Smart cookies! The Girl Scouts of the USA are behind a new bill promoting positive images of girls and women in the media.
Bethany Sanders: Officially introduced to Congress by U.S. Representatives Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), the bill will promote education and research into the effects of media images on girls and women, while asking marketers to adhere to voluntary guidelines.
From the Girl Scouts blog:
"The bill would support media literacy programs, promote research on the effect of media images on young people and encourage the adoption of voluntary guidelines to promote healthier media images for youth. The Healthy Media for Youth Act is part of a Girl Scout effort at the federal, state and local level known as 'Live Healthy, Lead Healthy,' which seeks to engage policymakers and community leaders around key health and well-being issues affecting girls."
Laura Westley, Senior Vice President of Public Policy, Advocacy and the Research Institute, said in a press release about the bill:
"By promoting the Healthy Media for Youth Act, Girl Scouts is being a voice for girls on an issue that directly and disproportionately affects them. Girl Scouts recognizes the need to bring attention to this important issue, which affects girls' self-esteem, body image, eating habits and social and emotional development."
In 2007, a task force from the American Psychological Association determined that the sexualization of young women in TV, music, magazines, films, video games and Internet media harms girls' physical and mental health. And a Geena Davis Institute report found that women were five times as likely to be dressed in revealing or sexual clothing than men [in the media], and that even female cartoon characters are drawn in a sexually exaggerated fashion -- with impossibly thin waists, long legs and big doe eyes. (Just look at "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" or "Monsters vs. Aliens" for great examples of this effect.)
Which is to say that this legislation is a long time coming. If you'd like to support the Girl Scouts in their effort to fight back against harmful images in the media, then visit the Girl Scouts Advocacy Network and contact your representative today.
You go, Girl Scouts!