It is time to change our girls’ fate. Our brave daughters have the right to a healthy, carefree childhood.
Introducing the Brave Girls Alliance
The truth is, this post should have been written a couple of weeks ago. But the thing about working in the space of girl empowerment or girl advocacy or whatever you want to call it is that some days, many days, there is so much work to be done it cannot fit into one day or two days or four days and one week becomes two and before you know it you are three weeks into a project that grew bigger and faster than you expected.
And that is a wonderful thing, even though there are 507 emails waiting for me in my Inbox as I write this, the reason it took me three weeks to find the time (at 12:31 am) is that immediately after Ines Almeida and I gathered sixteen of our colleagues to launch the Brave Girls Alliance, we were swamped with requests by other girl experts to join the cause, we launched our first Action Item (petition asking LEGO for more female Minifigs), answered press requests, hosted a massive twitter party, wrote our Core Values, brought more experts on board, held some intercontinental brain-power sessions via Skype, and began to promote this new think tank/advocacy community to our social media communities.
I believe in bringing people together to forward the cause of reclaiming girlhood for our girls. No one person or group can make the difference alone, it will take thousands of us working together to shift this mountain one rock at a time. When we think about the early sexualization, limiting gender stereotypes, gender policing, under-representation in media, constant imprinting of the Beauty Myth, and lack of strong female characters in media how could any one group or person tackle that alone? And those are the First World problems, the issues facing girls around the world are systemic and frightening. We have much work to do.
The Brave Girls Alliance came about when I sent an email to my colleagues asking for some input on a document that was going to be sent to a large media content creator and Ines said, “We should turn this, right here, into a website.” It was a brilliant idea said during the direct aftermath of the Sexy Merida firestorm and Ines was right, we needed one place to aggregate consumer voices and concerned parents/adults and activist girls. Parenting attitudes are trending towards exhaustion over sexualization and gender stereotypes. Those of us on the front lines are seeing and hearing this every day, our large social media communities acting like real time focus groups.
Ines and I both have large social media followings, but we aren’t always talking about the same things on any given day or week. I then took a look at the top dozen colleagues Ines and I work closely with and I realized in total our communities were close to 85,000 people strong on facebook alone. Ines was right, instead of one project here or one petition there, we needed a constant space where all these like-minded people could come together.
We acted quickly, recruited sixteen of our closest allies to help us found a collaborative group that would bring experts, parents, consumers and girls together.
Our idea is simple: Brave girls want better media.
We are here to ask media creators to expand their version 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 that girls deserve better, because we know that 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.
How can you become involved?
Visit the website and learn more.
Join up with our facebook page. Invite your friends!
Use the #BraveGirlsWant hashtag when discussing issues about girls and media on twitter.
Read up about the Brave Girls Alliance in recent press articles.
Become familiar with our Core Values.
Read about the accomplishments of our Board.
Post one of our campaign images to facebook or your blog.
So tell us, what does your brave girl want? What kind of media do you want for her? What lessons do you want your brave girl to learn from the media she takes in during her childhood?