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News & Press: GS News

Girl Scouts hosts Healthy Media for Girls Summit in Washington D.C.

Saturday, October 23, 2010   (0 Comments)
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Academy Award-winning actor Geena Davis and other leaders from the entertainment, policy, business and youth-serving communities joined forces to promote healthy media images of girls and women at the Healthy Media for Youth Summit on Wednesday, October 6, 2010. The summit was a partnership of Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA), the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), the National Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA), and The Creative Coalition (TCC), where attendees considered and identified ways to promote media messages that inspire, empower and engage youth.

The Healthy Media for Youth Summit grew out of research findings from the Girl Scout Research Institute’s (GSRI) survey regarding body image, Beauty Redefined. Results from the survey highlighted media’s significant influence over girls. Findings show that nearly 90 percent of girls surveyed say the fashion industry and/or the media place a lot of pressure on them to be thin, even as they realized that the fashion industry’s models were "too skinny” (65 percent), "unrealistic” (63 percent) and "unhealthy” (46 percent). The survey also revealed that despite this criticism, 3 out of 4 girls said that fashion is "really important” to them. Recognizing the importance of this topic, GSUSA, NAB, NCTA and TCC came together to elevate this important issue and promote healthy images and media literacy.

Opening the conference, GSUSA National Board member, and CEO and President of Temin and Company, Davia Temin, set a positive tone for the day. She acknowledged that controversy and negativity about media exits but encouraged attendees to focus on "actionable, common sense solutions.” Following Davia’s comments, the assembly heard from Federal Communications Commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker; Kyle McSlarrow, President and CEO, NCTA; Gordon Smith, President and CEO, NAB; and Robin Bronk, CEO, The Creative Coalition. Other Hollywood luminaries and members of The Creative Coalition were also in attendance, including Emmy-Award winner Alfre Woodard, and actors Steven Weber, Teri Polo, and Rachael Leigh Cook. Toni Gutierrez, a senior scout from Girl Scouts of San Gorgornio Council, served as Master of Ceremonies and impressed attendees with her poise, confidence and ease behind the podium.

The summit brought together experts who led discussions on the many aspects of healthy media and media literacy. Panelists included: Salaam Coleman Smith, President of The Style Network; Suzanne Malveaux, CNN White House correspondent; Ann Shoket, Editor‐in‐Chief Seventeen Magazine; Emme, Supermodel and leading advocate for positive body images; Erin Fuller, CEO of Alliance for Women in Media; Maria Brennan, CEO Women in Cable Telecommunications; Kim Myles, host of HGTV’s Myles of Styles; Jess Weiner, author, self‐esteem expert and the Global Ambassador for the Dove Self‐Esteem Fund; Lisa Dollinger, Chief Communications Officer, Clear Channel Communications, Inc.; Judy Schoenberg, Director of Research and Outreach, Girl Scouts of the USA; April McClain‐Delaney, DC Director, Common Sense Media; and Teen Girl Scouts from the Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital.

A new public service announcement was unveiled at the Summit urging youth to "watch what you watch” and have a greater understanding about the images in media. The PSA directs viewers to a new web page ( girlscouts.org/watchwhatyouwatch), which offers media literacy information and resources. We encourage you to watch it, post it, and share it with those you care about.

As a follow up to the Healthy Media for Youth Summit, a Blue Ribbon Commision is being formed to further explore the issue of healthy media for youth and to offer specific recommendations to promote them. Plans are also underway to convene "community conversations” with several Girl Scout councils around the country to continue the discussions, partnerships and work started at the Summit. For information on this project, contact the Girl Scouts of the USA Public Policy and Advocacy Office at advocacy@girlscouts.org.

See a slideshow from the event on flickr

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