear, but there has to be a space for frivolity somewhere!

  • Kara March 2, 2011, 9:27 am

    When I was a teen, all I wanted was to read Seventeen and YM (remember that?) and my mom wouldn’t let me (for the reasons you stated above). She tried to find me an alternative, but nothing would suffice.

    When you mentioned the Kiki magazine, I even heard an inner “Awwww Mom NO!” in my mind 🙂 I guess we never really grow up!

  • Robin March 2, 2011, 9:27 am

    Thanks for the magazine recommendation. I am a nanny for a 12 year old who is extremely influenced by the media and her teen magazine that was given as a gift to her has only created emotional problems for her. She is constantly upset about her weight and is always worried about teen problems and isn’t reading what she is truly interested in. I may get a subscription to Kiki for her birthday.

  • Dana March 2, 2011, 9:27 am

    There is a whole underground movement about Sassy magazine. I kid you not.

    Teen fashion blogger, Tavi Gevinson, is actually working with the former editors of Sassy to come up with a modern day version. It may be online. I kind of doubt it will go into print. But it seems pretty exciting!

    My best friend growing up had subscriptions to all those magazines and we would spend lazy summer days pouring over them and trying out new outfits/makeup/etc.

  • Carly March 2, 2011, 9:29 am

    I would read anything that had Blossom on the cover!

  • Callie @ Callieflower Kitchen March 2, 2011, 9:30 am

    Chocolate museum!? I think I need that copy of Kiki 😉

  • Allison March 2, 2011, 9:31 am

    I subscribed to American Girl Magazine from it’s first issue when I was 9 until I was 13 or 14, and then we transfered the subscription to my sister’s name for five years or so. It was SO positive and had articles about history, books, fashion, and current events. We loved it.

    I’m looking into a Kiki subscription for my 7th grade classroom right now.

  • Heather March 2, 2011, 9:32 am

    growing up I subscribed to Brio, its a Christian girls magazine, and I loved it. It had REAL girls in it and talked about real issues, being strong, being the best you. I miss it!

  • Heather March 2, 2011, 9:32 am

    growing up I subscribed to Brio, its a Christian girls magazine, and I loved it. It had REAL girls in it and talked about real issues, being strong, being the best you. I miss it!

  • Meg March 2, 2011, 9:38 am

    SO COOL! I think it’s so refreshing when magazines are’t plastered with “lose weight” or “flat tummy NOW” all over the cover.

  • Emily March 2, 2011, 9:40 am

    Have you ever read All You? It is fairly well rounded and has lots of real women in it. They do lots of fashion for flattering your body, which I appreciate. They have lots of coupons and money saving tips, decorating, fitness. I think it is pretty good.

  • Deirdre March 2, 2011, 9:57 am

    As a young girl I LOVED American Girl Magazine. There were always tons of cool crafts and interesting stories. Plus they featured real stories written by girls my age.

  • Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman March 2, 2011, 9:57 am

    That magazine looks great. It’s a shame, but other teen mags do so much beauty and fashion because that’s where the big bucks are. Even in a recession, there are always more of those advertisers willing to spend than any other. Still, I love the way Kiki’s features are wide-ranging. How to process film? Cool. That’s a magazine I definitely would have read as a tween.

  • Caitlyn (A Spoonful of Life) March 2, 2011, 9:57 am

    I’ve never heard of those two magazines but it’s refreshing knowing they are out there for young girls to read! I recently scanned through my younger sister’s Seventeen magazine and was in aghast at the articles they included. Do you really need to publicize that stuff in a teenage magainze? I think not!

  • AllieNic @ Frisky Lemon March 2, 2011, 10:06 am

    I can’t remember the name of my favorite magazine when I was a teen! All I know is that it was supposed to focus on things other than diets and boys…an alternative Seventeen…and that there was once an article in it about Homer, Alaska…anyone remember this?

  • Jen @ keepitsimplefoods March 2, 2011, 10:08 am

    I don’t remember Sassy, but I do remember Blossom- used to love me some Blossom!

