NYC Girls Are Beautiful! Bloomberg's Feminist Legacy

Monday, March 31 2014

Michael Bloomberg's legacy will include efforts to help NYC girls with their self-esteem. The NYC mayor has built a coalition to combat poor body image and low self esteem in girls through his I Am a Girl; I'm Beautiful the Way I Am Campaign. This mayor sure knows how to make an exit.


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New York City has become the first city in the nation to tackle the issue of girls' self-esteem and body image. As a response to this growing problem, the city has launched a self-esteem initiative to help girls believe their value comes from their character, skills, and attributes – not appearance.

The $330,000 project was engineered by Samantha Levine, Deputy Press Secretary to the Mayor, along with the collaboration of Ahlgrim Design Group, photographer by Richard Brathwrait, The Paley Center for Media, Spark Movement and the support of other city agencies.

"I'm a girl. I'm smart, a leader, adventurous, friendly, funny. I'm beautiful the way I am."The project is based on the concept that girls' body image is directly linked to the media that the girls consume. So, the City has teamed up with various media channels to present an alternative, realistic and holistic image that girls can begin to identify with. According to the studies that fostered the initiative; girls as young as 6 and 7 are struggling with body image and self-esteem and over 80% of 10-year-old girls are afraid of being fat. By middle school, 40-70% of girls are dissatisfied with two or more parts of their body.

The hope is that this project will have real implications on the future of girls; fostering self confidence and publically encouraging them to pursue their dreams will ensure that more women have visible roles in society. Despite the gains women have made in politics and business

The Details
The campaign takes advantage of New York City's resources in a multi-faceted, cross-agency approach by combining a public education campaign with a curriculum that promotes healthy eating, positive body image and self-esteem and critical thinking when it comes to images they see in the media.

The multi-agency, multi-faceted project includes:im-a-girl-1

  • A public education campaign geared toward girls ages 7-12 featuring a diverse group of girls performing activities like reading, playing sports, and drawing with the words: "I'm a girl. I'm smart, a leader, adventurous, friendly, funny. I'm beautiful the way I am." (See video)
  • A girls' self-esteem curriculum, "Full of Ourselves: A Wellness Program to Advance Girl Power, Health, and Leadership." This eight-session program designed for girls 10-15 years old is the first of its kind to show sustained, positive changes in girls' body image, body satisfaction, and body esteem. It was first piloted in two Summer Quest summer school programs this summer – to positive feedback – and this fall will be expanded in up to 200 after-school programs.
  • Two new class offerings for its K-12 education program, developed by The Paley Center for Media, in collaboration with the City and SPARK Movement: "Girls, Body Image, and the Media" and "A Brief History of Girls on Television". Clips from this compilation will be utilized in the classes as a catalyst for discussion and will be made available at paleycenter.org.
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To learn more visit the NYC Girls Project site.
If you are interested in providing the curriculum in your school or after-school program, please contact GirlsProject@cityhall.nyc.gov

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Amelia is a professional People Person, dedicated to helping people communicate and realize their ideas. After various lives in her native New York City, she has spent the last 8 years in Madrid chasing sunsets and traveling when she can.
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