We hope this inquiry won’t go the way of all the others before it – doing nothing to rein in the vested interests of marketers, advertisers and the media and allowing business as usual, despite the growing body of global evidence of the harms to young people due to the proliferation of hypersexual images and messages inundating them daily.
Children and young people are growing up in a high-tech culture steeped in relentlessly sexualised, sexualising and sexist messaging from media, advertising and popular culture which conditions them from a young age to view themselves and others in terms of their appearance and sexual currency. While women and girls are primarily the subjects of hyper-sexualised media representation, these messages also play a crucial part in socialising men and boys to see the sexual objectification of women and girls as normal.
Many adults are overwhelmed by the task of protecting and equipping children as they navigate the contemporary media and social landscape. The current legislative and regulatory environment is piecemeal, confusing for the community to navigate, and tends to serve the commercial advantage of corporate and marketing interests to the detriment of the community – children and young people in particular. Despite a number of state and federal inquiries demonstrating the need for systemic reform, media classification and self-regulatory schemes have failed to halt or even slow the proliferation of imagery and messaging through electronic, print and social media and marketing that demeans women, reduces them to sexual objects, fosters a culture which condones sexual violence, and pressures young girls to act in prematurely sexual ways.
Collective Shout is critical of the self-regulatory system currently favoured in media and advertising, which allows free rein to marketers while placing the burden of action on those most at risk of exploitation and harm. In particular, we are concerned about the lack of effective incentive or enforcement to deter those who are making a profit from the sexualisation of children and young people. Media and advertising interests have had ample opportunity to hear and act on community concerns but have instead have chosen to protect their vested interests. It is time for government to step in and act on behalf of children and young people
Recognition of the harms of sexualisation as a public health crisis requiring swift and decisive action on behalf of children and young people.
The restructuring of the current regulatory environment to bring the regulation of all media and marketing together under one encompassing independent federal regulator, including a division with the primary responsibility of protecting the interests of children and young people, addressing both the direct and indirect sexualisation of children in all media modes from a child-rights basis.
Equipping parents and carers with the appropriate media literacy tool and institutional supports, to raise children who have the ability to be critical consumers and creators of media.
The evaluation and implementation of appropriate school-based education programs to educate children and young people about the harms of sexualisation, and funding to help schools secure these resources.
For a child-rights based approach to addressing the harms of media hypersexualisation, including respect for the voices and points of view of children and young people.
That the prevalence of sexualised images of women in our society be recognised as a significant underlying contributor to violence against women and girls.
The commissioning of comprehensive research to establish the extent of the exposure of children and young people in NSW to sexualising media content. However, this research should not preclude swift government action on the basis of the evidence that already exists.
*Full submission will be made available when it appears in submission listings on the NSW Parliament website.
‘We are enrolling them into a billion-dollar global industry that objectifies, oppresses and conditions women to believe they are created for sex’
The studio is dim. Neon lights flash around the room in a club-esque fashion. A swarm of what appears to be 6-year-old girls climb, twist and twirl around the floor-to-ceiling iconic poles that will be used for much more than monkey’s business once it’s past their bedtime. Dance attire for sale at this Bendigo, Victoria, pole dance studio include booty shorts with ‘Flirty’ plastered across the bottom.
“We didn’t want to get it mixed up with the concept of adult pole dancing,” says Saari Frochot-Ryan, owner and manager of Z Fit Studios, which hosts the ‘Monkey Kids’ pole program for children aged 3-11.
“The classes are completely child appropriate,” says Frochot-Ryan.
Z Fit Studios also offer ‘Teen Pole’ lessons, as well as a range of ‘naughty’, ‘sexy’ and ‘provocative’ adult classes. On the company’s website, this ad appears below the ‘Monkey Kids’ information:
According to The Project, in an episode last month, pole dancing is the booming new exercise fad for Australian children. Promoted as innocent child’s play, instructors promise a fun fitness experience with significant health benefits.
Welcome to the 21st Century: where we create a child-friendly replica of the most prevalent symbol of the adult entertainment industry and label it ‘fun’.
This is pornified culture disguised as a shiny after-school sport. It may be pole dancing training wheels now with upbeat music, neon colours, kindergarten giggles and games; but in a few years a riskier game begins.
Pole dancing has a long-standing association with the sex industry. It was hailed an icon in the burlesque scene throughout the 1950s, and by the 1960s was established worldwide in gentlemen’s clubs, strip joints and red light districts. Pole companies argue that its origins trace further back to the traditional Indian sport ‘Mallakhamb’: a strength training method executed on a vertical wooden pole.
