"Don't give up, stay strong, be yourself and fight for your rights." - Wesley Pfleeger, 10

A couple weeks back I was introduced to Bright Lite -- a for pre-teen girls by pre-teen girls magazine, based in Los Angeles that features editorial penned by girls aged 8-12 directed at girls aged 8-12. My friend's daughter has contributed to past issues and she thought I might be interested in writing about Bright Lite/attending an editorial meeting with Fable re: possibly contributing. (We unfortunately were unable to make the last meeting but will be at the next one. Fable even has her list of pitches ready to go, which is JUST THE BEST.) Anyway, I am so excited by what Bright Lite is doing -- giving girls around the world  a voice and a platform, and  I am honored today to share an interview I did with two of the young ladies behind Bright Lite magazine.

Internet, meet Stella Bonstin (11) and Wesley Pfleeger (10). Wesley is the art director of Bright Lite magazine and Stella is a contributor. 

GGC: Can you tell me a little bit of backstory? What inspired Bright Lite? And how did you come together to make it happen?

W​: Well, the inspiration for Bright Lite came from my mom. She wanted to help me with some insecurities I was having, so her and her friend Ami made Bright Lite happen... We made Bright Lite as a place for girls all over the world to come together and put their art out there in the world and to be able to express themselves and connect with each other.

unnamed Stella (left) and Wesley (right)

GGC: How does it feel to see your work -- and the work of other girls your age -- in print?

It's really exciting every time a magazine comes out because it's so interesting to see everyone else's work. Even your own work looks really cool and it feels exciting.

W​: It makes me really proud to know that girls really worked hard and tried their hardest to put work into Bright Lite. It makes me feel so happy and I love it when I see the magazine all laid out with all the work of different girls from all around the world. I'm very happy we can all share it and know that everyone tried really hard to put their work into the magazine.

GGC: What are some of the most important issues facing young girls today? 

S:​ Women's rights!

W​: Yeah, women's rights definitely! 

S:​ Also, some girls might feel insecure in their bodies and seeing models and celebrities, they might feel insecure. That's why Bright Lite is so special because it's not like other magazines where they are focusing on beauty. 

W​: Yeah! Like fashion magazines are always about fashion and perfection, and Bright Lite is more about expressing yourself and is a place where you don't need to be all perfect.

bright_lite_poems bright_lite_interview
GGC:  How are you working together to make positive change within your community and beyond? 

W​: We are trying to do more workshops with girls that maybe don't have as much access to the arts. We want to make more places and opportunities for girls to connect and feel comfortable. We are trying to do stuff with the libraries in LA and I’m excited about that.

S:​ I feel like Bright Lite is really good for the community cause girls can really express themselves (here). 

W​: We are really trying to make our own community where girls can come together in a safe space and express themselves.

GGC: Self expression can be a revolutionary act -- with that in mind, what acts of self-expression have helped YOU redefine who you are? What acts of self-expression have inspired you?

S:​ Dying my eyebrow was fun and I felt like it showed ME... and I could be creative and it was weird and, yeah, people were a little bit judgmental but it doesn't matter cause it was what I wanted to do...

W​: Well, I really liked it when I dyed my hair and I dyed my hair because I really wanted to be creative and I liked that it really showed how I felt. I think dancing is my true form of self expression.

S:​ Also for me, art. If I'm in a bad mood i'll draw something that I feel can express my feelings.

W​: I mostly express myself through art or dance. If I’m feeling happy I draw something beautiful and creative, and if I’m feeling happy, I dance my best and I do well...

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GGC: For parents of young girls who may be interested in submitting their work, can you give me a run-down of what it is you guys are looking for? And where future contributors can go to submit their work? Is there an age requirement?

W​: We are looking for everything...photography, art, music, poems. To us, we want to see how you express yourself... 

