Imagine if girls spent less time worrying about jiggly thighs and more time making content that made them feel stronger…
My Digiwish it that we teach girls to stand up to the media's message that their worth is based on their looks and sex appeal. That's why I created MEDIAGIRLS, to lead a cultural revolution in which girls make over the media with empowering content that showcases young women who are smart, adventurous, kind and brave. We're providing middle-school girls in our program with these media skills--and there's no reason girls everywhere can't enlist. The bottom line: Anyone with social media is a media maker and distributor today.
What kind of activities can girls do from home?
Challenge them to draw and then post to their social media a supershero (female superhero) with powers that fight an injustice in the world.
Teach them to craft a letter to a CEO, studio head, or other decision maker that expresses their approval or disapproval of content they see.
Encourage them to post on social media quotes and links that inspire them rather than spreading snark and gossip.
Ask them to write and share song lyrics, shoot a short video or create other content that challenges stereotypes.
[For samples, check out mediagirls.org/blog]
Here's why we need to get on this revolution: The average teen girl is spending nine hours a day of media, and what she sees isn't pretty: The girls and women who command the most media attention are the ones who are malicious and stir up drama. It’s virtually impossible to protect girls from the onslaught of emaciated models, half-clad women grinding in music videos, girls and women “cat fighting” on TV and over Twitter, and celebrities Photoshopped to freakish perfection. Even if we could get girls to “unplug” from technology, they’d still be bombarded with media on highway billboards, building exteriors, sides of buses, and gas stations.
As a mom to a tween daughter, and mentor to young women, I'm frustrated and fed up with the messages our girls are getting. But as a media maker, I appreciate that the media is just a vehicle, neither inherently good or bad. I'm fired up about the potential to use it for good. If we can achieve a critical mass of girls and young women who expect and demand better, we can change the culture of media. I'm certain.
Michelle Cove is the Executive Director of MEDIAGIRLS®, a nonprofit organization that teaches girls how to critique the way girls and women are portrayed in pop culture with an emphasis on creating empowering content. She is also an award-winning filmmaker, journalist, and author whose projects have been featured on numerous national platforms including “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” Katie Couric’s talk show “Katie,” “The Today Show,” The Washington Post, and The New York Times.
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