What they fail to mention however, is that the sport was developed for male wrestlers and women were banned from participation. The sport was deemed culturally inappropriate for women due to the pole’s symbolism: a phallus, or spiritual representation of the male genitalia.
The pole permeates time and culture with the sinister notion that women are decorative objects to be twirled, twisted and tangled around; a global denotation of the way we reduce women to mere titillating instruments. The pole teases out the approval, gratification and sexual advances of a male audience who pay for this ‘entertainment’ around the globe; the exchange of cash for voyeuristic pleasure.
This history is now prettily packaged as a fun fitness opportunity for your child to achieve optimum strength, flexibility and coordination. Let’s take a look at what will be available for your daughter in a few short years.
At Pole Princess in Victoria, there are six class options available for teenage girls. They must have the written consent of parents to attend, and fathers are not permitted inside the studio. Aside from the ‘Sexy Legs’ and ‘Princess Workout’ classes, there is the ‘Booti-Funk’ option that, as stated on their site engages “sexy exotic movement.” Or your daughter could enrol in the ‘Burlesque’ lesson, which uses traditional burlesque choreography combined with “the sexy dancers of today, like the Pussy Cat Dolls.”
At Poleates in Blacktown NSW, girls as young as 15 are invited to participate as ‘pole virgins’ in the ‘Virgin’ class for beginner dancers.
Desert Pole Fitstate in their ‘Pole Fit for Kids’ advertisement that “in order to become a professional pole dancer, it is never too early to start.” Directly below this, a video plays of a dancer on her knees, seductively removing her skirt to reveal an underwear and stiletto combination, before launching onto the pole.
And over in Sydney’s north, teenage girls aged 13-16 can attend classes at Pol-arise. According to their website, girls will find themselves “developing washboard abs, tight toosh and a long, lean, sexy physique”, whilst simultaneously resolving “self-confidence and body confidence issues.” This is the image the company uses for self-promotion:
In contrast to the claims made by Pol-arise, the pressure to achieve a ‘sexy physique’ holds no resolution for body image issues. Sexualisation is a proven, direct causal link to body dissatisfaction, eating disorders and the rapid decline in girls’ psychological health.
Kids pole programs are an embodiment of the way culture distorts girlhood to fit an adultified mould. As Linda Papadopoulos writes in her review commissioned by the UK Home Office, The Sexualisation of Young People, we are “legitimising the notion that children can be related to as sexual objects” through engaging children with hyper-sexualised behaviours.
“We are raising a generation of girls aspiring to careers requiring a ‘sexy’ image”
We are raising a generation of girls aspiring to careers requiring a ‘sexy’ image. A UK online survey asked 1,000 teenage girls their dream profession. Out of the available choices including teaching and medicine, 63% selected ‘glamour modelling’ and a quarter of girls placed ‘lap dancing’ as a preferred choice.
The aspirational connotations associated with sex trade and pornographic practices, according to Papadopoulos, are reflective of our pornified culture.
This deeply ingrained cultural mindset has led us to believe that girls’ engagement in pole dancing is a harmless practice. I disagree.
Search ‘pole dance kids’, and the fifth result is of a primary school-aged child imitating mainstream pole movement to a sultry soundtrack in her home: complete with hair flicks, back arches, knee spreads and a delighted online troll who says: ‘She’d look even better wrapped around my pole.’
Search ‘pole dance teens’ and the inappropriate content warnings issued by YouTube are indicative of what kids pole programs are setting little girls up for: grinding, twerking, thrusting, leg spreads, body rolls, sliding and crawling along the floor in padded bras, g-strings, lingerie and ‘naughty school girl’ costumes. And this is all before turning 18, where girls may then transition into adult lessons around the country ranging from beginner, to advanced ‘strip and lap’ classes.
Encouraging our girls to partake in a key income-generator of the sex industry is a mistake.
We are enrolling them into a billion-dollar global industry that objectifies, oppresses and conditions women to believe they are created for sex. We are enrolling them into an economic and cultural landscape that proliferates the commodification of the bodies of women and girls; a culture that screams body before brains.
Let girls run, kick a ball, surf, dance, hike, indoor rock climb, balance the beam at their local gymnastics club. There are many fitness avenues that are not founded on the premise of gratifying male sexual demand.