S:​  There is a recommended age, which is about 8-14, but it's really more about the content. It has to be appropriate for 8-10 year olds. If you're a 16 year old and you want to contribute, feel free, but younger girls are going to read it, so keep that in mind. And if you're younger than 7, maybe you can get someone to help you with your submission like a friend or an older sister.

GGC: What is your advice for other girls looking to start their own magazine?

W​: Work hard! Do your best and always pay attention to what you're doing. You need to be very efficient and you really need to try your hardest. You need a lot of help and a lot of people and a lot of support. Know that it's very hard and it will probably take over a lot of your life. It's always worth it in the end, but a lot of it will feel like homework.

S:​ Doesn't everything feel like homework!?

GGC: If you could give advice to the world right now -- specifically young women and girls in the United States, what would that advice be?

W​: Don't give up, stay strong, be yourself and fight for your rights.

S:​ Stay strong and do what you can to help others. Because if you're just watching things happen, then you're not helping... and those things that you might be watching won't ever get solved if you don't do something and take action.

GGC: Any last thoughts/words of encouragement? 

W​: Well, I think that Bright Lite is a very good example of girls helping each other to express themselves. I really think that it will help the world in many ways. Especially for young girls to help (us) stay strong and for (girls) to know there will always be hope for them, no matter what. Girls should always be strong about what they want and do what they want to do. We should never back down from something, whether it's someone that is being mean, or something we are being teased about, we should always be strong and do our best.

S:​ Just realize that everyone is fighting their own battles... try to stay strong and be kind to people.

For more about Bright Lite, check out their website here. Click here for info on how young girls in your home/school/community can submit an article/poem/story/journal entry/list/anything that feels important to them. You can also follow Bright Lite on Instagram. And read this piece about Bright Lite in BUST magazine. Oh! And here's a lovely interview Wesley did with Girls at the Library -- a fantastic site about the love of reading. WHO RUN THE WORLD? Indeed.  
e224a0c002d2371ac77f7fdf3f663070_original Keep rising, warrior sisters! We are with you!

Eight Nostalgic Gifts for Eight Nostalgic Nights (Benefiting IntraHealth)

A few years back my dear friend, Maggie started making Advent Grab Bags for her readers, donating portions of the profits to charity...
...This year, in addition to making Advent Grab Bags, Maggie has also put together "Hooray for Hanukkah" Gift Bags -- a one-stop shop for Hanukkah gifting that includes nostalgic favorites like... 
IMG_2585 IMG_2594
IMG_2590 Gift bags also include a DIY mezuzah kit...
IMG_2587 ... and a superhero cape.
IMG_2586(something we all could use right now.)  IMG_2597
Hooray for Hanukkah! gift bags are for sale, here, as well as advent kits and stocking stuffers 20% of proceeds go to IntraHealth, which trains nurses for underserved communities worldwide.


I have (1) Hooray for Hanukkah! Gift bag available for giveaway. To win, comment with your favorite childhood Hanukkah memory. I'll pick one commenter at random next Monday, November 28th.
With love...

"...Fear makes a false friend indeed..."

IMG_2286 "Formation" by A'Driane Nieves

Dear friends. If you aren't already following A'Driane Nieves, you should absolutely do so now. The above painting stopped me in my tracks and her words are just as striking and important. She recently launched Create Resistance Collaborative, a collaborative of WOC multidisciplinary artists creating and utilizing art for advocacy, protest and social change which you can follow, here. Addye's artwork is available for sale, here and she also has a newsletter

And speaking of Instagram, for which I am more grateful than ever because ART IS HUMANITY'S CONNECTIVE TISSUE, I was DM'd the following video which has served as a salve as much as it's pissed me off, which I think is kind of the point right now. We need to get angry. We need to cry.  We need to sing. We need to listen...

Am I angry?
You ask am I angry?
And I'm at a loss for words..."


Thank you, Sara Bareilles and Leslie Odem Jr. And thank you, Alicia for sharing it with me.

This song is currently available for free download, here.


