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LEGO WILL MAKE ITS FIRST FEMALE SCIENTIST MINIFIGURE SET:
Result Of First Brave Girls Alliance Petition Campaign
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 5, 2014
www.bravegirlswant.com; Nancy Gruver 1-218-206-2219
BRAVE GIRLS ALLIANCE and kids won with its 2013 petition to Lego. On June 4, 2014 the toy company announced that it will release its first set of three female scientist minifigures, with lab equipment, in August, 2014.
The new alliance of parents, academics, psychologists, youth development experts and advocates had just formed when it threw its collective passion behind the minifigure set proposed by geochemist Ellen Kooijman. A popular petition on Change.org by BGA co-founder Melissa Wardy of Pigtail Pals and Ballcap Buddies gathered more than 42,000 signers who also voted for the female scientist minifigures in Lego’s Ideas contest. The Lego contest asks users to submit designs for future building sets. The winning entry has an Astronomer, a Paleontologist, and a Chemist.
Yesterday Lego said:
“We’re very excited to release Ellen Kooijman’s Female Minifigure set, featuring 3 scientists, now entitled “Research Institute” as our next LEGO Ideas set. This awesome model is an inspiring set that offers a lot for kids as well as adults.”
Nancy Gruver of BRAVE GIRLS ALLIANCE said today:
“The Lego announcement is a huge victory for all kids and for Brave Girls Alliance! This is success where parents are listened to by a huge toy company. Our group wants toys for both boys and girls to show women and girls as leaders making valuable contributions to society. What better way to do this than to make Legos of women working in STEM (Science, Tech, Engineering, Math) fields? We want children to have the chance to play with contemporary examples of women in many roles. Then children can imagine limitless possibilities for themselves and others.”
Brave Girls Alliance is a non-profit which asks media and product creators to expand their vision of what it means to be a girl, and recognize all girls as whole, complex people and not as gender stereotypes.
Thank You for supporting Brave Girls Alliance's launch with high energy in the past year! Now we're checking in to see what your priorities are for our second year starting in June.
Answer this very short survey before midnight May 15 to help us set our goals: http://bit.ly/1g0k28x
We were founded to focus on both education of the public and education of media and product creators.
You may have joined us with the Lego Petition, the Times Square #BraveGirlsWant billboard, or the #TruthInAds campaign.
We ask media and product creators to expand their version of what it means to be a girl, and recognize our girls as whole, complex people and not as gender stereotypes.
Now we look forward to hearing your thoughts. We'll read every answer and reply to questions if you include your email in your response.
Thanks again for your support. Answer this very short survey before midnight May 15 to help us set our goals: http://bit.ly/1g0k28x
I'm asking for your help to change the harm caused by deceptive photoshopping of people in ads.
Please take 10 seconds -literally- to sign this petition. Then take 10 more to share it.
- Sign the petition: http://www.change.org/truthinads
- Share it with short tweets and FB, etc. messages.
Write your own or adapt the ones we’ve written to make it super easy. Use the hashtags #BraveGirlsWant #TruthInAds and include @newmoongirls so we see how it’s spreading.
Here's why. If, like me, you've ever felt that your body, face, hair, etc. didn’t “measure up” to the “perfection” that ads show, join me in fighting those damaging images.
Even more importantly, join me in making the world better for all our kids by showing them they don’t need to chase such unreal “ideals.” Give your support for the bi-partisan legislation introduced in Congress on March 27, 2014.
The Truth In Advertising Act HR4341, asks the Federal Trade Commission to develop a regulatory framework for ads photoshopping and materially changing the faces and bodies of the people in them. The petition is intended to show the FTC and Congress and the ad-community that we the people want change.
This is the first time in 20 years of working on this issue that I think there is a REAL CHANCE for significant positive change. Adding your voice to the petition will make a difference.
So please: Sign It Share It
THANK YOU SO MUCH!
Thank you to Congresswomen Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Lois Capps for hosting today's briefing and introducing the Truth In Advertising Act of 2014 (HR 4341) on March 27, 2014.