Jemma Nicoll is a UTS Journalism graduate and freelance writer. She is the founding director of Inspire Creative Arts in Sydney, and facilitates self-esteem development programs for girls.
Readers wanting something of substance from Dolly’s June issue would do best to skip the first half and go straight to the second. Articles on self-harm, hate pages and unhealthy attitudes toward food redeem the insubstantial nature of the pages that go before.
‘Would you “like” a hate page?’ explores the phenomenon of online hate pages. A hate page is explained as any page set up on social media to incite hatred, violence or racism towards a group or individuals. Susan McLean of Cyber Safety Solutions explains there are more hate pages around now. “Many people who participate in hate pages wouldn’t behave this way in the real world. There’s a lack of accountability online, so people think they can get away with it,” McLean says. A pack mentality can also be at work, where the more ‘likes’ a page gets the more others join in. Readers are reminded that under state cyber bullying laws, people posting comments or threats on hate pages can be charged. Psychologist Meredith Fuller explains that ‘liking’ the page is the cyber equivalent of looking on while someone gets bullied. Readers are encouraged to report hate pages. A related piece is ‘How I fight bullying’, with three girls telling their stories of addressing bullying in groups including The Hope Project, Angels Goal and Student Harassment Investigation Team (S.H.I.T).
The feature on self-harm is very welcome. Exploring the distressing phenomenon of ‘cutting’, Dolly tells the story of Emily, 15, who started cutting when she was 12. “I do it in secret and hide it as best I can. Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed that the only relief I can get is to hurt myself,” she says. An estimated 10 percent of teen girls self-harm. It should not be put in the category of attention-seeking (most girls try to hide the habit) – it is a response to intense emotional pain. Those who engage in the behaviour get a temporary sense of relief, with emotional pain transferred to physical pain. Jasmine, 16, shares her journey of recovery, replacing the act of cutting with positive activities until the urge to cut has passed and talking to trusted people about it. Jasmine has a blog called Perks of Recovery. Read more
Whenever I pick up the latest issue of teen girl mags, I hope to find articles which might inspire a global vision in girls, expand their horizons and help them see they can make a contribution in the world. So I was very pleased to see the piece: ’Who runs the world? Girls!’ While the header is somewhat exaggerated, the article describes the different lives and rights of girls around the world and gives examples of young women working to change their cultures. The campaigning of Malala Yousafzai, 15, for the rights of girls to an education in Pakistan is included. You may recall she was shot by the Taliban in October last year and is now recovering in the UK. Readers can log on to educationenvoy.org to learn more. Arranged marriage and not allowing women to drive are examples of denial of rights of women in Saudi Arabia. Manal al-Sharif (who I had the pleasure of hearing speak via a Skype presentation at the Great Women Inspire event in Brisbane on International Women’s Day in March) was arrested for driving a car in 2011 and initiated the Women2Drive campaign which readers are encouraged to support on Facebook. Sexual violence in India is highlighted, with readers encouraged to join the OneBillionRising.org movement against it. In the US, Julia Bluhm, 15, collected 84,000 signatures for an online petition asking Seventeen magazine to stop retouching pics. Staff have now signed a Body Peace Treaty pledging never to alter a model’s face or body. My only quibble here is the treatment of North Korea. Amnesty International, writes GF, “alleges that North Korea imposes severe restrictions of association, expression and movement.” The horrendous human rights violations against North Koreans by its own rulers are not mere allegations! An estimated 200,000 are locked away in prison camps (gulags). First-hand accounts demonstrate the reality. “North Korea’s prison camps are a closed-off world of death, torture and forced labour where babies are born slaves, according to two survivors who liken the horrors of the camps to a Holocaust in progress.” GF mentions North Korea’s imposition of officially approved hairstyles which yes, indicates a certain lack of freedom. But perhaps forced labour, being tortured in a concentration camp or watching your family starve as a result of your Government misdirecting money to create the world’s biggest militarised state are also worthy to include. North Korea is also described by GF as ‘a self-reliant’ state. That’s one way of putting it. Totalitarian is another. And I’m not sure how self-reliant is a country where 16 million people require food aid according to the UN. (I would love GF readers to read The Orphan Master’s Son, the 2013 Pulitzer prize winning novel by Adam Johnson. While fictional, it draws from real suffering of the people of North Korea. It’s one of the most profound books I’ve ever read). Read more here
There’s been a ton of media coverage on the adultification and sexualisation of children lately. This program aired on Channel 7’s Today Tonight Monday. Click picture below to view clip.
