This past week was our second About-Face Take Action meeting. We’re continuing to work towards our goal of having this year’s group of girls speak out against harmful media messages that negatively affect the way people look at themselves.
It was great having another opportunity to get to know the girls. We even had some new additions to our group! Haley, who has been volunteering with About-Face for almost a year, joined us fresh from her trip to Spain–and still jet-lagged!
To start the meeting, we watched and discussed clips from Generation M, Killing Us Softly 4, and Miss Representation. The films raised our awareness of idealized beauty, the burgeoning cosmetics industry, the objectification of women in advertising, and eating disorders as a result of these unrealistic ideals. Miss Representation also brought to light the fact that women are being short-changed in public forums–women make up only 17% of Congress, yet make up 51% of our overall population!
We were delighted to hear the girls’ voices on these subjects and how they are sick of seeing the same types of cookie-cutter images of women. Not only are these images false, which the girls got to comment on during last week’s subvertising activity, but they also negatively affect the way men and women interact and the way men view women.
Following the discussion, we took to the streets to do some Yay Scaling. Some people were hesitant, but the girls took charge of the activity and stressed the fact that the scales weren’t going to show a number, but a compliment. People who stepped on were pleasantly surprised to find that they were gorgeous, amazing, and alluring!
All pumped up from Yay Scaling, we headed back to the offices to brainstorm our Final Action. Jennifer took down notes while the girls threw out their ideas. The only criteria for these potential action ideas were that they were to be public, positive, and productive.
One idea was “defacing” ads by putting posting poster boards near them so that people could comment on what they thought the ad was really saying, or by having a worksheet or a poll where people write about the way particular ads make them feel. The girls also thought to have t-shirts that say positive things or that people could write their own messages on.
Another idea included mirrors which have three images: what ads tell you you’re supposed to look like, what you really look like, and what everyday individuals look like.
The major theme of this brainstorming was that the girls wanted to give people an opportunity to say or write something good about themselves. Towards the end of this session, it was looking like a combination that included all the girls’ ideas in some way might be the winner.
The girls Final Action is scheduled for Saturday August 20th in San Francisco. Email us for more details as we get closer to this date, and stay tuned to hear and see what unique action the girls decide on!