Mission: to teach middle-school girls & young women to discover their self-worth, and harness the power of media for positive change
WHY: The average teen girls spends 8 to 10 hours a day consuming media insisting she needs to be “hotter” and thinner to truly matter. Unfortunately, it’s taking a massive toll on our girls. Three of those hours are spend on social media, echoing the same sentiment. It’s no surprise that social media can be a breeding ground of insecurity, and research shows that spending more than two hours a day on it typically leaves girls feeling lonely and more insecure. At a time when the cultural landscape is deeply shifting, and the #metoo and #timesup movements are in full effect, we teach girls and young women to use their social media to lift up one another and advocate for themselves.
HOW WE’RE FIXING THE PROBLEM: MEDIAGIRLS is a non-profit that boosts the self-worth of girls and young women by teaching them to analyze and reject sexist media messaging, know their true self worth, and harness the power of media for positive social change. In giving girls these tools, MEDIAGIRLS stands at the forefront of a girl-powered revolution to make over the media through challenging the status quo and creating empowering content for girls and young women everywhere. We focus on social media platforms, like Instagram and Twitter, because girls dominate this world in numbers, and can make immediate change.
- MULTI-WEEK PROGRAM IN SCHOOL OR AFTERSCHOOL: We provide 8-, 10- or 16-week programming, taught by female college Mentors in Boston, who we recruit and train. In Part 1, participants learn to think critically about media’s influence on girls, define their self-worth, and create empowering content using social media. In Part 2, participants create, launch and promote an eight-week social-media campaign using Instagram and YouTube designed to empower girls on a topic of their choice.
- PARENT WORKSHOPS: In our 90-min workshop, we help parents and educators understand the complicated world of girls and social media, and provide a concrete road map with strategies for making their favorite apps healthier and more positive for girls.
- 60-90 MINUTE WORKSHOP FOR GIRLS: Middle-school participants discuss in this workshop the pros and cons of social media, along with the repercussions of unspoken “girl rules” on various platforms. Together they create a new plan for making Instagram, Snapchat and other apps more inspiring, supportive, and powerful for girls and young women.
- FREE ONLINE RESOURCES: We provide free resources and activities and a blog to help parents and educators engage girls in discussions about how media shapes our attitudes, and how we can collectively transform the culture of media for girls and women.
- 96% of MEDIAGIRLS participants are able to identify their self-worth based on their inner qualities as a result of our program.
- 81% of MEDIAGIRLS participants reported feeling “better about their self-worth” as a result of our program.
- 96% of MEDIAGIRLS participants site specific ways to make social media more empowering for girls as a result of our program.
- 96% of our Mentors report that because of volunteering at MEDIAGIRLS, they are more likely to take on a leadership role.
- 86% of our college Mentors report that because of MEDIAGIRLS, they use social media to take a stand on meaningful issues.
OUR HISTORY: In 2014, award-winning filmmaker, journalist, and bestselling author Executive Director Michelle Cove launched MEDIAGIRLS, after her nine-year-old daughter Risa almost quit swimming because her thighs were “too big.” Michelle heard more and more of Risa’s peers stressing about how pretty and thin they were, and wondered why parents were not striking back against media’s role in creating this relentless pressure on young girls. In response, Michelle developed and taught an after-school curriculum for middle-school girls, once a week for 90 minutes for 10 weeks. After one year of piloting the program at several schools in Boston, Michelle began recruiting and training female college volunteers (“Mentors”) to expand the program and help girls make over the media. Read Michelle’s “Letter from the Founder” for more.
- MEDIAGIRLS programming will be taught in the Boston area at 12 schools, mainly in underserved communities, in Fall 2018
- Approximately 600 girls have completed our after-school program since our start in 2018
- Over 4,000 girls and parents have participated in our standalone workshops for middle-school girls
- Over 28,000 unique visitors have used our website to access strategies and activities
- MEDIAGIRLS won 2nd place ($17,000) at PowerLaunch’s Pitch-In in 2016
- MEDIAGIRLS won 1st place ($50,000) at TUGG pitching competition in 2017
- MEDIAGIRLS was named “Partner of the Year” by the national organization Citizen Schools n 2018