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Watch What You Watch

We all play a part in putting an end to the proliferation of unfair images and portrayals of girls and women.

On November 13, Anna Maria Chávez, CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA, and the Healthy Media Commission released The Report and Recommendations of the Healthy Media Commission for Positive Images of Women and Girls at the Geena Davis Institute’s Third Symposium on Gender in Media in Los Angeles, California. This report outlines recommendations that support a more positive and gender-neutral media environment for women and promotes the healthy development of a girl’s social, emotional, and physical well-being.

Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan addresses this issue on a daily basis through programs and services designed to build up girls’ self esteem and confidence. A more targeted approach is taken annually during GSHOM’s Girl Developers Summit which focuses on providing parents, adult volunteers and anyone who interacts with girls with resources to combat the unrealistic images portrayed as “beautiful” and “healthy” by the media.

These are more than just efforts and go straight to the heart of GSHOM’s mission to build girls of courage, confidence and character who will make the world a better place.

Recognizing the need for gender balance and positive portrayals of women and girls in the media, Girl Scouts of the USA—along with the National Association of Broadcasters, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, and the Creative Coalition—hosted the Healthy Media for Youth Summit at the U.S. Capitol in October of 2010. At the summit, a cross-section of stakeholders gathered to explore this subject and chart a course to promote healthy media for the benefit of all young people.

Participants at the summit recommended that a commission be formed to explore these issues, identify emerging and best practices, and create a sense of shared obligation and commitment to promoting gender balance and positive portrayals of women and girls. The Healthy Media Commission, which grew from an idea proposed at the summit, comprises more than fifty leaders from the media industry, academia, youth-serving communities, and the creative community

The Healthy Media report is unique and innovative because it provides a detailed blueprint of recommendations and strategies for four different categories of stakeholders who impact the media culture, from the media creators themselves to parents, educators, and youth. The belief is that each player has an equal role and responsibility in facilitating change. This report is the crucial first step in creating a more positive media environment for women and girls. www.Girlscouts.org/HealthyMedia.

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