By Michelle Bauman
Washington D.C., Jul 4, 2012 / 12:04 am (CNA).- The creators of a new magazine for women hope that their publication will offer a fresh perspective that connects with modern American women and provides encouragement and affirmation.
“I think it’s just trying to see these issues through a different lens,” said Kara Eschbach, co-founder and editor-in-chief of “Verily” magazine.
In a June 29 interview with CNA, she explained that the magazine is aimed at “respecting women” while offering “intelligent commentary” on contemporary issues.
Eschbach recalled that the idea began with a group of women at brunch in New York City, observing how difficult it was to find a women’s magazine that related to them and reflected their views.
One of the women present, Janet Sahm, had interned at “Elle Magazine” for over a year and was interested in starting her own magazine, while Eschbach was working in finance but wanting to do something with “a little bit more meaning.”
When they realized the need for something “different” in the world of women’s magazines, they decided to dive in, researching and spreading the word until they had eventually assembled a team of editors for the publication’s style, culture, relationships and lifestyle sections.
The teaser issue of “Verily” is currently available online and future issues will be available both in print and on the internet.
The publication is geared toward young professional women, likely single or newly married, and tries to offer a positive and “affirming” message that they will enjoy reading, Eschbach said.
She explained that after discussing various names, the editors eventually settled on “Verily,” which means “truly” or “honestly” and reflects what they wanted to portray with the magazine, something that “really resonates with women.”
Eschbach is dissatisfied with the way that women are often “talked to and about” by media and culture as being either “silly and frivolous” or focused solely on getting ahead in their career.
“Verily” offers an alternative, she said, seeking to be trendy while at the same time respecting women and connecting with them.
The goal is to show women who are healthy and beautiful, not only physically but also “in the way we live our lives,” she explained.
Eschbach said that while the magazine is still in its early stages, it has received much positive feedback in a short period of time.
The idea seems to be resonating with a large variety of women and has drawn praise from individuals from all different walks of life and political views, she observed.
“People seem to really like it,” she said.
Mary Rose Somarriba, culture editor of the magazine, said that “Verily” is “doing something that others aren’t.”
While so many other women’s magazines give advice that is not actually helpful for people in their real lives, the editors of “Verily” wanted their creation to read “like a friend’s advice – close, frank and friendly,” she explained.
Rather than the “outrageous content” that so often fills other publications, “Verily” will in some ways be “a return to what women’s magazines used to be,” while at the same time acknowledging the changes in the modern woman’s life, she said.
Deeply interested in women’s issues and stories, Somarriba is excited to take on the role of culture editor. She hopes her content will help “start conversations” that aren’t taking place elsewhere.
She explained that her section will feature articles reflecting women’s interests and perspectives, as well as profile pieces, telling “empowering stories” of women overcoming adversity. In addition, she said, “we’re not afraid of investigative reporting.”
Numerous people have already offered to write for the culture section or have submitted articles that they had written but didn’t know where to publish, she added.
“I really think it’s sort of a providential thing,” she said.
While she acknowledges that women are often objectified in contemporary society, Somarriba also believes that there is beauty in the culture, and she hopes to show that in her work with “Verily.”
She sees her work as an opportunity to help fill a void in women’s magazines by offering a positive outlook and lifting women up rather than bringing them down.
Somarriba believes that being a woman in America today can be challenging, particularly due to the many different expectations and ideals that are present in the modern world.
It can be difficult to “think independently” of these expectations, she said, adding that she hopes “Verily” will help to show women that “they’re not alone if they don’t buy into that thinking.”
Eschbach agreed, observed that many women feel immense pressure to balance a career and family, while at the same time maintaining a certain physical appearance.
All the while, she added, they are grappling with questions of their worth and value and are often in need of support as they make decisions about using their talents at home, in their jobs or in other ways.
“I think that it’s exciting to be a woman and that we need to be supportive of women,” she stressed.