And just a clarification re the KMart campaign. It wasn’t actually me who was instrumental in getting KMart to pull certain items – that win was the result of grassroots protests by a number of individuals and it happened pretty quickly. However I was encouraged to receive a call from KMart CEO Guy Russo personally apologising and a short time after, with Julie Gale of Kids Free 2B Kids, to meet Guy and his staff at the company’s Melbourne headquarters. KMart was invited to sign Collective Shout’s Corporate Social Responsibility Pledge which asks corporates to sign a statement of intention not to objectify women and sexualise girls in products and services. We hope to make an announcement soon.
And great to see this issue get Page 1 treatment in the Daily Telegraph this week.
“There really is a global backlash” – MTR
Netmums website finds parents believe modern life steals kids’ childhood
PARENTS believe childhood ends at 12 and blame pressure from friends, celebrity culture and social media for rushing kids into adulthood.
Almost 90 per cent of parents think modern children grow up faster than previous generations, while one in two parents admit their daughters worry about their Facebook popularity, a survey by the Netmums website has found.
Modern tweens prefer to play alone on iPads, with 83 per cent of their parents saying their favourite activity was playing outdoors.
Boys are under pressure to be “macho” and “good at everything” while girls are under “immense strain to be thin” and sexy before being mature enough to cope.
Do you agree? Tell us below.
The British survey found 54 per cent of parents were angry with retailers, saying clothing for girls was too sexual, provocative and short.
The anger against retailers who foster the “pornification of culture” was growing, said Melinda Tankard Reist, co-founder of campaign group Collective Shout. “There really is a global backlash about forcing children to grow up too fast and telling little girls they have to be thin, hot and sexy to be acceptable,” she said. Read more here.
I have had the privilege of knowing and working with author, publisher and educator Maggie Hamilton for the past few years. As well as her own books including What’s Happening to Our Girls? (Viking, Penguin 2008) and What’s Happening to Our Boys? (2010), Maggie is a contributor to my last two books with chapters ‘The seduction of girlhood’ in Getting Real: Challenging the sexualisation of girls (Spinifex Press, 2009) and ‘Groomed to Consume Porn: How sexualised marketing targets children’ in Big Porn Inc: Exposing the harms of the global pornography industry (Spinifex Press, 2011). Maggie decided she had to produce something beautiful for girls as a gift for them, which she’s done. I spoke with Maggie ahead of her book launch in Sydney tomorrow night.
I wanted to put something together that was fun, funky and joyous for girls, as so much of what they experience in pop culture is dark and depressing. It’s concerning to see a whole generation of girls becoming slaves to leading brands, and causing girls serious anxiety around looks and possessions. This in turn forces them to get on the spending treadmill very early.
The book is packed with art and craft ideas, with getting girls back to the soil, to earth, to imagination and discovery. Why do you feel girls have been cut off from what was in the past just considered normal every day hobbies and interests for girls?
Research suggests that almost all the spare time girls have is spent in packaged entertainment or shopping, which is pretty depressing, as there’s not a whole lot of life experience happening there. Living in a performance culture also means girls are constantly trying to keep up with what’s expected of them, so they’ll maintain the acceptance and approval of peers. This leaves little time for anything else.
Girls also take their lead from the rest of us. We’ve all become seduced by endless opportunities for instant gratification. In the process we’ve lost a lot of nuance from our daily lives – the joy of a personal handmade gift, or the fun and real sense of satisfaction at having to work for something, to watch it slowly unfold before us.
I’ve profiled fabulous vintage blog queens from London to Brooklyn, for example, to encourage girls to think vintage. The joy of vintage clothing is that these garments are about story – someone wore this dress or jacket before you and, if you look after it, it will look after you. Vintage items are often better made. Girls can re-purpose an outfit simply by changing the buttons or removing the sleeves or changing the hemline. They can then enjoy wearing a genuinely individual item. Vintage clothing is also great for girls of different shapes and sizes as there’s other decades that work perfectly for their bodies.
With the overwhelming marketing to girls there’s little chance to learn about their own story. There’s something very special about learning a little here and there about your family history from the discovery of an old button, postcard or photo. But as girls are increasingly pre-occupied with lives of celebrities, this isn’t happening. So in the book there’s a number of fun ways to change this.
