Time for Solutions: Start with Education

Bottom line: If girls can’t see it, they can’t be it -- and if all they see are unrealistic images, they still can’t be it. Media is creating a powerful narrative by telling girls that they have substandard options to choose from - and even those are few and far between.

Women are left out of media, but so are girls. The few times girls have a significant role in media, it is usually negative. We know that women are sexualized in media, but this issue is just as big for young girls, who are told that their worth comes from one thing:

Media is talking, and both boys and girls are listening. Gender stereotypes teach girls to be victims and boys to be aggressors, and these negative stereotypes have serious consequences. Globally, girls already think that boys are smarter than they are by the age of 6 -- just one more reason why girls are more likely to drop out of school.

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The pink toy aisle is another effect of gender norms in the media. One toy is turning girls toys into educational fuel. GoldieBlocks creates engineering toys for girls, instead of princesses or pink dolls. But even they know toys aren’t enough, and that girls need role models on the screen reminding them that a girl can be anything a boy can be.

Pink isn’t all doom and gloom. Sometimes the princess stereotype can be used for good. This year Disney partnered with the UN initiative Girl Up to raise money for girls’ education through a social media campaign reminding girls around the world to dream big, and that real-life superheros are better than a Disney princess. The result: $1 million raised in less than two weeks.

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Okay, now it’s your turn.