If anyone here knows what a broken heart feels like, you know how I felt last week, when, as I was putting my daughter to bed, aprospos to nothing she asked me if I thought she was ugly. She is 8. And of course to me, she is as beautiful as anything that has ever been. My heart was broken.
My name is Seth Matlins, and I am here today because I will do anything I can to ensure my daughter and 7 year-old son are safe from advertising’s undue influence over how they see themselves.
And, I know something about how this all works, because until 4 years ago, I’d spent most of my career in Hollywood, selling everything from cars to soda to computers. I was paid over a million dollars a year to do it, which was nice, but not making the world better for my kids.
Around that time, I read about a Member of the British Parliament who had taken down Lancome billboards in London, because she considered the image of Julia Roberts in them so photoshopped that they were deceptive and damaging, creating a false and unrealistic expectation of what women could and should look like. So down they came.
And so I began wondering who in our government was working to protect my children from the indisputable and direct link between the false and unrealistic expectations these “photoshopped” ads create, and the health consequences that I knew they caused.
Not seeing anyone doing anything then, I started to. And now, 2.5 years later, here we all are, to talk about HR4341, the Truth in Advertising Act of 2014.
Why does this bill matter so much?
It matters for a million handfuls of real and life-impacting reasons…not the least of which are my beautiful son and daughter.
Truth in Advertising matters because everyone in this room is someone - or knows someone - who feels less than great about themselves after seeing one – let alone literally hundreds of thousands – of these ads.
And as a father, I am not okay with this, nor what it has done to generations and threatens to do to my children.
Truth In Advertising matters because advertising’s practice of routinely and materially misrepresenting the appearance of the people in advertising is three things:
To be clear, this is not an anti-advertising bill. It’s a Truth In Advertising Bill.
And this is not a First Amendment issue, it is a consumer protection and health issue.
Altered Bodies in Ads are Deceptive
These photoshopped bodies in ads are deceptive and damaging. They are “weapons of mass perfection,” inflicting harm on far too many for far too long - just to sell something.
We need Truth In Advertising because ads sell far more than products. They sell attitudes, values, image, identity, and expectations…all in order to sell products.
Our concern is not with ads photoshopping a blue-sky bluer or cleaning up fly-away hair. Those are immaterial changes that cause no harm.
We are concerned with ads that take someone and change them into someone they are not. We are concerned with ads that change Kim Kardashian’s body into Miley Cyrus’s. Ads putting a 6-pack on my stomach, or a thigh-gap on a model who doesn’t have one.
We are concerned with images that alter, erase and misrepresent the shape, size, proportion and color of the people in them, for the sole purpose of persuading you, directly and indirectly, to buy something.
Truth in Advertising matters because in 2014, like never before, pictures are claims, and are worth at least 1000 words. And if these photoshopped ads told the same boldfaced lies in words that they do in images, regulatory and/or legal action would have been taken long ago.
Indeed, the ad industry’s own National Ad Division has said, “An advertiser is responsible for all reasonable interpretations of its claims, not simply the messages it intended to convey.” But they haven’t taken that responsibility.
Altered Bodies in Ads Directly Linked to Consumer Health and Economic Damage
Causation and correlation has been found between the false and unrealistic misrepresentations of bodies in ads and consumer harm and damage. Researchers, doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, educators, the governments of Britain, France, Italy, Australia, Israel, and American health organizations including the Centers for Disease Control, and the American Medical Association are among those who have spoken out about the health risks.
In 2011, the American Medical Association, concerned with the link between advertising, body image, and child and adolescent health in particular, issued a new policy statement saying, “We must stop exposing impressionable children and teenagers to advertisements portraying models with body types only attainable with the help of photo editing software."
The AMA continued by asking the ad industry to, “... develop guidelines … that would discourage the altering of photographs in a manner that could promote unrealistic expectations of appropriate body image.”
In the 3 years since, the ad industry has not acted on the AMA’s concerns. Nor did they accept our invitations to this briefing. And so nothing has changed – except that tens of millions more of us having been exposed and affected.
