While I was on maternity leave, I became obsessed with Good Morning America (and Ellen!). I loved the news casters and their quick humor and most of all, I loved getting the daily world news. And now, since I’ve been on summer break, I get to watch my favorite show again each morning. A couple weeks ago on the GMA Heat Index, they showed several ads empowering women and inspiring young girls. It really made me reflect on my parenting and how to inspire Ivy and the students that I teach. One Verizon ad and campaign showed some statistics that 66% of 4th grade girls say they like science and math. But only 18% of all college engineering majors are female. What picture did this paint? As a 6th grade science teacher and mother, what am I doing wrong here? How can we encourage girls to keep up their love of science and math and the inquisitive mind? This ad was genius and really got me thinking.
Speaking of science and math, GMA also mentioned this ad from GoldieBlox that I checked out. This company makes toys for future engineers and innovators for girls. This “Princess Machine” is so awesome! These girls take all of their toys and create a whole domino obstacle type machine that is fascinating! You go girl!
This next one was Dove’s “Real Beauty” ad. This forensic artist was in a room and a stranger would come in hidden behind a curtain and describe themselves, being very critical of their face and looks. The artist drew the person as he listened to the descriptions. Then, a stranger that was talking to the person came in and described him or her and the artist drew another rendition of what he heard about the person. At the end of the video he has the person come and see the two copies of the portrait, the one that they described of themselves and the one the stranger described. The copies were so different. One woman says of herself, “she looks closed off and fatter, shut down, and sad. The second one looks beautiful. More open and friendly. Happy.” All of the people said they have some work to do on themselves and they realize they are more beautiful than they see themselves. Overall, this taught me to forget all of the self-perception BS that I go through and to spend more time appreciating the things I really do like about myself and my post-pregnancy aging body. Ditto to Ivy. This girl is going to love her image and recognize her beauty in her mind, body, and spirit!
This one by Always called “#LikeaGirl” is pretty AWESOME. They first show a bunch of women and men displaying different actions such as throw, run, or fight “like a girl.” Of course, all of the actions are ridiculous and pransy. It’s insulting. But then, they have young girls do the same actions “like a girl” and they are outstanding. The young girls were fierce, strong, capable, and confident. This shows how perceptions can be changed and “like a girl” should mean amazing things. Girls confidence can plummet through puberty and according to the study, only 19% of girls have a positive association with the phrase “like a girl.” Time to be more self-aware of how we see ourselves as women. This is a really powerful message. Change the way we look at this phrase because by golly, we are girls and Ivy is going to be one of the fierce, strong, capable, and confident ones! Watch out men :)
Pantene started a campaign “Shine Strong” with this ad. It shows various women apologizing when an apology is not needed. GUILTY right here. It’s funny as I was watching I just had to chuckle. Totally can see myself doing some of these! Why?! Sorry NOT Sorry! Boo ya. This targets gender inequality and inspires women to be more assertive and less apologetic.
Overall, these ads and campaigns show a message of calling action for feminism and empowering young girls and inspiring them to change the world. Girls need to receive these messages that they can do anything. I think that as a parent, we can change this idea of females that society has created. We can challenge our girls to venture into STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). Parents can foster this and understand to fuel those gifts and complement girls on more than just their looks. Fuel the persistence and commitment in our girls and help them understand those powerful words. This really makes me reflect with Ivy. Ivy is filled with curiosity and I need to make sure to keep that up, keep her hands dirty, and keep her mind flowing. Venture into the boys section to look at toys there if I have to! Forget about this gender stereotype! She might just be the next Isaac Newton ;)