Bitch in a Box: Feminist Gifts for Teen Girls

Picking out gifts for teenage girls is hard work. Especially when you want to pick out the gift that will dispel the doubts and insecurities that so often come with being a teenage girl. While there might not be one magic present that will turn your teenage sister or niece into an overnight feminist, there are a whole lot of gifts that will get the ball rolling. I’ve rounded up a bunch of feminist-friendly gifts that will inspire and instill confidence in the teen girls that you’re giving presents to this holiday season.

Girl-Friendly Books
RedYou are Among FriendsGirls' Guide to Rocking

Red: Teenage Girls in America Write on What Fires Up Their Lives Today, edited by Amy Goldwasser, is a collection of essays from almost 60 teenage girls taking on body image, best friends, pop culture, and politics. A great gift for a girl interested in documenting her own life and thoughts. Check out Bitch’s interview with five of the girls who contributed to this book.

You Are Among Friends: Advice for the Little Sisters I Never Had is a book of thoughtful and empowering advice for girls put together by Lindsey Markel. This book inspires confidence in its readers, and is loaded with positive messages about sisterhood, love, identity, sexuality, and courage.

The Girls’ Guide to Rocking: How to Start a Band, Book Gigs, And Get Rolling to Rock Stardom is a detailed guide to rocking by feminist rock critic Jessica Hopper. Hopper provides instructions on how to name your band, write a song, book a show, and everything else girls needs to know while on the path to rock stardom.

Looking for young adult fiction recommendations? This past summer, Bitch commenters provided us with lists and lists of great young adult lit that features strong female characters.

A Subscription to a Feminist Teen Magazine
Shameless Teen Voices

Shameless: For Girls Who Get It describes itself as being “Canada’s independent voice for smart, strong, sassy young women and trans youth. It’s a fresh alternative to typical teen magazines, packed with articles about arts, culture and current events, reflecting the neglected diversity of our readers’ interests and experiences.” This magazine features crafty tutorials, columns on health and sexuality, and advice. The newest issue features the voices of young Muslim women, dives into bike culture, and explores alternative paths into universities.

Teen Voices: Because You Are More Than Just a Pretty Face is a Boston-based magazine written and edited almost exclusively by teenage girls. This magazine encourages girls to become critical media consumers and promotes a whole bunch of social justice issues and projects. The current issue includes features on female genital mutilation, developing good spending habits, birth control myths, and how girls are cleaning up the oil spill in the Gulf.

Skill-Building Instruments
drum sticksPurple Holga cameralong-arm staplerembroidered roller girl

Support her favorite hobbies or give her the tools to try something new.

For the grrrl drummer: Get her a drum kit, some drum sticks, a subscription to Tom Tom: A Magazine About Female Drummers, or The D.I.Y. Guide to Drums by Lisa Ann Schonberg.

For the high school photographer: Buy her a holga, a fun toy camera that produces lo-fi, color-saturated pictures. You can also pick her up these buttons or this print from buyolympia.

For the teen zinester: She might like a long-arm stapler, a gift certificate to somewhere with a copy machine, Stolen Sharpie Revolution 2, or A Girl’s Guide to Taking Over the World: Writings From the Girl Zine Revolution.

For the craftster: Get her embroidery patterns from Sublime Stitching, a sewing machine, or a gift certificate to a local yarn shop.

The Gift of Summer Camp
girls at rock camp

Summer camp is a lot cooler than it used to be. And by cooler I mean way more feminist.

Girls Rock Camp: Portland, Seattle, the Bay Area, LA, New York, Boston, Chicago, Austin, Atlanta, and lots of other cities provide summer camps where girls go to form bands, write songs, learn how to play instruments, and make friends. Chances are that if the city near you doesn’t have a camp yet, it will soon. While these camps usually run during the summer, space oftentimes runs out, which is what makes the gift of rock camp great for the holiday season!

Reel Girls: If you’re in or near Seattle, consider gifting a Reel Girls day or weekend camp to a girl who is interested in learning how to make movies.

Hand-Made Coupons

When all else fails, give her an IOU. Buy some coupons or make them yourself. Coupons are a great way to say that you want to spend time with someone, and I bet the girl(s) in your life would love to go out to a movie, take a figure-drawing class, or get some ice cream with you.

What was the greatest gift you got as a teenage girl? Have you had success with picking out a gift for a teenage girl in your life? Let us know!

by Ashley McAllister
View profile »

Get Bitch Media's top 9 reads of the week delivered to your inbox every Saturday morning! Sign up for the Weekly Reader:

14 Comments Have Been Posted


i am copying, pasting, and sending this exact guide to everyone in my gift-buying circle. as in the people who might buy me things. THESE things. wish me luck.


I've been floundering around every gift-giving holiday ever since my nieces & god daughter hit their 'tweens. These ideas are SO helpful. But, I think I'll put the long arm stapler on MY Christmas list...

More Gifts for Girls

Hope you don't mind the shameless self-promotion, but am the artist behind the Girls Can't WHAT? characters and many of the products that feature my work make great gifts for teen girls as well.

My vendors carry lots of apparel and gift items like shirts, hats, tote bags, skateboards, posters, etc. My own teen daughters like the tank tops and hoodies and we've given the tote bags away as gifts to their friends and they love them.

The designs are found in sports, careers, music, military and also a "fun" category. The most popular designs right now are the drummer, construction worker, roller derby and archery.

As a teenage girl...

One of the greatest gifts I got (and still get) was manga. I LOVE manga. Entertaining, fun to analyze and beautiful. And lots of influential female artists, too!

For me, it was Ghost World by

For me, it was Ghost World by Daniel Clowes. Weird that a man in his mid-30s was able to describe my teenage identity-vs-role-confusion crises and existential angst and drama so well. Hell even now that I'm in my 20s it's still like that sometimes.

Graphic novels are great in general, why not spread the Marjane Satrapi or Alison Bechdel love?

how bout ...

for younger girls? or feminist gifts for boys? i have younger relatives of both genders and every holiday and bday are a challenge.

great post though :-)

This looks great! I think I

This looks great! I think I want a holga now!

One other thing think should be on there are TOMS! I am asking for two pairs myself and I know of a lot of other teen girls that are!


Just wanted to send a note of thanks for including Shameless in this list! Also I'm excited to see other alternative teen-driven media (will definitely check out teen voices!)


Ronak G.
Arts Editor
Shameless Magazine

Extraordinarily annoying that

Extraordinarily annoying that you had to include a hipster toy camera on this list. The last thing the world needs is more oversaturated, overexposed "photography".


It's unfortunate, meKT, that you would allow some intangible "hipster" status to dissuade you from encouraging young women to take up photography. I 100% disagree with you that "the last thing the world needs" is girls taking pictures and expressing themselves through artistic outlets—to me, that sounds like something the world could use more of. Who cares if that holga camera that your teenage niece likes might be considered (gasp!) too "hipster" by someone? Teenage girls have it tough enough as it is without being judged for their camera equipment.


you were a lot more polite than i would have been. here's to teenage girls--and all women--taking whatever kind of photographs they want!

For slightly younger girls

For slightly younger girls (8-9), a really pretty, bejewelled journal or diary works well, maybe with a really nice pen or two. Old-school, but I've had total success with it.

Journals and sketchbooks +

Journals and sketchbooks + nice pens & pencils are a great idea for any age.

I also love the Slingshot Organizer. Time to get another one!

Journals are indeed great

Journals are indeed great gifts! It can be especially fun to collage the cover in order to personalize them. And yes, that Slingshot organizer is a necessity for me as well.

Add new comment