This 5 part series on the early sexualization of girls was kicked off with the recent Toddlers and Tiaras episodes that have made national news; then we moved on to how marketing ploys push girls to grow up too fast on purpose; day three was a 7 year old's disappointed observations about her favorite comic strip heroine, "re-done" into a new sexier character (who did more posing than adventurous feats).
Today I want to tell you about some great people that are working to change all of these things.
On a day to day basis, we don't really hear too much about girl issues or organizations committed to them. But thanks to internet and twitter, it's been a pleasant surprise to find out about efforts being made all over the country to combat these cultural issues.
So today I'd like to introduce you to my fabulous new finds. These are great people fighting to help girls grow up well in this culture. Please take a moment to check out their websites and see the great works they are doing!
BEAUTY REDEFINED- http://www.beautyredefined.net/
photo credit: www.beautyredefined.net
Among the many other great things they do, a billboard campaign has started in Utah where they are based. Check out their website or facebook page to see the other billboards too! Website fabulousness- revealing advertising photoshopping that leads to false "perfect beauty" ideals, combatting pornography becoming mainstream in media and advertising and how that negatively affects all of us, men and women alike.
7 WONDERLICIOUS - http://www.7wonderlicious.net/
Great website for moms of little girls. They speak to the issue of how our culture's early sexualization of girls affects girls at younger ages. YES, I have heard of girls as young as 5 being told they looked fat, and it is very commonplace now in grade school for girls to be weight conscious. CHECK OUT this website for info on helping your daughter deal with those struggles.
DOVE BEAUTY (yes, the soap company) - Click on the links below to watch videos Dove has made to promote real beauty, not the photoshopped kind. (I still believe in makeup FULLY lol). There are plenty more if you google or youtube (just be aware there are lots of "parodies" on youtube also. Make sure it's a real Dove video).
Some favorites are:
Case Study: Dove Campaign For Real Beauty 'Amy' (you will sigh and aaaahhhhh)
MEG MEEKER, M.D. - http://www.megmeekermd.com/ "The Wisdom of a Pediatrician, the Heart of a Mother". I have used Meg Meeker's books to teach girls from. She has a great website full of parenting advice, videos with encouragement and advice, and great advice for older teens and college age girls.
TURN IT AROUND - Facebook Group (if you do a search for it, the group logo is a Cosmopolitan magazine with a red line through it).
This is a group my girls and I started a year and a half ago. After years of covering eye level magazines from my girls view at check out stands, wishing they wouldn't display magazines like that, but not having time or energy to take on the whole publishing business, we had a great idea. The Turn It Around Campaign. If you see a magazine that you find offensive for women, or that young kids don't need to see, just turn it around in the rack.
A facebook page was created, lots of fabulous people joined and we started getting messages of people turning magazines around! Men too! Facebook is in the process of archiving groups, but as far as I can tell you can still join it! It's time to revive those efforts !
Watch the video some local girls made of turning magazines around. (They were trying to get on the Tyra show!)
FINALLY, to be fair, this whole sexualization in media affects boys too. Below is another link to a Dove video that shows the photoshopping of male models. It's only fair to point out to girls that their "ideal guy" may not exist, just like his "ideal girl" may not exist, looks-wise. Starts out kind of slow, but by the end you'll get the point.
There is much hope and goodness in our culture and that is the part we need to focus on. There are many young people, boys and girls alike, who are living apart from this "ideal" that media tries to create. It's possible to be different! Having a strong identity and teaching kids to think through what they see allows them to discern media messages for themselves. That is what we need to be able to do.