    It’s great you found Kikki mag. Unfortunately, I think women’s magazines suffer from the same stale, superficial content as the teen magazines you mentioned. With the exception of O, I usually feel down and bad about myself after reading most women’s mags. Like, my clothes and makes up aren’t good enough and I’m not thin enough. It’s subtle, but it’s there and those negative messages are really powerful. I vowed to stop buying such magazines a long time ago. Now, I only subscribe to O and food magazine. I want to feel uplifted by what I read, not torn down.

    Great post!

  • Ash @ Good Taste Healthy Me March 2, 2011, 10:09 am

    I like the looks of that magazine! To be honest, I’m scared to have children the way society is today. Kids are so influenced by schoolmates, the media, etc. Look at the MTV shows they have out now. I wouldn’t want my kid watching Jersey Shore or Skins or something like that. I feel like I sound like an old lady but everything is depicted so sexually. It worries me.

  • lauren March 2, 2011, 10:11 am

    Caitlin – did you know that Mayim Bialik (on the cover of Sassy above) has her PhD in neurobiology?? Talk about girl power and being brainy!

  • Halley (Blunder Construction) March 2, 2011, 10:13 am

    This is great, totally could have used a magazine like this growing up. I always compared myself to the girls in Seventeen… and quite honestly at age 24 I’m still not as cool as them.

  • jessica g March 2, 2011, 10:17 am

    sassy!! i remember that. i also used to subscribe to JANE when i was in high school. both magazines had far more substance and intellect than the other “teen” mags.

  • Anne Marie@New Weigh of Life March 2, 2011, 10:24 am

    If I had a daughter, I’d definitely subscribe her to that magazine. If we could only get the other magazines to follow suit, that would be amazing!

  • Parita @ myinnershakti March 2, 2011, 10:34 am

    I honestly didn’t read a lot of magazines growing up, but I did read a lot of Babysitter’s Club books, and now when I look back on it, I think they were a great influence. They showed that life is not perfect because each of the characters had issues, but they dealt with them in positive ways. Great question…never really thought about it!

  • Lily's Health Pad March 2, 2011, 10:34 am

    OMG! I used to read Sassy! I love this new Kiki magazine. Even as an adult, I’d be tempted to read it!

  • Elisha March 2, 2011, 10:37 am

    OMG! I loved Sassy! I had a subscription and when they all of a sudden stopped printing it, I remember they switched my subscription over to Teen and I was like “this junk just isn’t the same!” ha ha

  • Coco March 2, 2011, 10:38 am

    I used to read Girl’s Life magazine when it first came out in the 90’s. But after looking at the website, (, it seems like it’s become just another teen magazine… *sigh*

    • Anne March 2, 2011, 6:36 pm

      Ahhhh, I LOVED Girl’s Life (and Sassy!) That is too bad. 🙁 I hate it when they get a new editor and sell out so people buy more copies.

    • Rachel March 3, 2011, 12:13 am

      I just looked up the SAME thing. Girl’s Life used to be so cool – I would page through it long after I probably should’ve outgrown it.

  • Jill March 2, 2011, 10:38 am

    SASSY RULED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I still have issues that I just cannot get rid of. The magazine simply changed my life for the better.
    Ever read this book?

    You’ll love it if you loved Sassy.

  • ashley March 2, 2011, 10:39 am

    I read all the typical teen magazines as a teen. seventeen at 12, 13, 14. after that, i remember my friends and i sorta being over teen mags and moving onto things like cosmo. when i read seventeen, i really only liked looking at the clothes. nothing else was really that interesting. i would have much more enjoyed reading something like kiwi that has articles that are actually interesting on a variety of topics. belgium vs. what mascara to choose? belgium please. vintage clothes vs is he crushing on you? vintage clothes. a lot of times people just take in what’s put in front of them, even it’s of lesser quality. my only criticism of kiwi is that its pictures look more juvenile and wont reallymake the grade for a 13 year old thats number #1 priority is trying to fit in with peers. a mag with pictures that dont measure up would automatically get the boot. kiwi actually reminds me of american girl and seems like it might be more appealing to the tween demographic to the teen demographic.

  • Runeatrepeat March 2, 2011, 10:40 am

    I just wrote about my magazine obsession yesterday. I’ve been obsessed with mags since I was a kid and can’t deny that it contributed to my body image issues…

  • Ashley March 2, 2011, 10:40 am

    My mom used to buy me American Girl, which I loved. It seems fairly similar to kiki. It always has real girls, art work, DIY, advice, and some fashion but it was lacking in the political and society views. Sadly I moved on to J14 and Seventeen then on to cosmo but now I avoid magazines completely. I’m just not comfortable with the messages they send out.