I also wanted to share this incredible (and hopeful!) must-read piece by Baratunde Thurston. If you haven't yet read it, please do. And if you've already read it, read it again. 

Let's keep doing.
And doing.
And doing...

Last week we mourned. This week we get to work.

via Feminist Fight Club

Good afternoon, friends. The last six days have been a bit of a blur for many of us and while I'm still very much in mourning, I've spent the better part of the last week trying to focus on what I can control and how I can be better and more vigilant at fighting forward. I've also been coming to terms with my shock and naiveté.

I am sorry that it has taken THIS for me to TRULY wake up to how deep the racism, xenophobia and misogyny TRULY is in this country. But I am also glad to know I can find it in myself to be more outspoken than ever before and I hope you will join me. I hope there are those of you who have been reluctant to resist until now and I hope you will join me and millions of others as we work together to fight forward. 

I have had more conversations with friends and strangers in the past week than I ever have before and I will continue to face those who oppose me and what I stand for, head on. I will continue to "unite with my country" in ways that I feel TRULY UNITE us -- by standing up, by saying NO, by refusing to normalize a Trump presidency and all that in entails

A photo posted by Rebecca Woolf (@girlsgonechild) on

As a white woman, I will be listening, now more than ever, to the voices of people of color, specifically women who were united in their opposition of a Trump presidency more than any other constituency -- all of whom have the most to lose under this administration.

As a parent, I will be looking for stories I can tell and ways I can participate in dissent on behalf of my children's future. I will be making more phone calls to my representatives, participating in local politics and continuing to elevate youth voices in any way I can.

I realize that a Trump in office means I have to be even more vigilant when it comes to my opposition of rape culture and toxic masculinity. I also realize that standing up and fighting back is not exactly "brand safe," and for those who continue to threaten me with your readership, please know that my intent with this website was never to grow my audience so much as it was to build an inclusive community of women who support one another. That hasn't changed. If you would like to stay and participate in advancing the conversation, fantastic, but I will be very cautious from here on out in order to protect this space and those who participate in conversations here. Thank you for understanding.

Although Girls Gone Child will continue to represent who I am as a mother, I also want to focus on other women and their stories -- women of all races and cultures and religions who have very different stories and experiences than I do. Women who are first generation Americans, immigrants, refugees, storytellers, artists -- women artists, writers, small business-owners who I can promote here on GGC and beyond. (Please contact me at rebeccawoolf@gmail.com for more.) 

This election has caused me to reevaluate my place in this country and it has caused me to redefine who I am as an American as well as a content creator. I know I have work to do and I hope you will join me in normalizing dissent, standing strong, and fighting the good fight for the good of our country and each other. 

With that in mind, here are things you and I can do today:

1. Set up monthly donations with the ACLU and Planned Parenthood.  

I also urge you to support environmental organizations including The Sierra Club and Earthjustice. We also must now, more than ever, support NODAPL. (ED: Yesterday, I looked to Facebook for advice on which environmental agencies are most important to support. You can click here to see all of the responses.)

2. Find out who your congressperson is and get in the habit of making calls.

You can start by calling your congressperson to demand that Stephen Bannon, an anti-Semitic white nationalist has no business in the White House. (You can also sign this petition via the Southern Poverty Law Center.)

For those looking for a script to make phone calls easier, this one by Gen Mueller is fantastic. 


You can also make signs at home and host your own peaceful protest(s) with your families. We had friends (old and new) over last Friday and it felt really good to create dissent and spread love as a community. It also felt important to do so with our children. They will, after all, grow up under this administration and I feel it is paramount to include them in our conversations and action.
2016 (8 of 28)
2016 (9 of 28)
   photos by: Valeri Estrada (thank you, Valeri) 
2016 (17 of 28)
4. Recognize that our work online is important but change can only be made if we logoff and get involved ON THE GROUND.

Get to know your government at a local level and make it a priority to show up to town hall meetings. Get involved in local non-profits that utilize your strengths.