Truth In Advertising matters, because not only are these ads deceptive, they are linked to an array of very harmful health consequences, including eating disorders.
It matters because I don’t want my children to become one more number among horrifying statistics like:
The damages to consumers are also economic.
Before even quantifying the direct and indirect healthcare costs related to treatments for depression, anxiety, and eating disorders, consider that the average US woman spends $15,000 over her lifetime on cosmetics, chasing a fabricated and make-believe ideal.
With 157MM women in the US, that’s $2.3 Trillion being spent over the next 70-odd years in that one category…based at least in part on advertising that manipulates, distorts and deceives.
Altered Bodies in Ads Directly Responsible for Influencing Consumer Buying
Truth In Advertising matters because advertising can change how we think, feel and act. Its sole purpose is to create demand and get us to buy. And if ads like this didn’t do that, if they weren’t proven to influence consumer purchase, does anyone think advertisers would keep doing this?
But beyond influencing us, advertising also influences our children, whether they are its intended target or simply, as with second-hand smoke, innocent bystanders unable to avoid these images and their meanings, implied and actual.
Our children trust and take the pictures in these ads at face value. They don’t have the skills to interpret or process the altered images and expectations they see. But based on the data, I’m not sure many of us do.
And if the images used to sell are not real, they are fake and false….and if false and intended to help sell, they are deceptive; and if they are deceptive, damaging and influence purchase decisions, it is time we all come together to do something to change advertising’s status-quo.
It's Time to Act Now
Unless we do something now, there’s a little girl who won’t be born for a year, but who will grow up aspiring to look like something she never can - because it is not real and does not exist – but she won’t process that.
And when she’s 10, despite being healthy, she’ll think she’s overweight. When she’s 13, despite being beautiful, she’ll be certain she’s ugly. Her hesitance at wearing a bathing-suit to the beach will morph into self-hate and harm and disordered eating. And when she’s 16, this will develop into anorexia or bulimia.
And, then despite the love she’s surrounded by, she’ll be unable to see past the distorted images in her mind to the beautiful, vibrant person her family and friends know her to be. And when she’s 19, with tubes in her body because she refused to eat, she’ll die of cardiac arrest, as her mom holds her one hand and her father the other. This may be dramatic but, sadly, it’s far more real than these ads.
Truth In Advertising matters because we can no longer sit by and allow these deceptive commercial practices to continue unabated as if they were harmless and innocent and ethical, because they are not.
Which is why YOU matter.
YOU matter because the preponderance of evidence linking this type of advertising to an array of public health issues is seen with absolute clarity, and yet nothing’s been changed.
We assume no evil intent by advertisers or their agencies. But it’s past time for them to be accountable for the side-effects of how they sell and not just what they sell.
Despite its moral and ethical imperative, the Truth In Advertising Act of 2014 is neither a silver bullet nor a cure for all that ails us. But doing nothing would be an injustice, and miss an opportunity to do something to stop what we know is deceptive and damaging. And if we succeed in making only a small difference, tens of millions of lives will be positively impacted…as will millions more - far less positively - if we don’t, and advertising’s status quo endures.
In supporting Truth in Advertising, you will know you stood up for what’s right and reasonable. You will know you stood up for children, girls and women, for all of us, and that together we said enough is enough. The unencumbered right of advertisers to distort, exaggerate and misrepresent the images of the people in their ads has come at far too high a cost for too long.
And so on behalf of my 7 year-old son Otis and my 8 year-old daughter EllaRose, thank you. Thank you for taking time to attend this briefing and thank you for taking Truth In Advertising back to your bosses.
As Victor Hugo wrote, “No army can stop an idea whose time has come," and this one has.
Today is the second International Day of the Girl and the Brave Girls Alliance is in New York to unveil our pro-girl digital billboard in Times Square that will showcase your voices and tell the world what #BraveGirlsWant.
Our girl empowerment warriors are starting to arrive in NY and the energy is AMAZING!!
We invite you to join us as we celebrate.