  • gabriella @ embracement March 2, 2011, 10:50 am

    My mom never really bought us a lot of magazines for that reason. She was highly against the amount of dating/boy/sexual topics in Seventeen, even when I WAS 17. I think I had a few issues of American Girl when I was into that. As a media major now, I read a TON of magazines and while I love the occasional great hair and makeup tip, I agree that I wish more magazines would show that women are about more than those superficial things. The only time they seem to bring up important issues is when something tragic happens to spark it.

  • jassy March 2, 2011, 10:52 am

    magazine…here we have chalk–magazine for college students…but now i’d rather read online because it’s cheaper 🙂

    it’s nice that US have Kikki magazine. kudos to the people who created this magazine:)

  • Jenifer March 2, 2011, 10:55 am

    Loved Sassy! but I admit I had a subscription to Seventeen from the age of 13-18. I then too, moved on to Cosmo, which at 34.. I picked up the other day and really just felt I was too old to be reading it. : (
    My daughter does like Teen Vogue, Us, and Women’s Health.

  • Ashley March 2, 2011, 10:59 am

    Love the tagline: for girls with style & substance. What a great message!

  • Heather March 2, 2011, 11:01 am

    I applaud the effort made by Kiki magazine, but I can tell by its layout that it won’t appeal to the majority of teenage girls out there. I think it could probably target the 8-12 year olds. However, once they reach middle school, I think the influence of other girls and media will have a greater effect on them. If magazines like Kiki want to target middle school girls, I would say they need to have similar layouts to Seventeen or Teen. In terms of content, they should include more articles about college, self esteem, and real stories about real teens. I don’t see anything wrong with including some information about fashion. I also think it’s a good idea to include articles about nutrition that are neutral in the way they provide information to the students.

    I teach middle school and I’ve come to learn that the ways to introduce girls and teens in general is to sneak the information in there and then you start to talk to them about it. Once they realize you actually want to talk about something real and that you will actually listen to them, they are more willing to talk to you about issues that matter.

  • Joanna@ Drizzle of Sunshine March 2, 2011, 11:07 am

    I totally forgot about Sassy!! I loved it too. I also read a lot of Seventeen and Teen and unfortunately grew up with VERY low self-esteem. It’s hard to live up to the girls on the cover. In our (broken) society, they make you feel like you need to. There are still bits of the insecure me here today, but your blog makes me see that I can’t be a part of that…I want to be part of the society that challenges that.

    I LOVE the picture at the top. I work in High School and about 90% of my students are living in the moment and caught up in society’s lies. I spent so much of the year trying to show them that I care and show them they can be what they want…but they are so knee deep with their drugs and babies. I am heartbroken. I’m buying your book and sneaking it in my class library. Hopefully that’ll help SOMEONE!

  • Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine March 2, 2011, 11:09 am

    I loved Girls’ Life. It was way less looks-focused than Seventeen or the like, but still advertised in a way that made it appealing. I actually think Seventeen wouldn’t be nearly as bad if it were actually read primarily by 17 year old girls, but I know by the time I was that age I read Cosmo and the like. Twelve year olds do not need to be told how to get a boyfriend or learn about sex.

  • Katy (The Singing Runner) March 2, 2011, 11:09 am

    This is fantastic, although I believe that it wouldn’t appeal to the teenage audience. I had a subscription to American Girl magazine when I was a pre-teen and I loved that magazine because it wasn’t filled with beauty tips, etc. However, once I became a teenager, I actually had a (well, I still do) subscription to Seventeen magazine. (I will not be renewing my subscription when it is up in October. I’m too old for it and quite frankly I don’t like the articles in it as a whole!) I agree with you that the magazine as a whole focuses on the “thin ideal” but yet they “try” to proclaim the message that any body type is beautiful. Yes they do have a few models that are a normal size, but most of them are very skinny.

  • Tiffany March 2, 2011, 11:09 am

    I used to love Jump! I think it was the first magazine I ever read. I never heard of Sassy though! 🙁 I was such a magazine junkie from middle school on. Kiki sounds like a really good magazine for girls!

