Girl Scouts Advocate on Behalf of Healthy Media Images for Girls
By the time the average girl graduates from high school, she will have spent 15,000 hours watching television versus 12,000 hours in school. This does not include the hours spent online, playing video games, listening to the radio, or reading magazines(1).
The Girl Scout Research Institute’s latest 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.
But 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 races and ethnicities (i).
- Less than one in three speaking characters in children’s movies are female (ii).
- Sexualized messages and images of girls and women also negatively impact boys (iii).
What Can Be Done About It?
Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland, along with Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) have made a historic commitment to developing programming and policy solutions that promote girls’ healthy living and media literacy. In partnership with the Dove Self-Esteem Fund, they’ve created the program, It’s Your Story, Tell It!, to help improve girls’ media literacy skills.
Click here to read more about our recent event featuring global activist and author Katherine Schwarzenegger, who encouraged Girl Scouts and the community to “Rock What You’ve Got.”
- Check out “Watch What You Watch,” a PSA developed by GSUSA and the Creative Coalition
- Visit the GSUSA “It’s Your Story” Web site to explore information and activities related to the “It’s Your Story” Journey program, which focuses on building healthy images
Make Your Voice Heard
Support the Healthy Media for Youth ActWe need your help to encourage your Members of Congress to sponsor House Bill 2513/Senate Bill 1354 today!
Kids are surrounded by media. From television to movies to social media and new technologies, kids are consuming up to 10 hours of recreational media each day. Unfortunately, media doesn’t always promote healthy images of girls.
Girl Scouts’ research tells us that girls are very influenced by what they see in the media, and that it can have a significant impact on their self-esteem, body image, and leadership aspirations.
To address this issue, Girl Scouts has worked with Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (WI) and Senator Kay Hagan (NC) on the Healthy Media for Youth Act (H.R. 2513/S 1354). This legislation would:
• Provide competitive grants for organizations like Girl Scouts, that provide media literacy programming and leadership development that helps empower girls.
• Support research to help us better understand the impact of media on youth development.
• Create a federal task force to develop voluntary recommendations that help the media industry put forward healthy images of women and girls.
Take action today and send a message to your U.S. Representative and Senator asking them to cosponsor this important bill that impacts all girls.
1. The American Academy of Pediatrics
ii Stacy L. Smith, Crystal Allene Cook, “Gender Stereotypes: An Analysis of Popular Films and TV” (The Geena Davis Institute
on Gender in Media, 2008), http://www.thegeenadavisinstitute.org/research.php.
iii APA Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls “Report of the APA Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls,” (American
Psychological Association, 2007), http://www.apa.org/pi/wpo/sexualization.html.