Clearly we need more than a new book to solve the problem – but what contribution to you hope Secret Girls’ Business will make to helping girls rediscover their creativity and reclaim their imaginations from the onslaught of advertising, marketing and the global beauty industries which demand conformity to an idealised norm?
We are seeing a radical drop in imagination and personal creativity in girls, as they’re growing up in worlds full of branded junk. Crafting helps girls become confident about their own ideas and self-expression. It also helps them unwind from their full-on 24/7 world.
Crafting is deeply personal. You invest your love and time in something which you gift yourself or someone you care about. It can be hugely inspiring and comforting as well. Recently a girlfriend was diagnosed with an aggressive breast cancer. She said all she wanted to do was go home and knit. Handmade is precious, it brings intimacy back into our fast-paced hard-wired existence.
I recall when you were working on your last book What’s happening to our boys, you described feelings of trauma, and needing to recover from what you had learned during the research phase. Is this book part of your healing?
Yes, doing the research I have has taken its toll. When you’re spending a couple of years at a time looking at what’s going wrong for our kids, it can be deeply challenging. There were many times I felt overwhelmed with the issues girls face. Putting Secret Girls’ Business together has been so healing, because creative projects and ideas are life-enhancing. There’s something very profound in these activities. They feed the soul.
Do you think we all need to consider scaling back, getting off the treadmill and discovering places of peace and simplicity?
Putting the book together has made me rethink my own values, how I live and what I want from life. I now see how invaluable it is we reconnect with each other. Our kids need a village to grow up in. They need the support of committed engaged adults, the wisdom of their elders, meaningful rituals, to spend time in nature, to have more fun and laughter, more opportunities for spontaneity.
That’s why I’m now encouraging older women to volunteer to teach girls to knit and hand sew in schools, in community halls, in their homes or wherever. It’s about knitting the generations back together again, providing a fun relaxed space for girls to be creative, where they can make things for charity. It’s also about sharing life stories as you knit or sew. Creativity and fun go together – we need more of it.
A few weeks ago I met a beautiful 28-year-old teacher who’d recently lost her mum who had been a great knitter. She was looking for a way to honour her mum, and is now setting up an SGW group to do just that.
Book launch: Monday 24 September, 6.30pm at Better Read Than Dead, 265 King St, Newtown 2042
‘A safe haven from the commercialisation and sexualisation of girlhood, a place full of gifts that inspire and enable girls to reach for the stars. A venue that will motivate and support artists, independent producers and businesses to innovate and to explore new products that have the potential to change the world’
One of the many privileges of this work is the inspiring women I’ve met in Australia and globally, who feel the same way on the objectification of women and sexualisation of girls – and are taking action to address it. One of these women is Inês Almeida who I met last year. She is an entrepreneur, activist and business leader who applies her skills in technology, business, strategy and innovation to projects related to the health, wellbeing and education of girls. Until recently she was part of the Global Executive team of a large IT consulting firm. In April she has left the corporate world to focus on TowardTheStars, a global online marketplace focused on empowering gifts for girls. I interviewed Ines ahead of the launch.
Can you tell us your motivation for launching ‘TowardTheStars’ Ines?
I was born in Portugal in a small town in the Atlantic Coast and have an Engineering degree in Computer Science. For most of my life I have been part of male-dominated environments – my career path led me to roles that are stereotypically associated with men. The ratio of women to men in my university classes was never higher than five percent and things did not improve as I joined the workforce.
I was raised with seven boys – a brother and six cousins. I had a very healthy childhood away from stereotypes and gender limitations, but as soon as I joined the workforce, and especially as I moved into leadership roles, I was faced with self doubt. I was different, the odd one out. First I tried to fit in and be one of the guys, model their style, but that really didn’t work for me. As I matured and gained confidence and experience, I learned to accept myself and to create a leadership style that matched my personality and my strengths.
As I started coaching my fellow female colleagues, I discovered that we shared a lot of common patterns: we struggled with the lack of female role models, we were trying to release ourselves from passive, voiceless female archetypes and we had impossibly high standards, a need to be perfect, congenial and at the same time highly effective. This left little space for risk taking and audacity. Failure of any kind was seem as a catastrophe. It was feared and avoided, and because of that the muscles related to resilience and resourcefulness were not being flexed enough.
