February 20, 2012
We love our favorite magazines, TV shows, and movies, right? But we don’t love how they sometimes chip away at our confidence and body image. The need for more positive images of girls in the media is clear and the time for change is now!
Last year U.S. House Representatives Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) introduced the Healthy Media for Youth Act (H.R. 4925) to establish a national taskforce to develop voluntary guidelines and other measures to promote positive images of girls and women. The bill, developed in conjunction with the Girl Scouts, would support media literacy programs, promote research on the effects of media images, and encourage the adoption of voluntary guidelines to promote healthier media images for young people.
Efforts are also being made at the state level to improve Arizona’s girls’ self-esteem and literacy media skills. Last week state Representative Katie Hobbs of Phoenix introduced HB 2793- a bill that would require advertisers to issue a disclaimer whenever a print ad used “post-production techniques” such as Photo shopping or airbrushing. While the bill did not pass out of committee, Representative Hobbs was happy to get the conversation going stating, “My daughter is starting to be interested in magazines… and I want her to know that it’s not possible for her to look like that and it’s OK that she doesn’t.”
Why is Girl Scouts deeply committed to media messaging? Because of you!
You asked and we listened:
The Girl Scout Research Institute’s survey, Girls and Body Image (2010), revealed alarming statistics about teen girls’ relationships with the media and fashion industry.
- Nearly 90% of girls surveyed say the media places a lot of pressure on girls to be thin
- 60% of girls compare themselves to models
- Body dissatisfaction can result from this comparison, and leads to serious health problems, such as unhealthy eating and dieting habits
- More than half of girls, 55%, admit they diet to lose weight and
- 31% admit to starving themselves or refusing to eat as a strategy to lose weight.
Negative body images aren’t the only cause for concern.
- Only 32% of African American girls think the fashion industry does a good job of representing people of all racses and ethnicities.
- Less than 1/3 of speaking characters in children’s movies are female.
- Sexualized messages and images of girls and women also negatively impact boys.
With your concerns in mind and statistics to back up our finding, we are now in prime condition to take action and advocate.
Are you interested in taking action and promoting healthy media? Here are some ideas below:
- Share your thoughts- Do you think the media goes too far with digitally altered images?
- Spread the word to your networks! Promote the cause through social media and blog about it on your favorite sites. Join the Healthy Media for Youth Act facebook page.
- Check out the Public Policy and Advocacy website: http://www.girlscouts4girls.org/girlscouts/home/
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