What if Women's Magazines Could Catalyze a Social Movement?
I remember standing in the Seattle airport, overwhelmed by a gigantic wall of women's magazines—all the same format, all electric colors, cluttered headlines, and one overarching message: YOU, woman, are not good enough.
This is the reality that my dear friend Kelli Redfield and I would have debates about right after college. We held the modern mold of "woman" up to the light and asked: is she who we really desire to be? Or is she tired, insecure, picked apart, stretched thin, Photoshopped away?
With all of our feminist "freedom," we still felt very much pressured by society and media through unattainable expectations to be very thin (but not too thin), be very sexy (but not slutty, of course), to pursue pleasure (but not be selfish), to be ambitious (but not aggressive), be as soft as a woman, (yet as tough as a man), sensitive (but not weak) … and so on. We were absorbing the toxic mixed messages while trying to stay afloat with positive body image and confidence. On top of this, we both were dealing with anxiety, depression, failed relationships, insecurity, etc. and knew we lacked healthy guidance and a voice of wisdom in our lives.
So we started talking … dreaming … talking—over months of coffee amongst ourselves and with friends about a new magazine for women, one that was more than a glossy face but rather a social movement; one that…
- Refuted the idea that "ordinary" women are always in need of adjustment, and that the female body is an object to be perfected.
- Didn't use Photoshop or present a barrage of messages about thinness and dieting.
- Fully represented all sizes, shapes and types of women.
- Gave tangible advice and valued character and a woman’s ability for influence locally and globally.
- Didn’t value celebrity gossip and overspending, but instead, meaningful conversation and generosity.
- Said women are more than their sexuality.
- Was always uplifting, always encouraging, speaking truth through love and correcting with gentleness.
- Called women to the same team and prompted them to drop out of the "competition" and embrace their true selves.
Above all, we wanted to use the same vehicle causing so much damage to change the landscape of media for good.
This is where Darling Magazine was born.
Since its inception, Darling has been spreading like wildfire, and we aren't stopping here.
Our ultimate goal?
For all women to feel beautiful in their own skin and worthy just as they are. To keep putting out an encouraging publication, but also expand into conferences for women (our first one happening June 2014!), curriculum for high schools, intentional dinners, short films and other resources to expand this message.
Darling is a social outcry for reform in our hearts, on our TV screens, in glossy pages, and in our face-to-face interactions. It’s a call for a revolution of renaissance—the art of being a woman. We believe in the power of the feminine spirit to evoke change in the world, and it starts with you and me.
Multiethnic group of women standing together image via Shutterstock