Raising girls

Cinderella is Eating my Daughter and So is the Media

So recently my three year old has decided that being a princess is the way to go. She has princess pants, princess dresses, princess skirts, and best of all, a princess dance. (None of these clothes actually have princesses on them. It’s just a matter of what she feels like wearing that day that makes it princess or not.)

It is fitting that I’m sitting by and watching the transformation of my regular old daughter into mini royalty as I am currently reading a book called “Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture” by Peggy Orenstein.

I’m only shortly into the book but I’ve already read some fascinating information. Here are two studies by researchers that really caught my attention.

The First Study

Researchers took two groups of middle school age girls and showed them a series of commercials and then had them fill out a survey asking them what they wanted to be when they grow up.

One of the groups watched commercials of neutral things like phones and pens.

The second group of students watched the same commercials but this time they added two commercials that showed women in traditional gender roles. The commercials were for things like acne medicine or brownies with images of women smiling over the stove.

After the kids watched the commercials they had them fill out a questionnaire asking them about what careers they might be interested in.

The girls that watched the commercials that had the women doing things like fretting about their skin or cooking brownies showed less interest in science and math based careers.

Think about this outcome. What does t.v. and the media do to our children and specifically to our little girls and women of the future?

The Second Study

Researchers took two groups of college students and had them try on either a sweater or a bathing suit before taking a math test. These were all students that were good at math. They then looked at the scores to see if there were any differences that would not be due to chance.

This is what they found.

The young women who took the math test after trying on the bathing suit did worse than the group of women who tried on the sweater before taking the math test.

The boys did the same on the test regardless of whether they tried on a bathing suit or a sweater.

Body image. Self esteem. How we feel about ourselves.

It can affect how one performs on a math test.

If you’re a girl.

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“The Keep it Real Challenge”: A Plea to Magazines for Real Images of Women

These statistics are mind boggling and frightening.
42% of six, seven and eight year olds want to be thinner!? 81% of 10 years olds are afraid of getting fat!? What kind of world are we living in?

The Keep It Real Challenge, which runs from June 27th – 29th, 2012, is designed to start a media revolution and help girls, women and their allies realize the power of their individual and collective voices to create positive change. SPARK Movement, MissRepresentation.org, I Am That Girl and LoveSocial have joined forces to host this three-day social media campaign to urge print magazines to pledge to use at least one non-photoshopped image per issue.

Tell magazines to drop photoshop! Inspired by 14 year-old Julie Bluhm’s petition of Seventeen Magazine, we’re promoting a 3-day social media campaign to challenge photoshopped beauty standards and empower women and girls to use their voices to create change. We’re making a simple request of magazines:

Pledge to print at least one unphotoshopped picture of a model.

Day 1: Wednesday, June 27: Tweet it. Twitter users will use hashtag #KeepItReal, directly asking magazines to pledge to change their practices around photoshopping bodies.

Day 2: Thursday, June 28: Participants will create a blogging firestorm – personally reflecting on how unrealistic images of beauty have impacted them.

Day 3:  Friday, June 19: On the final day, via Instagram, users will post their own photos of “real beauty” to be entered in the #KeepitRealChallenge – with selected photos to be featured on a billboard in New York City later this year.

SPARK is a girl-fueled activist movement working collaboratively with girls, activists, scholars, parents and educators to challenge and end the sexualization of girls. The SPARK network is creating a cultural “tipping point” where the sexualization of girls is unacceptable, intolerable, unthinkable and unprofitable, while simultaneously building support for girls’ healthy sexuality. www.sparksummit.com

MissRepresentation.org is a cross generational movement organizing millions of small actions to awaken people’s consciousness to recognize the true value of women; change the way women and girls are represented in the media; interrupt and stop patterns of sexism; level the playing field; and ensure a tipping point that will lead to gender parity in leadership throughout the United States and the world. Learn more about the campaign at www.missrepresentation.org

Lovesocial was founded in 2009 with a vision of creating authentic and creative communication strategies through the channels of social media. With a motto of, “keep it simple, find the value and communicate it well,” Lovesocial quickly became what is now dubbed an “anti-agency”. With a commitment of not further cluttering or saturating an already crowded online space, Lovesocial works to create clarity and value for their clients to help accomplish their goals.www.lovesocial.org

I AM THAT GIRL aims to be the definitive voice on the intellectual, emotional, and social needs of millennial girls by building an online and offline community devoted to inspiring and empowering girls to discover their innate worth and purpose. This community provides girls with a safe space to have honest conversations, consume healthy content, and collaborate with other girls seeking to be confident in their own skin. www.iamthatgirl.com

http://www.facebook.com/MissRepresentationCampaign
http://endangeredbodies.org/
http://www.pitchengine.com/keepitreal/spark-movement-missrepresentationorg-lovesocialorg-and-i-am-that-girl-launch-the-keep-it-real-challenge

Pledge to End Sexism: Action Steps for Our Girls

On the Miss Representation website (http://www.missrepresentation.org/) there is a pledge you can take to end sexism. In response to that I received an emails with some tips for raising young girls in a non-sexist way.

Thanks for joining our movement to end sexism!

Now that you’ve taken the MissRepresentation.org pledge, here are some actions you can take immediately to make a difference:

1. Tell 5 people about the film and share one thing you learned from watching it.

2. Parents: Watch TV and films with your children.  Raise questions like “What if that character had been a girl instead?”

3. Remember your actions influence others. Mothers, aunts and loved ones- don’t downgrade or judge yourself by your looks. Fathers, uncles and loved ones—treat women around you with respect.  Remember children in your life are watching and learning from you.

4. Use your consumer power. Stop buying tabloid magazines and watching shows that degrade women. Go see movies that are written and directed by women (especially on opening weekend to boost the box office ratings). Avoid products that resort to sexism in their advertising.

5. Mentor others! It’s as easy as taking a young woman to lunch. Start by having open and honest conversations with a young person in your life.

You are now dialed into a national movement to stand up to sexism and challenge the media’s limiting portrayals of gender. Together we will make a huge impact on contemporary society.