MediaSavvyGirls' mission: empowering young girls in a media-saturated world
I am a doctoral researcher based in UK and I am just about to complete my PhD research on media and young girls, project which was fully funded by a 3-years scholarship at Nottingham Trent University.
My main curiosity in undertaking my PhD project was finding out whether there was some kind of relation between girls’ media habits and their embodiment of femininity: in particular I was curious to see how young girls are influenced by the media pressure to look beautiful and sexy and which contextual factors make girls more resilient or more vulnerable to this pressure.
Due to my own past personal struggle with eating disorders I was also interested in seeing whether there was a connection between young girls’ media consumption, their perception of advertising and their body image issues.
During my research I felt tremendously inspired watching young girls (age 8-11) talking about their media experiences and I became more and more intrigued by their different ways of perceiving and expressing femininity, observing and hearing their stories, their reality of living in a media world saturated by images and messages which constantly suggest girls to act in a certain way.
From advertising to TV programs, from videogames to magazines, from songs’ lyrics to music videos, the emphasis is relentlessly on showing off a good-looking and sexy outer shell, when there is so much more in every girl to be nurtured and cherished.
Perhaps the most important thing that I learned from my micro-cosmo of young girls is that they learn from very young age that a girl/woman is appreciated by society mostly on the basis of her look & sexiness. And that most of them (even the ones who are not particularly “girly” in their orientation) conceive this as a POWER and fun, not as a limitation.
The problems I’ve experienced during adolescence and throughout my twenties are common to an increasing number of girls and a clear reflection of the struggle on the part of girls to define and construct their own female identity in terms of the highly contradicting dictates of societal and media pressure regarding femininity.
I believe that the pressure young girls feel today is more present and ubiquitous than ever before and we should act on this problem AS EARLY AS WE CAN, without waiting that these girls enter adolescence, as probably at that point it will be a lot harder to intervene because these ideas will be already totally “ingrained” into their being.
Empowering young girls' through media and social literacy education is now nothing less than an urgent necessity. There are a few organisations operating in US & Canada, but - surprisingly - there is virtually no action in this direction in UK (you can find out examples about these important projects in my blog www.mediasavvygirls.com).
I have founded MediaSavvyGirls as a non-profit organisation and grass root movement because I strongly believe that this kind of provision should NOT have a price tag and be offered to ALL girls, particularly the ones in disadvantaged and marginalised communities.
Why crowd funding? Be the sparkle!
MediaSavvyGirls is just starting out!
During the last two years I have assembled a considerable amount of social and media literacy resources and made connection with some brilliant collaborators who have helped me through the process: educators, children and youth psychologist, parents consultants, body image experts, visual artist and therapists just to name a few.
Now it's the time to put these resources and collaborations to good use, but to really get off the ground MSG needs funds!
I am working hard to adapt these resources for young girls (two age groups: 7-11 & 12-16 ) and create an online and off-line kit which could be freely distributed through our website and other social media to as many girls as possible.
I would really like to see this project directly supported by people, communities and businesses across UK and beyond: this is because in this way we can send a clear, unmistakable message to government, institutions and other potential funders about the urgency of the problem: let's show them that there is indeed a fully conscious, determinate, pro-active community ready to bring about change in the life of young girls in UK and worldwide!
This is why I consider your input in kick starting this project so important.
The more we'll be able to raise, the louder the message will be.
See it like this: you will be the igniting sparkle of a huge explosion to come! ;-)
The social impact
Our goal is to transform the way young girls see themselves in relation to society and media portrayals.
We believe that enabling young girls to understand how society & media messages regarding femininity are constructed will make a staggering difference in the way they will live their life.
Through social and media literacy, girls will start to see an universe of new possibilities opening up in their mind. They will stop believing n the hype and lies of advertising and celebrities culture, change their priorities and the choices they will make throughout life.
Ultimately they will be free from the constriction of a commercial and ideological system which hampers their dreams & aspirations and squander their physical & emotional wellbeing, as a girls now and as a grown women later on.
Through the power of social media, the initiative will enable a cross-pollination of shared experiences, empowerment and innovation that will be disseminated worldwide.
What the money will be spent on
The funds you will contribute to raise will enable MediaSavvyGirls to make a good start by:
- funding the creation of a social & media literacy video animated kit which will be the main resource for both online and offline engagement
- reaching more and more girls through its social media awareness campaign, both online and offline
- recruiting volunteers and girls' ambassadors to get the project finally off the ground. We will start with a pilot scheme in Leicester with a long term vision of expanding through collaborations around the world (already established contact with some organisations in Canada and US).
- starting the training of a pilot team of volunteers and girls ambassadors to ensure the provision of free talks & workshops in schools, associations, youth & community centres. The pilot scheme will be runned locally (UK, Eastmidland), but once successfull we will expand operations through established collaborations around the world.
- developing a dedicated website www.mediasavvygirls.org which will be the online interface to support shared learning and empowered co-creation of media and social literacy resources between all girls participating in the project
Why should I contribute to MSG's venture?
Ø I am a girl or a parent of one. I want MSG to happen so I can be benefiting of this great initiative myself.
Ø I'm not a girl or a parent of one, but I want to help young girls develop their confidence and live a happy life. This page makes it so easy to help!
Ø I am an educator or someone who really care about social and media literacy education. I want to put my money where my mouth is and possibly be a trainee/trainer for the project.
Ø MSG is the next big thing. I sense it, and I want to be able to say that I gave the seed money for it.
Ø I am a business or an organisation and I love the idea of social impact start-ups. Companies that care about their social impact and not only about their bank account: it's a refreshing concept that I want to encourage.
Ø I believe that through this initiative we will raise confident thriving girls, ultimately bringing talent to this country and worldwide. MSG is a great way to enable talent to flourish.
Ø I was deeply impressed by the idea and your hard work, and want to help you fulfil this dream.
The impact you can make
There are perks available for ANY budget and we value ANY donation, no matter how small this may seem to you: it is the power of collective action that makes a difference!
£1 - be our Loyal Supporter!
£5 - be our Friend!
£10 - be our Enthusiast!
£25 - be our Visionary!
£50 - be our Activist!
£150 - be our Sponsor!
£250 - be our Partner!
Other Ways You Can Help
Some of you may be unable to contribute financially and that's ok too: that doesn’t mean you can’t help!
This is what you CAN do:
- Ask your friend and network to get the word out and make some noise about our campaign!
- Use the Indiegogo share tools to post our campaign link on various social media & forums
- If you have a particular idea, want to get involved or you think you can contribute to our mission in any way, drop us an email and we'll make sure to reply within 24 hours ;-)