What is the correct response when one sees sexism? For many these days the reaction is to snap a picture and send an enraged tweet, hoping it will go viral. Others start petitions, or lobby the company responsible. My response was different. I thought, ‘Well, this is crap. I could do better than this’, and so I did.
I was fed up of the gendered comics and magazines for kids, uninspired by the websites available, so I created something new and different. A website that is fun and inspiring, and doesn’t rely on advertising or tie-ins with TV programmes. I am not just blowing my own trumpet here, but conducting an orchestra of amazing writers and illustrators.
What Makes Me Proud?
I am proud that Continental Tyres trusted a fledgling website, and enabled a young aspiring journalist to go to St George’s Park and report from U17 UEFA Championships. Ailsa Cowen is the next Clare Balding – you heard it here first!
I am proud to have received comments like this and to have facilitated discussions on being a vegetarian, wearing make-up and school uniform, good teachers and bad teachers, about having a sister, who just happens to have Down Syndrome, and on being a bookworm… and much more. I love that we have readers all over the world, from many different backgrounds.
I am proud that around a third of our content is created by young people – do check out our Written By You section to see what kids really think about the labels they are given, rewards and punishments, being home-educated, bilingual, and recognising the truth about photoshop.
Someone asked me recently about visiting our ‘offices’ and it make me laugh. We don’t have offices. I don’t even have An Office. I work from a desk in my bedroom, in a small 3 bedroom house in Scotland. Not quite a garage in Los Altos, but certainly far from a publishing empire!
I don’t have a budget for advertising, and getting publicity for the Kickstarter is proving harder than anticipated. All I can do is try to show people the vision I have for Jump! Mag, and hope that they find it worthy of investing in it.
To run Jump! Mag as a business, I need just over 1000 subscribers. This will pay for the writers, and for a couple of part-time staff to help with editing articles, and manning social media accounts. That is without me taking a salary for the first year. Would be nice if I could pay myself too! To get started, I need to redesign the website, and to fill it with great content for the first 6 months.
What Do I Want?
I want Jump! Mag to be a website that kids use because it is fun. A positive and optimistic place where they can be inspired, where they can go beyond societal and geographical borders. Where they can connect with girls and boys around the world.
I want Jump! Mag to provide opportunities for young people to be recognised and celebrated.
I want Jump! Mag to be a place where writers and artists can publish their work. I want to feature weekly (eventually daily) comics. I want to be able to pay people for their work – I don’t expect my plumber to replace my bathroom for the experience and exposure. Why do we expect creatives to work for free?
I want Jump! Mag to look a bit like Mashable - rather than the current blog style. It should be glossy and modern, and be constantly updated with new articles.
I want Jump! Mag to feature strong women, and capable and caring men. To go beyond stereotypes, to throw out pink is for girls and blue is for boys.
I want Jump! Mag to inspire girls and boys to look up at the stars. The galaxies, not the fake role model celebrities.
I want to provide real role models. Scientists and adventurers, nurses and engineers, inventors and teachers.
I want to celebrate science and engineering, maths and tech.
I want Jump! Mag to be the place where kids discover the world around them, and where they can hang out and watch funny cat videos, or the latest Minecraft Let’s Play.
My mother always said, ‘I want doesn’t get’, but sometimes women do have to LEAN IN and BE BOSSY!
How Can You Help?
We launched a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign two weeks ago. The idea behind this is that you pre-purchase a subscription, which gives us the money to develop the site.
If you don’t have a young person who would use the site, you can simply donate without reward, or you can gift the subscription – eg. to a women’s refuge or youth group.
Lots of people have said that they love the site, we have a couple of thousand supporters on Social Media. I know that times are tough right now, and not everyone can afford to buy a yearly subscription (although we do have an amazing Early Bird deal where you can get a yearly subscription for a very small price!).
Sharing our Kickstarter with your friends helps. Talking to others about this cool digital magazine helps. Passing on this message helps.
As I said, I don’t have money to spend on advertising, or on the dozens of ‘Kickstarter Helpers’ who’ve emailed and assured success of the campaign for a fee. If everyone who reads this shares it with a couple of friends, we can reach many more than I can afford to reach via advertising.
This is the last-ditch effort. If this doesn’t work to raise some interest, I can’t see the Kickstarter reaching the target of £25k. Thank you to all my supporters over the past few years. You are awesome. Thanks also to the amazing Louie Stowell for the cracking headline to this blog post, and for giving me the inspiration and courage to lay my heart on the line and write this.
Click on the Kickstarter link below to find out more, to prepurchase a subscription, or to donate to our project.