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New girls' mag Kookie promotes an unpalatable message - you can't be intelligent and enjoy frivolous things

A brand new girls' magazine is being launched at the end of the year and there won't be any fashion, beauty or celebrity pages. Neither will there be any ads.

Kookie has been launched by mum Vivien Jones who said she was unable to find a single magazine suitable for her own teenage girls to read. The 50-year-old, who has worked in magazine publishing herself, believes magazines aimed at girls have too narrow a focus. They are too driven by celebrity, shopping and gossip and come accompanied by 'pink plastic tat'.

As a result she decided to embark on launching her own magazine, aimed at promoting a girl's self worth. Kookie will be available quarterly from December and will kick off with an interview with Darcey Bussell and an illustrated feature about the record-breaking aviator Amy Johnson.

There is undoubtedly a problem with the magazines currently aimed at teenage girls, but I feel Kookie goes too far the other way. The very point of a magazine is to provide a piece of glossy escapism, so what is needed is not a magazine which completely bypasses all frivolity but combines a measured amount of fashion and beauty with some more thoughtful, inspirational content.

Kookie's decision to interview Darcey Bussell is exactly right. Teenage magazines, and indeed adult ones, would do far better in choosing to feature famous people who have become celebrities on the back of their achievements rather than simply appearing on a reality show. Girls' magazines are simply holding up a miniature mirror to the issue of celebrity for celebrity's sake, which has dumbed down our culture for far too long.

Where Kookie, in my opinion, is wrong is in completely ignoring girls' wishes to read about fashion, beauty and relationships as it is a natural part of growing up and finding out where you belong.

Of course an unhealthy obsession with how one looks should not be promoted by any magazine. It is all about how the information is presented. Completely leaving any discussion of these topics out would be just as perplexing. For some girls this will be their only source of information and they will simply look elsewhere, such as the internet, where there is no regulation of content.

The message girls should be getting about fashion and beauty is that it is a bit of fun – it feeds into self-expression and dressing up - but it should not completely rule your world. Then there is the instructional side which all girls need, even if it comes down to a step-by-step skincare routine, especially for teenagers. Help them look after their skin and their confidence levels will increase and they won't feel the need to trowel on the make-up.

And I do take issue with this idea that you cannot be an intelligent, deep-thinking individual and like fashion and beauty at the same time. Does the fact Claudia Winkleman writes a style column for The Times each Sunday make her any the less witty and sharp? Does the fact broadsheet journalists such as Sali Hughes and India Knight write about beauty mean we should dismiss their equally well-written articles on politics?

Kookie has very good intentions. It wants to raise girls up from the mire of celebrity drivel and open up their minds to greater things but this shouldn't be done to the complete exclusion of 'pink plastic tat'.

And to be honest, what I can't quite understand is why Ms Jones didn't encourage her teenage daughters to read more books instead.


  1. IMO, like most things in life, getting the balance is the best approach. My girls love following celebrities, beauty products, shopping (especially in charity shops) but they also read books and watch nature programmes...


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