Their empowerment summer
Leadership Exploration camp boosts girls' self-esteem
This article originally appeared in The Boston Globe
clad women fawn over a fully dressed man in an advertisement for hair
products. There are many images like that sprinkled throughout the
glossy pages of the gossip, teen, and fashion magazines being passed
But the young girls scrutinizing them are not impressed. In fact, they're a little miffed.
never really thought about how bad it was until today," said
12-year-old Sarah Grove, after spending about an hour examining
magazines for both negative and positive images of women. "I would
really look at them differently now."
Grove was one of
about two dozen Framingham middle school girls participating in a
session on "Beauty and the Media," part of a three-week camp to help
girls build their self-esteem and their leadership skills.
The girls unanimously agreed that in the pages they examined, negative images of women were easier to find than positive images.
at Girls Inc., a New York City-based nonprofit organization with
programs all over Massachusetts, say educational programs aimed at
boosting the confidence of young girls have become more popular in
recent years, and are increasingly targeting earlier grade levels. The
organization conducts programs for girls as young as 6, talking with
them about self-esteem, the media's portrayal of women, and opportunity.
our research and from our experience, we are very aware that girls
today are growing up getting a lot of conflicting information about
what girls can be and should be," said Marcia Kropf, chief operating
officer of Girls Inc.
They see that a woman can run
for president but they also see - more often - women portrayed as sex
objects, she said. And they are bombarded by media images that
"celebrate self-destructive behavior among young celebrities," said
The Framingham girls were taking part in a Girls' Leadership Exploration camp, held at Pine Manor College
in Newton and funded largely through a federal Department of Education
grant. The agency's 21st Century Community Learning Centers program
supports school-based efforts aimed at lower-income students. Middle
school students participate during the academic year, and those with
good attendance are rewarded with the summer program. This is the
Framingham camp's third year.
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Sun, August 3, 2008