So many of us feel hopeless about the fact that everywhere we look–on billboards, TV, film, video games, magazines, movies, bus sides, music videos, soda cans–we see images that make girls feel they should be hotter, sexier, more beautiful. Girls are consuming roughly 10 hours of media a day, much of which teaches them they could be so much happier if only they listened to cooler music, bought the right conditioner, wore funkier shoes, drank the right vitamin-packed water, applied enough “pumped-up” mascara….it’s crazy making.
So what do we do?
For one thing, we need to discuss with girls topics with substance: what they’re reading, who they see as a role model, what they’d invent if they had the money, the funniest joke they heard this week, what they did recently that was kind, what makes a good leader. When they answer, we listen and ask more questions.
At MEDIAGIRLS– a non-profit organization that teaches middle-school girls to critique how they’re portrayed in mainstream culture with an emphasis on making empowering content–we do something else: we hand over the media reins to girls and teach them to makeover the media.
We give participants the tools they need to create and distribute their own content that makes girls feel better, not worse, about themselves. We teach them to create reviews and blog posts and interviews that shine the media spotlight on girls and women changing the world with their smarts, bravery, compassion, humor, and adventurous spirit. We encourage girls to speak out against those who disrespect girls and women in song lyrics, violent imagery, and patronizing, hurtful words.
And then we give girls the media space–yep, right here at this blog–to share their insights with the world. Each blog post they publish changes the toxic culture of media for the better. And each time YOU or other girls read their words and perhaps engage in your own conversations on these topics, we all participate in giving media content the makeover it needs.
Enough from me…now it’s time to hear from the girls.