The campaign came about as a result of our experiences with harmful gender stereotypes, seeing so much sexism in the media and our desire to teach girls not to accept this. Our Media Mindful campaign is all about giving girls the skills they need to be critical and challenge what they read, watch, create and share. We want to encourage young people to take action and make sure the media is more equal and fair.
All too often the media focuses on appearance rather than skills and abilities – this is what’s having negative implications on young girls’ mental health. Therefore, it’s vital more people know that in no way do they have to live up to the media’s standards and that they are worth more than their looks. Currently 68% of girls aged 11-21 think newspapers, magazines and influencers on social media need to do more to stop reinforcing harmful gender stereotypes, while 51% of girls aged 11-21 are worried about fake news.
We are now calling for different media sources (newspapers, magazines, influencers etc.) to commit to taking a gender-sensitive approach when creating content and stop using narratives that reinforce gender stereotypes. It’s time to start celebrating and promoting a more diverse range of women that really reflects the population, particularly in reality TV and the beauty and fashion industry.
In addition to this, we want politicians and the public to call out gender stereotyping in the media when they see it – for example, articles that compare women’s bodies and promote body shaming. The most popular kind of media for young people is social media platforms, therefore, we are also calling on them to urgently address the ways in which its users add to appearance pressures. And for there to be greater transparency on how girls and young women can be engaged and empowered to raise and report concerns where they see them.
To help achieve our goals we’ve created a fun, hands-on challenge pack and badge to support girls to explore representation, intersectionality and how different forms of media use gender stereotypes and the negative impact this has. The pack contains different activities tailored to each section to ensure it’s age-appropriate, like analysing adverts, rewriting sexist news articles and reflecting on how social media makes us feel. Plus, girks can write to their MSP, MP or local media outlet about what needs to change using our handy letter templates!
Whether you’re a Girlguiding member or not you can get involved and help us spread the word about the Media Mindful campaign by printing off and sharing our digital supporter sign on social media! All you have to do is write your name and pose for a picture then tag us @GirlguidingScot using #MediaMindful.