Helping girls gain confidence during childhood can go a long way towards developing positive self-esteem for life. For girls exposed to unrealistic pictures of airbrushed models, a healthy body image can be hard to cultivate. With this in mind, New York City is launching the “NYC Girls Project,” an ad campaign with accompanying curriculum aimed to empower young girls. According to research done by the NYC Girls Project, girls as young as six or seven struggle with body image issues. Over 80 percent of ten year-olds are afraid of becoming fat, and by middle school 40-70 percent of girls are dissatisfied with two or more parts of their body. To create a more constructive message, the campaign focuses on real children who are confident, assertive, and accepting of their beauty and individuality.

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The $330,000 campaign will focus on reaching girls from ages seven to twelve. The ad images will be displayed on buses, in subways, and on kiosks featuring a diverse group of girls engaged in activities like playing sports, reading, and drawing. The project will be paired with curriculum entitled, “Full of Ourselves: A Wellness Program to Advance Girl Power, Health, and Leadership.” The eight-session course was introduced to schools this summer to great success, and will soon be expanded to 200 after-school programs.

The NYC Girls Project will further partner with the City, SPARK Movement, and The Paley Center for Media to offer two class offerings called “Girls, Body Image, and the Media” and “A Brief History of Girls on Television.” The courses will look critically at how women have been represented in advertising and entertainment and identify both positive and negative messages within the narratives.

For more information, or to acquire the curriculum for your school or community center, contact [email protected] You can also follow their Twitter feed at #ImAGirl.

+ NYC Girls Project

via Mother Nature Network