If you are in New York join us:
7:00 – 9:00 am EST on the plaza at the Good Morning America studio – Broadway & 44th St. Wear turquoise, orange, black or white jacket, scarf, hat or umbrella. Bring a hand painted sign (big bold letters in black) that says #BraveGirlsWant
5:45 – 7:00 pm EST in front of the Toys R Us store at Times Square – at the corner of 7th Ave & 44th St. This is going to be our main public event with 4 rounds of flash mob dancing & cheering when our messages come up on the billboard. Wear turquoise, orange, black or white jacket, scarf, hat or umbrella. Bring a hand painted sign (big bold letters in black) that says #BraveGirlsWant
If you can't be in New York:
From the 11th to the 18th of Oct we have rented a digital billboard in Times Square (amazing, right?!!) on 7th Ave & 43rd Street to showcase messages from girls and people who care about girls who want a better, more diverse, and non sexualizing media images of girls. Some very talented young women created a special Brave Girls Want dance that you can do too!
Talk to us on social media
Add to the thousands of Brave Girls messages flying around the world by checking our twitter hashtag #BraveGirlsWant, sharing your own messages and retweeting the messages of others. Let's tell the world what #BraveGirlsWant
This Friday, October 11th is the second International Day of the Girl. This is also the kick off date for our 7-day Take Back Media Times Square campaign by the Brave Girls Alliance. During this week, we have rented a digital billboard in Times Square (amazing, right?!!) on 7th Ave & 43rd Street and we will be showcasing messages from girls and people who care about girls who want a better, more diverse, and non sexualizing media representation of girls.
And to kick off the week of girls-loving billboard messages, we invite YOU, your friends, and all the girls you know to join us in Times Square to celebrate with a series of very short (easy-to-follow) Brave Girls Want flash mob-esque dance moves to draw attention to our sparkling billboard! We need you!
Read more about it here.
The Brave Girls Alliance has grown quickly since being launched just 5 months ago, as amazing allies, partners and supporters join us every day. We're thrilled and inspired by the enthusiasm, support and commitment for this initiative. Meanwhile, we're working to widen the circle of individuals and organizations willing to collaborate with BGA.
A central, “founding” goal for Brave Girls Alliance is to partner with people who create media. We ask those individuals and organizations to hear our message and learn to create content that is healthy and positive for girls.
Of course, that means that we will necessarily be working with media creators and producers who may have developed less positive and healthy media in the past—especially if they’ve been in the industry for any amount of time.
In order to help create the change our children need, we need to meet people in the media where they are. By finding common ground (and leveraging their self-interest as parents and/or people who care about children), we have an opportunity to help those people, ask them to see the impact of their work in a different way, and get them on board with creating a new kind of media.
Inevitably, this will be a journey for anyone or any company who chooses to partner with us. If we are so fortunate as to partner with some of the larger companies that we are hoping to influence, they will have former content that doesn't align with our vision. We want our vision to change their future content, so that our children’s future is better.
Fortunately, we already see some positive signs as we find people in the media who are genuinely eager to be part of our work.
We don’t expect that every person on every side of every issue will agree with BGA at every turn. We also know that we can’t generate change within media institutions if our approach is rigidly unforgiving or focused on censoring, excluding, and policing the people we are trying to move forward along the journey to healthy media creation.
Like many of our BGA members, we see the value in working with media creators and producers whose work is evolving to become healthier and more positive for girls and women. Like them, we have to contend with challenges and decisions, carefully considering our responses. Nevertheless, we are delighted with the opportunity and the challenge because we know we can make a significant difference.
We’re deeply grateful for the support BGA already has. If you’re an individual or organization who care about girls and women (inside or outside the media industry), we invite you to join us on this exciting journey!
Inês Almeida and Melissa Wardy
The Brave Girls Alliance
11th of October 2013 is coming up real soon!
11th of Oct. is the 2nd International Day of The Girl and the unveiling of our Take Back Media campaign that will showcase your voices in a digital billboard in Times Square, one of the busiest street corners in the world.
The Brave Girls Allies are working hard on our Times Square Revolution and Party!!! The enthusiasm is really palpable and everyone is working hard to make it happen.