Over the next few weeks -- with the holidays fast approaching -- and the media normalizing Trump's win -- it's going to be VERY EASY to accept our current status quo. Surround yourself with people who won't let you. NORMALIZATION WILL NOT and CANNOT STAND.


In times of upheaval, artists have always become our true voices of reason. My son wrote his first protest song last night and it gave me so much hope. Art has always been humanity's salve. Create, don't destroy. Invite your children to join you. Remember that NOW MORE THEN EVER, our kids are watching us -- they are watching how we resist -- they are learning how to lead. They are learning to take action. 


Support female-made art -- that includes, television, cinema, fine art and books.

Support POC made content -- that also includes television, cinema, fine art and books.

Support artists who are making art that disrupts white, cis, patriarchal ideals.


This holiday season, show retailers who align with your ethics, specifically small, local businesses, many of whom donate portions of proceeds to non-profits who are also doing the work. (If this is you, please let me know so I can include you in future gift guides.) You can also BOYCOTT these Trump supporting businesses


There has been a lot of controversy over safety pins these past few days. And to this I say: if wearing a safety pink means something positive to a person/people we're wearing it for -- great. If it doesn't, we need to listen and better understand why Our job is not to be passive, our job is to be ACTIVE IN DISMANTLING THE VERY CULTURE that has led people to wear safety pins in the first place.


Check out this list by ShiShi Rose on how to be a more affective organizer. This list of action by Mikki Halpin is also fantastic.


You're going to need it.

If you have anything to add, please do so below. Thank you in advance and big love.

This is where we begin.

IMG_1890 Photo c/o Archer who took this photo of his sisters and me after we voted yesterday. 
Proudly. And with love.  For HER.

This morning, I woke up paralyzed. I didn't want to get out of bed. I didn't want to talk to my kids about any of this. I couldn't breathe. I felt sick. "This is a funeral," I thought. "But instead of eulogizing the past I feel like I am eulogizing the future." 

A photo posted by Rebecca Woolf (@girlsgonechild) on

How does one keep hope alive for her children when she feels she is attending their future's funeral? 

Then I got angry. At HIM and US and what we have ELECTED -- millions of millions of us -- to represent our nation. Really fucking angry. 

Sorry, Trump. But I refuse to eulogize our future. This election is a BAT SYMBOL against the sky but we ARE Batman. And I must -- I MUST -- get up on my feet and rally my children to do the same.

This morning, I talked to Archer at length about what the results of this election will mean to his friends who are not white males like he is, specifically his POC and Muslim friends, immigrant friends and tween girls who will come of age under the presidency of a man who laughs off sexual assault... I told him to stand with them, to speak up for them, to fight, even if/when it feels dangerous. I told him that being an ally isn't enough -- you have to be an instigator. 

I talked to my daughters about their Hillary posters and how much joy they gave so many in our neighborhood and we decided that this Friday, in the spirit of last Friday, we will make new posters... We will draw and we will write and we will reject hatred and fear. We will create a new future with our rainbow colors, we will support each other, we will open our house to friends and neighbors who would like to join us. We will visualize our new world. And then we will march, together, around the neighborhood with our words held high and our hope held higher. We will protest with love and art and music. And we won't stop... 

