September 19, 2014: The website for MEDiAGIRLS has a list of disturbing statistics about girls’ and women’s reactions after consuming media images. One that caught my attention was from The Representation Project, “By the time a girl from the U.S. is age 12, she has seen approximately 77,546 ads, with 56% using beauty as a product appeal.” An equally disturbing statistic follows:
“Fifty-six percent of teens feel that the media's advertisements are the main cause of low self-esteem.” (2013 National Teen Body-image survey by the blog StageofLife.)
And it’s not just ads. The ubiquity of social media in young people’s lives has also contributed to the confidence problem. According to the teen body-image site Proud2Bme, “eighty-six percent of respondents say that social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter hurt their body conﬁdence.”
“Many girls are posting pics of themselves on social media sites and YouTube asking ‘Am I beautiful?’ and then getting ripped apart by negative comments. It's heartbreaking,” said Michelle Cove, MEDiAGIRLS’ Founder, Executive Director, and Instructor.
MEDiAGIRLS is a new Brookline-based program designed to empower middle school girls to honestly discuss how airbrushed and idealized images of women in the media affect their self-esteem. MEDiAGIRLS also gives them tools to turn the trend on its head by teaching them to create their own girl-positive media.