Six years ago a little girl came into my life, Ally, two-and-a-half-years-old. She spent weekends with me and I fell in love with her. As I immersed myself in her world and started to look at the world through her eyes, I was at first drawn by the magical world of princesses, Barbies, sparkly dresses and tutus. But as time went by I started becoming more uncomfortable with what I was experiencing. I was looking at the root cause for all my own limiting beliefs; I was looking at the reason why my colleagues struggled to speak up, why women were risk-averse, why girls don’t pursue science, engineering, technology, math, sports and leadership.
Ally was surrounded by toys, books and media that were telling her everyday that her value came from her external appearance. She dreamed of being Snow White, a voiceless passive princess waiting to marry her prince; she wanted to look like Barbie, a doll with impossible proportions. I started noticing that science kits, sports gear and building blocks where placed in the ‘boys’ section of toy stores with boys pictured on the packaging. I came across the horribly sexualized Bratz Dolls and started noticing the sexualized media surrounding Ally.
Ally was my biggest teacher; this was a time when I went through an enormous adjustment of my core values and belief system. I wanted to rebel, for me, for her and for all little girls. I decided to do something about it and started to raise awareness with parents and educators via social media. I created my own ipad app with empowering stories for girls 7Wonderlicious and my community grew to 100,000 people online across several social media channels. This year I decided to leave my corporate executive role in IT to launch TowardTheStars a global online marketplace for empowering gifts for girls.
What are you aims?
My aim is to continue to inspire and motivate a tribe of parents, educators, business leaders, entrepreneurs, activists, artists, craftspeople and loving adults to come together in defence of healthy girlhood.
TowardTheStars will be a safe haven from the commercialisation and sexualisation of girlhood, from the toxic gender stereotypes that dominate marketing, media and products targeted to children and young adults. It will be a place full of gifts that inspire and enable girls to reach for the stars. A venue that will motivate and support artists, independent producers and businesses to innovate and to explore new products that have the potential to change the world.
What kind of products will you be offering?
In a world overwhelmed with messages that restrict the definition of girlhood, and tell girls that their value comes from their external appearance, it is imperative to showcase girls who are courageous, strong, bold, determined, accomplished and athletic. Girls who are leaders, scientists, adventurers, politicians and, of course, superheroes. TowardTheStars will be filled with books, media, clothing, games and toys that counter stereotypes, products that tell girls that math and science are “girly” subjects too, that tell her that fixing her bike and saving the day are girls’ activities.
We will also have a huge selection of gender-neutral and eco-friendly products. Clothes that allow our girls to move freely and play in the mud, building blocks, sports gear and so much more.
I am also very excited with our partnerships with not-for-profit organisations and businesses that will use the profits from product sales to support causes related to girls all over the world. My goal in the coming years is to drive as much funding as possible to causes related to the security, education, health and wellbeing of girls in less privileged parts of the world.
How many companies have signed up so far and from what countries?
We have 250 business, independent producers and not-for-profits from all over the world currently signed up to TowardTheStars. At the moment many of our sellers and buyers are based in English speaking countries – US, UK, Australia and Canada – but we are starting to see significant engagement from our large third world economies like India, China and Brazil and also northern European countries.
Are you pleased with the response so far?
I am very pleased with the response! The success of this marketplace is very much dependent on the number of great business that decide to join this movement, and I am delighted with the positive response. We have many businesses and craftspeople creating new products inspired by TowardTheStars, we have artists reaching out to us asking for ideas and suggestions from parents and girls as to what products they would like to see in this marketplace.
Do you think TowardtheStars will send a message to mainstream corporations that many of us who care about girls aren’t satisfied with the limited, sexualised, gender-stereotyped products and services they offer girls? Do you think it could help contribute to the global groundswell for change, demanding corporate social responsibility?
As an idealist, passionate activist and entrepreneur, I am certain of it. I strongly believe in the power of movements when they bring together consumers, like-minded producers and artists. The benefit of this type of venue is that it has the potential for rapid expansion and high visibility online.
With TowardTheStars, businesses create their own shops for free, the combined tribe of sellers generates a lot of buzz for themselves. Every time anyone links to the site or mentions the site online the brand becomes exponentially stronger. Everybody wins.
I know through media literacy work I do on social media via twitter and facebook that consumers are desperate for such products, they just find it very hard to find them. Once TowardTheStars is launched they just need to go to one place, they will vote with their dollars which in turn will give a very clear message to the big corporates in the only language they understand.
When is the launch?
I am working night and day on the launch of TowardTheStars, so that parents can enjoy this venue during their Christmas shopping.
