So I’ve decided that, despite the scarcity of time available during the writing-up of my thesis (only two chapters left!), as a first step in my social venture I should be writing a blog.
The aim of this blog would be to document my own journey through collecting reflections, ideas, resources, links and any other sort of material which could be useful to advance the cause of media literacy and empowerment for young girls.
Through the blog I will be interacting and communicating my aims to the world, possibly making good contact with suitable collaborators and other campaigns and charities in the field of girls’ empowerment and media literacy.
But now let’s talk about the real project:
I have in mind to set up a social enterprise through which girls can be educated and their femininity nurtured in a real way, beyond the fake and the hype of the sexualised beauty promoted by most media products. Although I am convinced that it should not only be about educating them: the time of lecturing young people are behind, we should also take advantage of their own creativity, their own eagerness and sophistication in using new media technologies.
What I have in mind is an empowering media project with a dedicated You Tube channel (MediaSavvyGirls) and a website (www.mediasavvygirls.org) where girls can vent their frustrations regarding the media pressure they feel through videos, pictures, art, music, prose and any kind of resources they see fit, proposing topics of further reflections and discussion and sort of support and empower each other through collective sharing and a new courageous consciousness of what a girl can be.
I am now at the recruiting stage where I will be seeking through social networks girls wanting to be involved as co-researchers in the project.
Through word of mouth and networking a real MediaSavvyGirls movement can actually build up from scratch, with each girl acting as ambassador and inviting new collaborators. This is actually possible today on a global scale.
And I am looking for women (and men) equally committed in the cause as parents, professionals, teachers/educators, writers, artist, charity workers, researchers or in any other capacity, who could collaborate in any way to the life of this project: even just spreading the word or tweeting some link can make a massive difference.
One initial facet of the project should be about “let the girls talk about their experience of media pressure, what it’s fun about media and what’s not”. Let’s give the chance to these girls to have a common sharing place where they can vent their frustrations, tell their stories and propose new ways to react. Eventually, as their input and sharing grows, their material can be sorted into categories and new ideas and productions can start to flow. The website and video channel can then be developed at a higher level to suit higher capacity and higher demand: there is really not set limit on what can be achieved!
And of course the movement should be as inclusive as possible, including girls from any culture, any religion, any race, any cultural and economic background. And it must recognise that not all girls are the same, that we are all different from the start as innate temperament and then socialised into some role from our family/school/media/society.
So some girls might love the “beauty trap” and they will be happy playing with make-up and all the rest and this is ok too, as long as they don’t limit the “whole entity” of what they are to that: an outer shell remains an outer shell, simple as that, and this should be understood from an earlier age.
Can we get more girls to reflect on this? On the many ways they can be? Is sexiness really power? Or is this constant push to be sexy and beautiful a little bit “over the top”? (to use an expression often used by my participants)
And another important question is also: how can we reach the younger (7-11 or even 4-6 years old) and the most vulnerable ones?