Looks like girls' self-esteem is the new soda for Mayor Bloomberg as he unveils the city's latest public health campaign, NYC Girls Project (wait, isn't that what Lena Dunham is here for?). Primarily through upbeat, positive bus and subway ads, the initiative will help boost young girls', aged 7 to 12, self-image.
The $330,000 campaign will also offer physical fitness classes for girls, programs addressing self-esteem and a Twitter slogan #ImAGirl. The ads depict different girls of all races and sizes with their positive attributes ("caring," "curious," "creative," "adverurous"), ending with the slogan: "I'm beautiful the way I am."
Girls as young as ten are at risk of developing negative body images that can lead to eating disorders, drinking, acting out sexually, suicide and bullying. The idea is to influence these children to believe their value comes from within - not from their appearances (Then shouldn't the posters not use the word "beautiful?").
The campaign is spearheaded by Bloomberg's deputy press secretary, Samantha Levine, who said she was moved by stories of little girls worrying about their appearance and trying to look a certain way. She was also influenced by Dear Sugar advice columnist Cheryl Strayed, who claimed that “a failure of feminism was that women still worried about what their buttocks looked like in jeans.”
City officials revealed that this is the first initiative aimed at female body image that has been endorsed by a major city (yeah, because elsewhere tax dollars go to things like roads and schools, but those come second to feeling good in spandex).
Hopefully there is a real surge in little girls' female empowerment and self-image. In the meantime, we should probably steal one of these posters and post it in the gym. Or next to our closet's full-length mirror.