I am very happy to announce that many of us at the BGA have managed to find a way to get to NY to participate in the event. We will have at least fifteen allies present in Times Square. Hurray! I will personally be in NY from the 9th to the 15th of October to celebrate the 2nd International Day of the Girl and experience firsthand what a couple of months ago was just a dream inside my head. Wow! What a great achievement by the entire Alliance and by all our wonderful supporters. THANK YOU!
We will soon be sending you more information but for now I will share with you the high level schedule for the 11th of Oct so that you can save the date and times:
In addition we will have a presence in Times Square throughout the entire day, so please stop by to say hi. We can’t wait to see you there and are organising some fun giveaways to share with you all.
For those of you who are not able to stop by in Times Square we will be providing social media coverage of the event and hope to be able to showcase to you what this wonderful community has managed to achieve. We hope that you will connect with us via social media and tell the world what #BraveGirlsWant.
A final note from me, remember to always dream BIG… better yet… dream BIGGER and multiply that by a thousand. Be bold and audacious in your aspirations to change the world, believe in yourself and find an outstanding group of peers that share your vision and have the same determination and some amazing super powers. No matter what comes your way, never ever give up because the universe conspires to help those who are determined to make a difference.
Breaking News! Two Brave Young Women join the Brave Girls Alliance to lead the Times Square Take Back Media campaign.
Due to the contributions of our community to the campaign we are now in a position to bring on board two outstanding young women to fill the two paid positions as project leaders for this campaign.
I am so proud and excited to announce that Rickelle Mason and Jazmin Martinez Sanchez were selected out of 45 outstanding candidates. Let me introduce you to our Campaign Leaders:
Rickelle Mason, 20 years old from Charlotte
"One college student who believes that she can use her knowledge of gender-based issues, passion for community-based participatory research, and commitment to changing lives to better the communities we live in, and empower young women to do the same." - Rickelle
Rickelle has worked for Stop Street Harrassment, a non-profit organization that aims to document and prevent the insidious form of gender-based violence that is street harassment. Girl Talk Foundation, Inc. which is a non-profit that seeks to increase the future orientation and self-worth in young girls, and EmpowHERment, Inc. a start-up non-profit committed to empowering women to be advocates and leaders in their community.
“I have a deep and extensive passion for connecting with female adolescents. I am a psychology major, with a Women's and Gender Studies minor, who has research interests in female adolescence, identity development, sexuality, empowerment, and well-being. My current research is centered on using positive psychology (such as mindfulness and self-acceptance) to empower women and combat body image dissatisfaction. I also engage in community interventions as an evaluator, by helping to document the impact of such programs/interventions, and use research to inform processes and how we can make these programs stronger. “ - Rickelle
Jazmin Martinez Sanchez, 19 years old from The Coachella Valley
"Incredibly determined, empowered, strong woman who wants to help make change in the world." - Jazmin
Jazmin has worked for the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance, the Veteran Feminist of American conference and the ERA education project, Media and Public Health act campaign. She has contributed to Proud 2B Me and is part of Women Action and Media collective in LA.
“I want to be a girl leader in the Brave Girls Want Alliance because I truly believe girls everywhere need real three dimensional representation and role models. I want girls to grow up thinking they can do anything they want and not feel terrible each morning because they don't fit some dumb made up beauty standard. I want to help encourage the upbringing of all the brave girls.” - Jazmin
Please join me, and all our allies, in welcoming Rickelle and Jazmin to the Brave Girls Alliance. We cannot wait to collaborate with them on this awesome project.
On behalf of the Brave Girls Alliance I also want to thank all forty-five outstanding young women that applied for the two available roles, it was a very hard task to select two out of so many great candidates. You all have a very impressive body of work, a great set of skills and have been working hard to make a positive impact in the world. You inspire us. Thank you.
To all of you that have claimed perks as part of your donation to the campaign, very soon you will be receiving an email from the team to follow up on your perks, we will be asking you for your tweets/messages for the billboard and/or to select your expert for the one to one sessions.
Co-Founder and Executive Director
The Brave Girls Alliance