The current plan is to have a beta launch in late September for our passionate online community and then to have a huge media push early November all over the world. I am asking our sellers to set up shop next week.
My medium to long-term plan is to include our boys who are also faced with toxic stereotypes that are as damaging for them and to the women who are, and who will be, part of their lives.
Doing this project on my own is the ultimate endurance sport, but I am enjoying every moment. I am taking a huge risk with TowardTheStars as I left my job and have not been receiving salary for the past five months. I knew the only way I could deliver such a bold project was to focus on it full-time, so I took a leap of faith that will hopefully be the first of many bold leaps in my path to make the world a better place for all our children.
MTR on Channel 7′s Morning Show today with adolescent psychologist Dr Michael Carr-Gregg and dance studio teacher Nikki Webster, commenting on an episode of US reality TV show ‘Dance Moms’ in which little girls are taught sexually provocative dance routines.
Antoinette Jones – Principal – Mitcham Girls High School
“Intelligent, passionate, brilliant, fearless… I could not recommend her more highly”
Dr Michael Carr-Gregg
“You continue to reset my shock meter…”
“As a teacher and parent I recommend all parents, in fact all people, to attend a talk by Melinda- it will open your eyes and awaken your subconscious.”
Heather Douglas – Parent – Pembroke School
“Melinda’s presentations to our parents, staff and full day workshops to students was inspirational, transforming the attitudes and thinking of all involved”
Paul Teys – Principal – Hunter Valley Grammar
“Melinda Tankard Reist’s presentation to Middle and Upper School students at Pymble Ladies’ College was absolutely brilliant!”
Justine Hodgson – English Faculty, Pymble Ladies’ College
“Melinda Tankard Reist has had a transformational affect on our school.”
Ms Stephanie McConnell, Principal – Turramurra High School
“As you read, be prepared to feel both grief and rage.” Robert Jensen
“These accounts are among the most unsettling you will ever read.” Steve Biddulph
“This powerful and humane book is a breakthrough…Big Porn Inc shows us we are poisoning our own spirits.” – Steve Biddulph
“A landmark publication” – Clive Hamilton
Purchase Big Porn Inc, Getting Real, Faking It, Men of Honour, Sexts Texts & Selfies, Raising Girls, Raising Boys, MTR DVD, Ruby Who? DVD & book, Girl Wise guide to friends, Girl Wise guide to being you, Girl Wise guide to life and Girl Wise guide to taking care of your body, and the new Wise Guys for the combined discounted price of $250.
‘The foremost authority in Australia cyber safety lays it on the line and challenges parents to find their digital spine.’ – Dr Michael Carr-Gregg
Whether it is problems with friends, worrying about how you look or just feeling a bit down in the dumps – these books are written especially for you – to help you in your journey. Purchase all four together and save $18.50 on postage! Author: Sharon Witt
In this DVD, Melinda takes us on a visual tour of popular culture. “Melinda’s presentation leaves audiences reeling. She delivers her message with a clarity and commonsense without peer.” – Steve Biddulph, author, Raising Boys, Raising Girls
In this easy-to-read updated book, Steve Biddulph shares powerful stories and give practical advice about every aspect of boyhood.
“Overflowing with incisive understandings…a comprehensive and in-depth guide.” – Dr Michael Carr-Gregg, Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychologist
Men of Honour -written by Glen Gerreyn- encourages and inspires young men to take up the challenge to be honourable. Whether at school, in sport, at work or in relationships, we must develp our character to achieve success and experience the thrills life has on offer.
Purchase the Ruby Who? DVD and book together for only $35 saving 10% off the individual price.
“Getting Real contains a treasure trove of information and should be mandatory reading for all workers with young people in health, education and welfare” – Dr Michael Carr-Gregg, Adolescent Psychologist
Do you read women’s lifestyle magazines? Have you thought about how magazines might affect you when you read them? Faking It reflects the body of academic research on magazines, mass media, and the sexual objectification of women.
Ruby Who? is the sweet and innocent story of a little girl’s adventure in re-discovering her identity. Ruby wishes for so many things and dreams of being like others. Will she end up forgetting how to just be herself?
Ruby Who? is the sweet and innocent story of a little girl’s adventure in re-discovering her identity. Ruby wishes for so many things and dreams of being like others. Will she end up forgetting how to just be herself?
Defiant Birth challenges widespread medical, and often social aversion to less than perfect pregnancies or genetically different babies. It also features women with disabilities who were discouraged from becoming pregnant at all.