  • Meredith March 2, 2011, 11:18 am

    The only magazine I was allowed to read growing up was Brio-a fundamentalist Baptist magazine for girls ages 11-15ish. It taught you how to clean, dress modestly, and find a husband. Not even joking!

    Lol now I typically read Real Simple and Runner’s World. I used to read Cosmo, self, Glamour, etc but they just made me feel terrible about myself!

  • Amanda March 2, 2011, 11:19 am

    I’m not going to lie, I’m a magazine junkie. I love Cosmo, Glamour, Elle, etc. Although I can see how some girls might get the wrong ideas from magazines, I feel as though parents can’t simply block them out of their daughters life. First reason being that if they’re specifically not allowed, then the girl is going to be even more interested. I actually think Seventeen is a fairly good magazine for teenagers. Every issue has a story about a real life girl’s experience, and it only has one page an issue about dieting. It is usually a fold out page with healthy eating tips on the front and some exercises on the inside. Additionally right around that page is the Body Love page where girls are taught to love themselves. Doesn’t sound too bad to me…

  • Jessica @ The Process of Healing March 2, 2011, 11:24 am

    I LOVE the idea of Kiki! And I remember I used to be all about Seventeen, CosmoGirl, and any magazine about the Backstreet Boys or N’Sync 😉

  • Heather March 2, 2011, 11:25 am

    I loved Sassy too! I had forgotten about it!

    I can’t believe the word “beguiling” made it on the cover of a teen magazine…or any magazine!

  • Allison @ Happy Tales March 2, 2011, 11:26 am

    Thanks for bringing Kiki to light, Caitlin! I’m glad something there like that is finally out there in circulation.

    I used to read the teenybopper mags as a teenager, but I wouldn’t always read all of the articles. For instance, I was never super into fashion or the recipes (i know, who was I?!?!) so I’d just skip over ’em. SO maybe not all of teens read all of the articles on in Seventeen? Just a thought!

  • JW @ Wine Will Fix It March 2, 2011, 11:31 am

    I loved Sassy. The editor later created and ran “Jane” which also sadly met it’s demise. Where is Jane Pratt when you need her?

  • Kira March 2, 2011, 11:33 am

    I wish there was a magazine like Kiki when I was younger!

  • Caitlin @ TPL March 2, 2011, 11:38 am

    I used to LOVE American Girl, it was the best! This is a super fun post, have a great day! Oh and I’m late but LOVE LOVE LOVE the new hair!

  • Katherine @ Left Coast Contessa March 2, 2011, 11:39 am

    I completely agree with your “edited to add” Caitlin! I actually started reading Vogue when I was in 7th grade (I believe I was maybe 12/13 at the time- what can I say, I was a precocious studier of fashion).

    I typically don’t read “Woman’s” magazines like Cosmo, Marie Claire, or Elle. I really dislike the messages I’ve read in them in the past. When I was a teen I LOVED JANE! I wish Jane Pratt was still publishing something. She was so great and her magazine was so smart.

  • Charlie March 2, 2011, 11:39 am

    I did read seventeen at 12.
    And cosmo at 16. And so did all my friends!
    Kiki looks like a great magazine!

  • Erin March 2, 2011, 11:48 am

    wow… remembering the days of reading magazines all day long. Tiger beat, sassy… oh the days. But I wish I read better ones back then as well… Perhaps my ideals and image of myself would have been better….or would have helped. Time to teach our girls that there is more than beauty and sex…and how to be healthy…not super skinny.

  • Julie (A Case of the Runs) March 2, 2011, 11:49 am

    I used to read Seventeen when I was 10-15… I truly think that was the beginning of my “why can’t I be…” syndrome.

    I agree with you on the women’s mags following suit. If I had more time and skills, I’d start putting all of us on the covers of “mock magazines.” =)

    Maybe after these next couple months of dissertation hell…

  • salah@myhealthiestlifestyle March 2, 2011, 11:53 am

    sounds like a wonderful magazine!!!

  • Alex @ Healing Beauty March 2, 2011, 11:57 am

    What a great magazine idea! I think it is so hard for young girls, and even young women to find magazines that aren’t plastered with ways to change your body.

