It was the first day of summer camp. The counselor gave the children white tented cards. “Write your name and your favorite thing – what’s most important to you-- on the name cards,” she instructed.
Six-year-old Annie Rose carefully wrote her name. Underneath it, she drew a picture of two smiling little girls, one with brown skin and one with white skin, and wrote out "equality."
“What does equality mean to you?” I asked her today.
She looked at me, considering. “Equality is when everyone gets the same . . . respect. Yes, respect. Boys and girls and black and white and all kinds of people get treated equally. It is very important.”
Yes, it is very important. But here is the problem. Equality isn’t important enough. It’s not important enough to the advertising agencies and the entertainment industry and the toy manufacturers and the clothing retailers and the news media who influence the people treat each other. If it were, we would see more of the products, stories, and advertisements that Brave Girls Want.
The way things currently stand, our society tells girls that they must be pretty and sexy to have value. Oh, sure, girls can be whatever they want to be, as long as what they choose still falls within the confines of being pretty, sexy nurturers. Society demands that girls protect the stereotypes that keep them weaker.
Brave Girls Want more. They want to be stronger. The problem is, when girls are assertive, they get labeled as bitchy or bossy. When girls are clever, they get labeled as sneaky or manipulative. When girls speak out about injustices, they get labeled as whiny and angry. But Brave Girls keep talking, and more people are listening. Ask 6-year-old Annie Rose:
Brave Girls want to be scientists and engineers and teachers and ball players and actors and carpenters and chefs and mechanics and nurses and doctors and programmers and gamers and superheroes.
Brave Girls want pink to be a color, not a stereotype. Brave Girls want the words “you are acting like a girl” to be a compliment, not an insult that carries all the weight of generations of misogyny and homophobia packed into six little words.
The Brave Girls Want Alliance is working to make a change. Here is the plan, as described on the Brave Girls Want website:
We have come together to ask media content creators, retailers, and every large corporation to make a commitment to support girls' empowerment.
We ask media creators to expand their vision of what it means to be a girl, and recognize our girls as whole, complex people and not as gender stereotypes. Stop profiting from selling girls short.
We believe girls deserve better, because we know the consequences to girls' well-being are serious.
We ask media creators to rethink products in development and ensure they teach girls to be strong, intelligent, and adventurous.
We ask media creators to rethink branding that pigeon-holes girls into the lowest common denominator (glitter, sexuality, hetero-normative femininity).
We ask media creators to elevate the elements that make the characters and narratives unique, instead of homogenizing the images and the merchandise.
- We ask media creators to practice corporate social responsibility now -- take the sexy out of childhood. Reducing female characters’ value to being about physical appearance and nothing more damages girls.
Our communities and all our allies have been using the hashtag #BraveGirlsWant to express their wishes and aspirations. We want to magnify their voices by showcasing them in digital billboards and special venues all over the world. We will invade the most important locations in the world and we will start with Times Square.
Over the course of 7 days, curated tweets and messages from our communities will be displayed on a billboard on Times Square. We will take up 4 minutes per hour from 6 am to 2 am. This will enable us to display 40 messages/tweets per hour.
Just imagine... constructive, proactive and very inspiring messages being displayed in one of the centers of the world to millions and millions of people. Messages with suggestions for media and toy creators, retailers and big corporations.
What We Need:
|We need to raise $25000:
You will get the opportunity to have your opinion showcased on Times Square, especially if you are:
- Parents, educators, and girls who wish to express their views.
- Experts and girl empowerment organizations that are influential to the conversation.
- Schools and universities wishing to engage students in media literacy and showcase some of the opinions and ideas discussed in the classroom in Times Square.
- Businesses and brands wishing to express their support for this initiative and indicate to our communities that you are interested and listening.
All tweets/messages will be reviewed by the Brave Girls Alliance Board to ensure they align with our mission, scope and values. Thank you for your support and participation in this campaign. Please help spread the word and share this exciting project!
Check out Carrie's award-winning book. It features chapters on gender-based toy marketing, the sexualization of girls, stereotypes, bullying and more.
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