I tried to hide my panic from my children tonight but was unable to... all of a sudden I couldn't breathe. Tonight, an hour or so after Bo and Revi witnessed my undoing (I had a full blown panic attack at our friends' viewing party) Bo climbed onto a wall in my friend's backyard and said, "If Hillary doesn't win tonight, someone else will win tomorrow night. Maybe it will be you or maybe it will be me. Will it be you?" She pointed her finger into the darkness and nodded at... nothing/everything/no one/everyone... then she pointed her fist to the sky and did a flying leap onto the pavement. And because it was my one point of light tonight, I thought I'd share. Because as a parent I didn't know what to say to my kids as the results rolled in tonight, but they (Bo, specifically) knew what to say to me... And that's why there's still hope, I think. We might be fucked beyond repair but our children.... they're okay. They're amazing. They are full of hope and wisdom and love and goodness -- all of the things, that in this moment, feel lost... And I believe in them so much. I BELIEVE IN THEM SO MUCH! And I will continue to honk my proverbial horn as they hang their signs and lift their fists and point into the darkness of tomorrow without fear.  To my friends -- fellow mothers, women -- specifically those of you who are black, brown, immigrant, Muslim, LGBTQ, my heart is with you tonight. And I promise to stand by you through whatever tomorrow brings. And I will continue to do everything in my power to raise my children to do the same. Because SO MANY of us do not want the America we will wake up to tomorrow and yet we must WAKE UP TOMORROW. WE MUST. WAKE. UP.  I love you. I'm with you. And our children. Most importantly, our children.
A video posted by Rebecca Woolf (@girlsgonechild) on

This morning, after watching Hillary's speech, I dressed in purple. I spoke to my great aunt Dot, begged her for her guidance, called my friends and family members and cried with them. I cried with strangers on the street. I am crying now. 

A photo posted by Rebecca Woolf (@girlsgonechild) on

But this is just the beginning. This is the first day of a new era of fighting harder and standing stronger and rallying friends and family to do the same. I live in a progressive bubble and this election has forced me to acknowledge that I cannot comprehend what has happened because I will never wholly understand what is happening. And that is something I need to work on. Hard. 

America, we are NOT better than this. We are THIS. And we have work to do. In and OUTSIDE of our communities. 

In the meantime, I will parent with love and fire and fight, recognizing that I can have faith in humanity and be horrified by it all at once. I will use my voice and stay as positive as I possibly can for my children who have, through this entire election, been HRC's biggest fans -- and who like me, cannot fathom how their country went wrong. I will create what I can and provide the space and support for children and young people to do the same. I will buy more poster board. 


This morning, on the way to school Fable said, "if kids were allowed to vote, Trump would have never in a million years been elected president. Maybe I'll write that on a poster."

"Good idea." 

"What about you, Mama? What will your poster say?"

"I think it will say...  THIS IS WHERE WE BEGIN."

And Crown thy Good with Sisterhood

"What will a woman's presidency mean for our daughters? What will it mean for our sons?" I was thinking recently, not about the answers to these questions but about the questions themselves -- how we are the first generation in our nation's history who have asked them... 

This past weekend, I watched my oldest daughter create picture after picture after picture of a gracefully aging woman wearing pants next to the words GIRL POWER and thought back to when I was her age and what GIRL POWER looked like to me -- Pink Power Rangers and She-Ra and Catwoman  -- women who were literally warriors... who hid behind costumes and masks in order to fight back. In those days, GIRL POWER felt like a costume girls wore on Halloween -- a store-bought cape in pink instead of blue -- a cartoon. 

That was less than 30 years ago and in those three decades, so much has changed -- not our stories so much, but our willingness to tell them. Clearly women have always been this strong but never has there been a time where so many women were this unabashed in claiming their strength. 

We are raising our children in the golden age of learning and unlearning -- where becoming strong means refusing the stronghold, not just in terms of feminism and "what it means to be a woman" but feminism and "what it SHOULDN'T mean to be a man." We are raising our children with an awareness of intersectionality -- and the recognition that privilege is a superpower MANY PEOPLE HAVE without DOING. A. SINGLE. THING. TO. EARN. IT. People like me. Families like mine. 

And while we have massive amounts of work to do, we are, for the first time in history, communicating openly about that work in ways we never have before. We are LISTENING to each other.  We are recognizing that UNLESS WE ARE ALL PART OF A SOLUTION, we will always be part of the problem. We are talking to our children about standing up and saying NO and fighting forward. We are having conversations in open forums, exposing our vulnerable selves as a sign of strength. We are refusing shame by stripping down to our souls, by opening our closets, our windows, the diaries we were told to keep locked.

