Monday, August 15, 2005

"Muffin tops" distasteful, some say

Kim Ode reported on the rise of "muffin top"--a new term for the flesh that sometimes rolls over the waistband of girls' low-rise jeans--in the Minneapolis Star Tribune this weekend. Kate Freeborn, New Moon's managing editor, gave Kim her take on the term. Here's an excerpt:

The term was new to [Kate], but its intent all too familiar. "Anything that compartmentalizes girls and labels them according to body parts is negative," she said. "Again, we're not looking at the whole girl, but her legs, her butt, and now her muffin top."

Actually, she added, a little roundness is a sign of good health.

"These are girls whose hormones are working, whose bodies are changing in all kinds of ways," she said. "They should have a little stomach out there. It means their bodies are doing what they're supposed to be doing.

"But fashions can be unkind. My sense of what I hear from the girls is that they are not thrilled with the fact that they don't have a lot of options."

What's your reaction to the term, and the trend?

Being 13: Keeping that playful spirit

Clare, 13, of New Moon's Girls Editorial Board, thinks being 13 is "fabulous":

"It's a point where you've almost left childhood, but not quite, and you get to look at being adult up close while still being able to play and have fun and generally act like a 7-year-old without being too shunned. The fact that New Moon is turning 13 reminds me of that. It's as if we've grown up enough to be a widely-known and respected magazine, but still keep that playful spirit we had starting out."

Friday, August 12, 2005

Being 13: "I wasn't alone."

Nicole, 13, from Virginia, on how New Moon helped her at 13:

“I have been getting New Moon for only the past year but reading the magazine has helped me a lot . When I turned 13 I thought that I was going to be, well … powerful. Turning 13 didn’t feel any different than turning 10 or 11, but what I did feel was older, more mature. … I used to bury myself in books to escape reality, but your magazine helped me to open up and see that I wasn’t alone.

“My favorite departments of the magazine are “Dear Luna” and “Draw Luna.” They really take you inside the different girls’ minds. Seeing what they see. Feeling what they feel. New Moon was really a place for me to express myself. It has also helped me to get closer to my mom and now we can talk about everything, and I do mean everything.”

Being 13: Surviving "the pit of doom"

From 13-year-old Emily of Maryland, who is about to turn 14:

“When I turned 13, it was considered, by me, to be the entrance into *the pit of doom* (a.k.a. the ‘journey’ that is involved in being a teenager). I found myself in a place where I most desperately wanted to be taken seriously, but no one would. … There's definitely good stuff about it, too! It felt almost as though, while I could still be a kid at those special moments when I really needed it, I could also be more independent. The key to surviving this age, I think, is to be persistent! In order to get people to take you seriously, you have to let them get to know you.

“I find that New Moon has a very, very good grip on what it feels like to be a teenager (or kid). I think that probably has a lot to do with the fact that they work so well with the kids who are regular contributors to the magazine. Kids aren’t afraid to send stuff and to contribute.

“I love ‘Draw Luna’ simply because when you look at the drawings there, you can see so clearly how girls picture themselves and the world around them. … The only thing I’d like to see more of in New Moon is political discussion. Instead of just showing people who are doing peace protests, show them, and give a little about the other side.”

Thursday, August 11, 2005

What's it like to be 13?

New Moon turns 13 in September! As TIME magazine reported in "Being 13" last week, "teens are growing up in a culture that sexualizes children and immerses them in adult images." New Moon magazine, edited by and for girls ages 8-14, is different. Instead of publishing adult-created content, New Moon brings girls' experiences, knowledge and understanding forward.

In honor of New Moon's 13th birthday, I asked some of our 13-year-old friends what it's like to be 13 and why they read New Moon. Here's what Siri, a New Moon reader and Girls Advisory Board member, had to say:

"Being 13 is pretty much like being any other age, except that I think 13 is the age where you grow the most as a person. Being 13 also means having more responsibility and being trusted more than someone who's younger.

"Other magazines that girls my age read have fashion and boy advice, and tips about how to make your body look good, and what foods are best to eat. New Moon, on the other hand, tells girls that they are beautiful for being themselves. Girls should feel comfortable in their own skin even if they don't know the difference between Dior and Manolo Blahtnik. New Moon gives girls an opportunity to say what they think, and I think that is very important. If girls are continually given the opportunity to speak their minds, they'll develop their own character and will know how to be their own person. If girls are continually told what to think, like they do in other magazines, then girls will end up acting all the same, and they might have trouble thinking for themselves in the future."