Bravo, Bloomberg: NYC Girl’s Project tackles low self-esteem and poor body image

I smiled when I read about the recently launched NYC Girl’s Project campaign with the tagline, “I’m a girl. I’m beautiful the way I am”. I couldn’t help but think: what better place to launch such a campaign than a city notorious for fashion shows and modeling?

NYC Girl’s Project has partnered with SPARK Movement to launch a campaign to redirect the focus of young girls from the unrealistic beauty standards in media, to the innate beauty that each and every one of them have in themselves. The posters are displayed on buses, subways, and in a variety of other places.

What separates this campaign from others? The fact that all the images used in the campaign are real. There are no models, just real girls being themselves. There is a young girl in a wheel chair, another playing the violin, and a third with glasses, just to name a few.

There is a versatile range of ethnicity, height and body shape, and interests. These are images of beauty that young girls can relate to and see themselves in; ones that uplift them and boost their self-esteem, instead of putting them down and making them feel bad about themselves.

It is one thing to create a campaign, but it’s another to design it in a manner that truly “walks the walk” and makes it relatable to those it is targeting.

Along with the posters, which create awareness of the campaign and spread the message, the project has also developed curriculum titled: “Full of Ourselves: A Wellness Program to Advance Girl Power, Health, and Leadership.” It will be offered in over 200 after school programs this year.

So far, this project has shown positive results in sustained improvement in body image and self-esteem among girls who have been involved. Another exciting program that will be offered is a course that teaches girls how to look at media critically and understand how it impacts their self-esteem. This course is the result of collaboration between NYC, SPARK Movement, and the Paley Center for Media.

Critics have noted that the word “beautiful” may not have been the best word to use in the title, given the campaign’s intent to combat beauty standards in the media.

Despite that, I think the campaign in doing an excellent job of helping young girls improve their body image, and reducing the impact that media has on them. Plus, the campaign explains that their use of the word “beautiful” is aimed at expanding the definition of beauty from the current rigid definition defined by media.

What is your opinion of the NYC Girl’s Project Campaign?

Katelin Jordan is a recent university graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in General Studies, with concentrations in Sociology and Communications. She currently works as a clinical research assistant at the VA Healthcare System. She is the proud pet-parent of her two year-old Manx-shorthair mix cats, Chocolate Chip and Oreo.

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