Hush little baby, don't say a word. Mama's gonna buy you a mockingbird.

If you can't say anything nice, say nothing at all... 

Words, it turns out, will break many things. They will break hearts and they will break minds and they will break through ... And that's just it. I feel like I'm witnessing a societal breakthrough -- all these women coming forward, standing side by side, uniting our states...  Shamelessly saying NO for all the times we felt we couldn't -- doing so with our daughters and sons as witnesses, relieved to find solidarity in strangers, furious that THESE are the experiences that tie us together. Calling out sexism at every level and on all sides. Would that have happened to this extent had we not seen firsthand what a woman's rise to the presidency really TRULY looks like? 

I wholeheartedly doubt it. 

It is becoming increasingly clear that we are breaking ground on a new construction site as a nation -- as a society. And this moment, I believe, is a crossroads. Women, for the most part, want a future that differs wildly from the past. And while there are many men who feel the same, this election has revealed a frightening revelation that many men (and some women) do not and that has allowed us all to ask more questions, to look deeper into how misogyny and sexism and patriarchy have affected ALL of us.

And while these last few months have been soul-crushing and hideous and extremely hard on SO many of us for a multitude of reasons, I stopped this weekend, watching Fable teach her sisters to draw trees and our future president's wrinkles and thought about their world -- their activities and thoughts, stories and truths, opinions and questions -- about things I had no knowledge of at their age.
This is not an election about right vs left or woman vs man or even right vs wrong. This election is about our children's future vs our parents' past. This is an election where we get to choose between exclusion and inclusion, walls and windows, breaking barriers or condemning progress. And we cannot, as a nation, as a people choose NOT to grow up

Progress vs regression is, at its core, what this election has always been about. HRC is an arrow facing forward. Trump wants this country to go back to when it was "great." When women weren't allowed to vote and teenagers lost their lives getting back alley abortions and Christopher Columbus was lauded in all of our history books. 

And while everything feels particularly awful right now, divided and contemptuous and seemingly hopeless, I keep thinking, perhaps this is what sea change looks like. I keep thinking about the first fish who grew legs and walked on land... and how their babies' babies' babies would never know what it was like to breathe solely underwater. Life must evolve in order to survive. And whether we realize it or not, our pockets are full of rocks for the paths we are continuously paving... not for ourselves but for our children: for their children and their children's children's children. Progress is our lifeline -- our legacy, our GIFT to future generations who will grow up with the capacity not to follow in our footsteps but to LEAD FROM OUR PATH. May we vote with them in mind.
I believe we are breaking ground on a new time -- where the boys wielding sticks and stones cannot scare the girls into silence anymore. Because WORDS are the game changers. Storytellers are warriors and more women than ever are on the front lines, fingers raw from typing truth to power as their children rearrange the status quo with new definitions of GIRL POWER and magic and heroism and the knowledge that to be girl is to SPEAK OUT and MAKE NOISE and CHANGE LIVES and LEAD.


We are the first generation of parents to ask what a woman's presidency will look like for our daughters and what electing her will look like for our sons. And while citing "forefathers" in our history books and "crowning thy good with brotherhood" will always be our past, I, as well as many other women, men and children, demand a different looking future. And I believe, with my whole heart, that THIS RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW is where the guard changes... I believe that this moment marks a new beginning in our democracy and illuminates new light in our daughters' eyes.

Girl Power isn't a costume anymore; it is the platform our daughters continue to build from the wreckage of a patriarchy we, along with generations of women before us, have worked to dismantle. We are all part of this record scratch...


And I am eternally grateful to stand here -- in this moment -- as part of the sisterhood who continues to rally together to elect our first female president -- a woman, mother and grandmother who is also the most qualified presidential candidate in our nation's history. And I look forward to clutching the hands of my daughters Tuesday morning as we walk, chin up, eyes forward, into the polls...

...Mama's here to make sure that your voice is heard...