Brave Girls Want Change!
One of the great rewards of this work for women and girls is the global collaborations that have been forged by like-minded people who recognise there is strength in numbers: that a combined voice will achieve more.
The latest exciting initiative is Brave Girls Want, a powerhouse think tank and advocacy group that brings together experts, activist, and parent voices to communicate why our culture needs healthier media for its girls.
I’m honoured to be one of the global partners. So is Collective Shout: for a world free of sexploitation.
We are asking 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. To stop profiting from selling girls short.
We believe that girls deserve better, because we know that the consequences to girls’ well-being are serious. The alliance is asking media creators to rethink products in development and ensure they teach girls to be strong, intelligent, and adventurous. We are tired of girls being pigeon-holed and reduced to homogenized images and stereotypes.
We are asking media creators to practice corporate social responsibility – to take the sexy out of childhood. Reducing female characters’ value to being about physical appearance and nothing more damages girls.
Brave Girls Want, as described on the website, is
A force of leadership asking everyone from parents, educators, loved ones, legislators and businesses to support, empower, and encourage brave, adventurous, strong, smart, and spirited girls. We are looking to rid the world of labels that confine, constrict or compress the growth of our girls so they can be their most authentic and awesome versions of themselves.
The initiative was spearheaded by the amazing Melissa Atkins Wardy of Pigtail Pals and Inês Almeida who I interviewed in September 2012 when she launched ‘Toward the Stars’, an online marketplace of products for girls which were gender stereotype and sexualisation free.
Inês made this You Tube film to launch Brave Girls.
Says Melissa: “The BGA takes its unique collection of voices to pair our expertise in girl advocacy with our passion for healthy, empowered girls to work as advocates when speaking with media content creators and corporations to guide a conversation on how to improve media.
“We also bring girls voices to the front, so that they may speak directly with media creators and tell them what messages, characters, and stories they want to see and hear.”
As part of Brave Girls Want, the alliance is planning to invade Time Square on October 11, coinciding with the International Day of the Girl. For seven days, we will rent a billboard in Time Square and talk about what we want for our girls and what they are telling us they want for themselves: fewer limits, more choices, less photo-shopping, more real images, less sexualization, more time to enjoy childhood.
“We have kicked off a revolutionary campaign that is bringing together the power of social media with the power of old media (billboards) and giving a voice to communities all over the world to be showcased on the business street corner in the world – Times Square, “ says Melissa.
“We need all the support we can get to make it happen and have our voices for what brave girls want seen and heard by millions just as the holiday shopping season kicks off.”
You can support the campaign here. Sign up to Brave Girls Want and please kick in whatever you can to buy some messages in Times Square!
And ‘like’ the Brave Girls Want Facebook page
“When we label our children, we unwittingly define them.We provide definite limits that tell our children what we think of them, what we expect of them and who they are to be…As we all want our children…to have every opportunity to flourish into the person they are meant to become, it’s vital that we stop labeling and acknowledge room for growth, change and reinvention.” — Dr. Robyn J.A. Silverman