  • The Chick March 2, 2011, 12:00 pm

    I loved the American Girl Magazine (9-12 age range). Cute stuff that was based on the girls and their times like how to do 40s style pin curls. Also fun things like planning a sleep over, recipes, saving money tips and it had real looking girls.
    I picked up Seventeen when I was around 15 but I feel like it was slightly less sex focused (certianly dating focused) in the 90s.

  • Jess@atasteofconfidence March 2, 2011, 12:01 pm

    SO refreshing to see magazines like that.

  • Elizabeth@The Sweet Life March 2, 2011, 12:06 pm

    Love, love the post-in shot! Massive.

  • Rika March 2, 2011, 12:12 pm

    wow! I didn’t know that the audience for Seventeen magazine was so young! I always thought 17 year olds and rebels who pretend to be mature bought them..

    But, I totally see the potential of Kiki for 8-13 year olds though!

  • Amber K March 2, 2011, 12:18 pm

    I definitely agree with your added comment. I read seventeen from the time I was about 12 or 13 and read it until I was actually 17 and then I was on to Cosmo! I love the sound of Kiki magazine! I’m tempted to get my 7-year-old niece a subscription.

  • Natalia - a side of simple March 2, 2011, 12:21 pm

    I definitely have to introduce my little sister to Kiki. She’s 11 and I know is being bombarded with so many different messages out there. It’s hard while I’m away at school and I want to be there for her instead of her relying on magazines that degrade you and really give you such mixed messages (aka no morals). Plus, any magazine that talks about a chocolate museum is a GO in my book 🙂

  • Jodi March 2, 2011, 12:23 pm

    Caitlin, this is fabulous! I am going to look into getting a subscription for my neice. I think in general it’s so important to get positive messages out there for young people as early as possible. i also feel like it would be good for her brothers to not have “sexualized” images of women/girls all over the house but images of empowered and unique women/girls. it not only effects the girls but effects the boys.

  • Kandi March 2, 2011, 12:25 pm

    Thanks for this post! My little sister is 10 1/2 and would love Kiki!

  • Carly March 2, 2011, 12:33 pm

    Great post! I am doing a women’s studies project on this issue at school and this is super helpful! Thanks 🙂

  • Alexa @ The Girl In Chucks March 2, 2011, 12:34 pm

    Kiki magazine looks awesome! If I ever have a girl, I will make sure to fill her life with periodicals like that.

    When I was a little kid…like maybe 7 or 8, I was big on the teen heartthrob magazines like “BOP”…but mainly just for pictures of the New Kids on the Block…my room needed wallpaper! 😉

    When I got a little older, my mom subscribed to Seventeen for me, without me asking her to. I think she was very concerned with my lack of interest in “typical” teenaged girl subjects…fashion…dating…appearance. Truth is, I wasn’t apathetic about those topics at all…I just felt uncomfortable in my skin. I didn’t think I deserved to think about stuff like that. Plus, the perfect body image thing really hurt given how far I was from that ideal. My mom was just trying to nudge me into womanhood…but it didn’t quite work. I read the magazine, but didn’t really get into it.

    I did read one kind of fun kid magazine when I was a kid. My cousins gave me a subscription to “Zillions” magazine for Christmas one year. It was kind of like a kids version of “Consumer Reports” and it reviewed toys and products relevant to kids’ lives…talked about money saving strategies and I remember it just being really fun. I looked forward to the issues arriving in the mail…addressed to me! Added bonus! I loved getting mail! 😉

    P.S. Blossom!! OMG. I miss the 90s too!

  • Katie March 2, 2011, 12:35 pm

    I’ve never heard of Sassy, but American Girl was the JAM! They always had the coolest Halloween costume ideas!

  • Lisa March 2, 2011, 12:38 pm

    It sounds like Kiki is a step in the right direction for young women but I find most mainstream magazines even for adult women to have really problematic content. Magazines like Self and Shape particularly, focus much more on weight loss and diet foods than on health. I’m not saying that it isn’t okay to read these magazines for training tips but they should be viewed much more critically than they typically are.

  • chelsey @ clean eating chelsey March 2, 2011, 12:45 pm

    That is an awesome magazine! When I was little, I used to subscribe to a teenage Christian magazine and when I was much younger, the American Girl Magazine.

  • Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table March 2, 2011, 12:51 pm

    OMG – its BLOSSOM!!! I used to love that show.

    I would have loved something like this in school. When I hit high school I read Ms. and Bitch, but that 11-13 gap was brutal when I thought I had to look “90210.”

    • anne March 2, 2011, 5:22 pm

      Hooray for Bitch and Ms. !
      Bitch is based in Portland (where I live) and I actually work down the street from their office. The women who work there are amazing and so smart. More people need to subscribe!
      I started reading when I was 15 or 16

  • McKella March 2, 2011, 12:59 pm

    I loved American Girl magazine! It had a few fashion tips, but mostly it was short stories (many written by readers my age) crafts, party planning, spotlights on extraordinary girls, life tips, and opinion polls on topics like vegetarianism and ambitions. It’s a great magazine and a great company. I still have my Samantha doll too.

  • Paige (Running Around Normal) March 2, 2011, 1:11 pm

    Ahh, if only Kiki could be sold in the mainstream media! What a great sounding magazine 🙂

  • kristen March 2, 2011, 1:33 pm

    It really is amazing what these magazine consist of. I also couldnt believe that 17 is the age of someone reading cosmo.

  • Laura March 2, 2011, 1:48 pm

    I love the idea of that magazine, but the styling of it looks really ’80s to me! I think it would do better with a more modern design.

    Operation Beautiful Magazine, maybe? 🙂

  • Lynne March 2, 2011, 1:55 pm

    The Sassy magazine cover at least wasn’t photoshopped or they would have given her open eyes! 😉

    I love the idea of Kiki magazine but wish there were something skewed toward a little older demographic for my 15 year old.

  • Mary @ Bites and Bliss March 2, 2011, 2:01 pm

    While I’ll admit to being a fan of Seventeen (until I was actually 17), that KiKi magazine is such a wonderful thing! Good for them for actually writing a magazine that helps with self confidence and doesnt focus on boys and being stcik thin.

  • Cindy March 2, 2011, 2:11 pm

    Sassy was the best magazine EVER!

  • Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife March 2, 2011, 2:23 pm

    What a great idea- I’ll have to check Kiki out 🙂

  • Lisa March 2, 2011, 2:27 pm

    Hi Caitlin,

    I noticed on today’s blog that you mentioned some teen magazines that are actually good for teen readers and I thought I would share another. I worked for a Teen Magazine in Boston called Teen Voices. Here’s a little snippet about it:

    It’s a truly inspirational and amazing place and the results is an even more amazing magazine that is distributed nationally! I’ve even told my former boss about you and the empowerment you bring to such a program! You and Teen Voices should totally connect!

    Sorry for the long comment 🙂

  • Lisa March 2, 2011, 2:27 pm

    Hi Caitlin,

    I noticed on today’s blog that you mentioned some teen magazines that are actually good for teen readers and I thought I would share another. I worked for a Teen Magazine in Boston called Teen Voices. Here’s a little snippet about it:

    It’s a truly inspirational and amazing place and the results is an even more amazing magazine that is distributed nationally! I’ve even told my former boss about you and the empowerment you bring to such a program! You and Teen Voices should totally connect!

    Sorry for the long comment 🙂

  • Dorien March 2, 2011, 2:42 pm

    Haha, I am Belgian but I’d probably benefit from reading that article on Brussels! I remember reading mostly trashy magazines when I was younger, and I believe they can be a poison to (young) girls’ minds! Kiki seems like an awesome magazine, and there definitely is a need for something like this for older girls too!

  • Dee March 2, 2011, 2:54 pm

    GREAT find, thanks for sharing and summarizing. I know some little girls (my cousin’s twin tweens) I am about to get subscribed to this!

  • Kiki March 2, 2011, 3:49 pm

    OMG, my name is Kiki – sorry I found this so funny 🙂

  • Meredith March 2, 2011, 3:54 pm

    my mom seriously would not let me read seventeen magazine until i actually turned 17! meanwhile all the other 6th grade girls were reading it.
    do you remember jump magazine? that was one i really liked. i wish it was still around.

