As adults, we’ve long recognized –even accepted- that advertising can stretch the truth. But a new community of young women are taking the issue on.
The Brave Girls Alliance formed to stop “selling girls short” – asking the advertising industry and other media to recognize girls are not gender stereotypes. Their website calls for “media creators to rethink products in development and ensure they teach girls to be strong, intelligent, and adventurous.” They’ve started a Twitter campaign, #TruthInAds.
The Alliance website quotes from research on the effects of body misinformation in advertising, noting that the 3 most common mental health problems among girls are eating disorders, depression, and poor self-esteem. Here are a few other stats from the website:
- 42% of girls in grades 1-3 want to be thinner
- 53% of 13-year-old girls are unhappy with their bodies
- 78% of 17-year-old girls are unhappy with their bodies
- 30% of high school girls and 16% of high school boys suffer from an eating disorder
- Adolescent girls report more fear of gaining weight than getting cancer, losing their parents, or nuclear war
A young woman working with the Brave Girls Alliance created her own message on YouTube
These young women have stepped forward to defend themselves and their peers from deceptive advertising. Our Chrysalis After-School programs deliver lessons to girls on avoiding the myths and stereotypes presented in the media, helping girls learn how to be strong, fit, and healthy.
It’s not just girls – as adults, we need to remember that every comment we make, every criticism we convey, the kids are listening…be sure you’re conveying the truth, not perpetrating the fiction.