With society becoming more and more overly reliant on the media, there are many problems arising because of the expectations that are planted in our heads by television, the internet, magazines and newspapers. These problems consist of lack of self-esteem, feeling overwhelmed, depression, eating disorders and suicide. Unfortunately, the main victims of the media are girls and young women. On top of having the duties of a normal kid or young adult, like going to school or getting a part-time job, they now have to also look a certain way, or act a certain way all while making it seem effortless. This may not seem like a huge concern for some, but the importance of this issue is getting more crucial as time goes by.
This is why my team and I have decided to start a campaign against social pressures that affect young women called That’s What She Said (TWSS). All women of any race and sexuality of ages 12-24 are welcome to participate in workshops and events that we hope to start over the summer and expand into the Fall of 2012. These workshops will be made up of various discussion groups that will expand on topics such as body image, relationships, LGBTQ and education.
This summer, we want to host a photo shoot called “What is Beautiful?” for young women and this photo shoot will be completely unedited. These young women will be of all races and sizes and will have complete liberty in how they want to look during their shoot. After the shoot, they will each have to write an article about their experience, why they think they are beautiful, and post their pictures online for the world to see. The purpose of this event is to let other women (and themselves) know that editing programs like Photoshop don’t make women beautiful. We believe that confidence makes women beautiful. And by the end of this photo shoot they will all be confident, therefore their natural, unaltered beauty will shine in and out of their photos. Body image is one of the biggest issues facing today’s girls and young women. They look at models in ads everywhere and wish they looked like them. What many of them don’t realize is that most of these models are fake. They have been photo-shopped into being skinny or having perfect skin. But they’re everywhere and this is who girls even at ages as young as seven years old want to be. In order to cover this topic we have done a lot of research on how the media is affecting the increase of eating disorders in teenage girls. This is why this event will be the perfect official launch for TWSS.
Our project will continue as a school club at two test schools. IS 141, a middle school in Astoria, Queens, and LaGuardia Arts, a high school in Manhattan. We plan to hold a presentation during school hours explaining what TWSS is (along with offering some incentives) in order to recruit some members. Hopefully after our presentation and our first club meeting, word of mouth will help us have a solid group of young women to start working with. Our club will meet once a week for a couple of hours starting in approximately mid-October and will run until April.
Aside from the workshops and events, we have also started a Facebook page (www.facebook.com/RealTWSS ), are working on a website, and we also have GreenEyedJupiter,a blog that posts on a lot of these issues that will also post about TWSS. We hope that with the Facebook page, blog, and website, our audience will grow, maybe even internationally. Women around the world can read and post things on the Facebook page, without the pressure of anyone judging them.
The goal of this project is to eventually form a community of young women who can help younger generations get through these same pressures. The reason why we are doing this is because we have experienced dealing with one or more of these pressures ourselves, as well as seen other girls deal with them, and sometimes not in the best way possible. When someone feels as if they have no support, or no safe zone, it’s easy for them to fall into depression or suffer from eating disorders and not seek help. These are the kinds of situations we would like to avoid, or at least help by putting this campaign into action.
With this campaign we hope to encourage girls to speak about the issues they face, whether it has to do with what is shown in the media, or what they deal with at home or in school.Ultimately, what we would like to accomplish through this campaign is for people everywhere to know “That’s What She Said”.