  • Veronica March 2, 2011, 3:55 pm

    My favorite magazine is Prevention. (I’m 25 by the way!) My mom has been a subscriber since I was 8 and I’ve been reading it for that long. Yes, its aimed primarily at the 40+ crowd, but thats where the good stuff is! At that age, they’ve moved beyond “How to have a tight butt” to “How to live longer and prevent cancer.”

    Most teen magazines direct a girl’s focus only as far as Friday night. They emphasize getting the right hair, getting a date, losing weight, all in the short term. Prevention gets you thinking 20 years down the line. It makes you think about how what you do to/for yourself today, will directly affect your life in the long term. Its a concept many young people NEED to understand.

  • Jen March 2, 2011, 5:03 pm

    OMG, I totally remember actually having that issue with Blossom on the cover! Crazy. Sassy was a great magazine.

  • Allison K March 2, 2011, 5:25 pm

    I wish I had time to read all of the comment! a few things.
    OMG. I loved SASSY! and I don’t think there is any way in our Post 9-11 world that a magazing would get away with doing that with an American flag now.
    I had subscriptions to Teen and YM!

    • Jen March 2, 2011, 6:27 pm

      YM! I knew there was another girly teen mag that I read but I couldn’t think of the name of it. In hindsight, Sassy was definitely more “pro-girl” – YM was where I went to learn how to apply makeup and stuff…Sassy was where I went to learn how to be a grrrrl 😉

  • Gabrielle @ InAnEnvelope March 2, 2011, 5:54 pm

    When I was in college (5 years ago) I did a methods report on magazine’s influence on teenage girls. Part of the research I included was the amount of blond girls on the cover of Seventeen. In one full year (12 issues), 10 issues had a blond cover girl. 1 was brunette and 1 was African-American (Alicia Keys, and if you didn’t know better, she just looked like a white girl with a tan). Not saying that being blond is bad … but they were definitely pushing a certain “look” to appeal to teenage readers.

  • amber March 2, 2011, 7:26 pm

    Being an expert on the subject of magazines and teenage girls, I can honestly say that Kiki Magazine is not for me. The idea is excellent, and I completely agree with all of the points you made about having substance etc, but the point of magazines is to take you away from you normal worries, and let you have a little fun (same thing with chick lit). Kiki just didn’t cut it, and seemed meant for 11 year olds. Seventeen offers good advice, and any smart girl would realize the pictures and some advice articles can be pretty unrealistic. The fashion ideas, makeup fixes, and other things are highly superior to Kiki, which is not a very fun magazine to read. its sort of the anti-magazine. That said, I still agree with your case for Kiki, but I feel like it too is a bit unrealistic.

    • Caitlin March 2, 2011, 8:39 pm

      It is for 11 year old girls 🙂 What magazines do you like?

      • amber March 2, 2011, 8:51 pm

        Good point, Caitlin! 🙂 As much as I hate to say it, Seventeen is fun to read. I wish they had a more substantial mag, but for older girls! *sigh…guess I’ll just stick to my Seventeen and try not to feel like a hypocrite .

        • Caitlin March 2, 2011, 8:55 pm

          Nothing wrong with fun magazines and Seventeen magazine is fun for a lot of stuff! Just don’t let all those messages about one definition of beauty and relationships 🙂

  • Hallie March 2, 2011, 7:31 pm

    I was all about the American Girl magazine! But I was also all over the AG books and I had the dolls, the whole thing. The magazine I read until I was way past their demographic. Like, 15? but like I said to another commenter I also read YM until I was like, 20.

  • erin March 2, 2011, 7:43 pm

    This reminded me-I wanted to tell you-after 10+ years as a subscriber to Marie Claire-I am not renewing after what happened with your article- just left me with a bad feeling..I’ll have to search out a more honest mag to read..or perhaps I should pick up a book instead! Kiki looks awesome!-can’t wait to read it with my daughter someday!

    • Caitlin March 2, 2011, 8:48 pm

      Thank you so much! 🙂 I appreciate this.

  • Cate March 2, 2011, 7:46 pm

    Loved Sassy. I was an original subscriber back in the 1980s, and I was saddened when it stopped publishing. That was a great magazine for older teens as well.

    Thanks for the info about Kiki. I send New Moon to my niece, but it’s good to have another option as well.

  • Cristina March 2, 2011, 8:39 pm

    I loved Sassy too! But yes, by college I had definitely moved on to Cosmo, which I can’t read anymore (at 28).

  • Briana March 2, 2011, 9:04 pm

    Thank you for writing this post, Caitlin. I really enjoyed reading this and I think you make such a good point.

    My parents subscribed to “Highlights for Kids” for me when I was kid… and I’m so thankful they did!

  • Megan G March 2, 2011, 9:11 pm

    Ah, I wish I had known about Kiki magazine when I was younger, it looks so cute! I was reading the American Girl and Discovery Girl magazines when I was 11-13, NOT Seventeen. The Discovery Girl magazine has real girls on its cover too (they feature a different state each month). I can’t believe girls that young read Seventeen! I still read it now and I’m 18 – I think they market it to girls in the 14-22 age range. Hmm.

    As I side note, I was looking at the subscription page for Kiki magazine (I have a younger sister who’d love that magazine) and the subscription price is $26 for 4 issues/year…wowza.


    • Megan G March 2, 2011, 9:12 pm

      *As a side note

      Sorry, I hate spelling/grammar mistakes…

  • Shelley March 2, 2011, 9:29 pm

    What a great magazine! I wish there was something like that when I was younger, in hindsight I wasted so much time and money on magazines that didn’t help me whatsoever!

  • Christina March 2, 2011, 10:19 pm

    SASSY!!!! Loved it.

  • Kayla March 2, 2011, 10:20 pm

    I used to love Jump too. I had a lot of copies of it and finally got rid of them when we moved – I kind of regret that now. I read Seventeen and YM at like 12 and like you said I was on to Glamour/Cosmo by 16/17.
    It is too bad that kids/pre-teens/etc can’t just be happy how they are or give them information as if they had a brain (like a news story).

  • Baroque Diva March 3, 2011, 1:13 am

    Although YM and Seventeen usually left me feeling fat and wishing I looked like all the models, I LOVED reading the “Embarrassing Moments” page in each issue! Sooooooo funny! Anyone remember those?

    Nowadays all I read is Vanity Fair. I guess I’ve come a long way… 😉

    Thanks for the head’s up on Kikki, Caitlin! I will recommend it to students.

  • Jolene ( March 3, 2011, 9:01 am

    Sassy was my favourite “teen magazine” and I was so sad when it went out of print. As I got older I started to read Jane, but then that went out of print too … booooo!

  • Rachel S March 3, 2011, 12:51 pm

    I read American Girl during my preteen years and loved it! It had a great variety of articles and how-to’s. Plus a great advice section in the back I remember! After that I started reading Teen magazine and Seventeen, but like many others have said, Seventeen was always something I read in private because I was too embarrassed for my family to see all the things it said on the cover!

  • Laurie March 3, 2011, 9:35 pm

    I loved Sassy. Sari gets American Girl and reads it cover to cover the second it gets here. I am going to get her Kiki now, thanks for the tip.

  • Alina March 4, 2011, 8:55 pm

    Girl’s Life is also amazing for something of a good quality you can pick up at a drug store, though I wish they used real girl models like Kiki does! There’s also a Canadian magazine for mid aged teens called Girl Works, and it has a lot of the stuff Kiki does, but for older teens, plus my parents totally approve. Cool!

  • Alina March 4, 2011, 8:55 pm

    Girl’s Life is also amazing for something of a good quality you can pick up at a drug store, though I wish they used real girl models like Kiki does! There’s also a Canadian magazine for mid aged teens called Girl Works, and it has a lot of the stuff Kiki does, but for older teens, plus my parents totally approve. Cool!

  • Kathy @ newlywedindc March 6, 2011, 3:29 pm

    I loved Sassy! I was so sad when it was cancelled. It was later reincarnated as Jane, which was also pretty good…but then that got cancelled. Boo. I like Body + Soul now (wait, I think they just changed the name to Whole Living), and that seems like something you might like; do you ever read it? It’s part of the Martha Stewart family of products.

  • Katie @ PEACEBEME March 15, 2011, 7:48 pm

    Just reading this post because of your new post referencing it today, but wanted to say that I am happy there ARE positives magazines out there for girls. And totally agree with you about 17 year-olds really reading Cosmo. I know I read 17 when I was 14 and then stopped!

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