Girls Get the Message(R)
A Media Literacy Program
Girls Get the Message teaches girls to analyze what they see and hear in the media. The program helps girls recognize stereotypes in television shows, films, CDs, newspapers, magazines, web sites, music videos and video games and differentiate between those stereotypes and their own lives. Girls Get the Message explores issues of ownership, media business and the roles of women "behind the scenes" in media careers. The program has four different components targeted at girls ages 6-8, 9-11, 12-14 and 15-18.
Getting the Message- girls learn to critically "read" a variety of media messages. Girls are encouraged to ask critical questions such as: Who's the intended audience and what is the intended result of the message? Whose point of view is presented and whose is left out?
Sending the Message- girls express themselves and create their own media representations of themselves and their worlds using media production tools and techniques (storyboarding, audio and video recording equipment, and multi-media software)
Learning the Business- girls explore the business side of media, learn about advertising and commercial interests, media and democracy, career opportunities and relevant skills
Recasting the Characters- girls examine the roles of girls and women in media, analyze characterization, identify stereotypes, rewrite scenes and advocate for the media to be responsive to their opinions and concerns.
Girls pick a type of character out of a hat, such as "rap star" or "diva," and dress up and act the way they think this character would typically behave. The audience guesses which character each girls is portraying. The girls learn to recognize what stereotypes they possess and have been imposed on them.
Girls Incorporated of the Greater Capital Region was selected as one of only seven agencies across the nation to pilot Girls Get the Message. It is the first media literacy program of its kind to be offered in the Capital Region.
According to a 1999 survey, the typical American girls uses some kind of media (television, radio, computers, etc.) for over 5 hours per day. The typical American girl does not think to question what is being portrayed by the media and accepts what is depicted at face value. Girls Incoporated national developed Girls Get the Message with the purpose of helping girls wade through the media messages that bombard them.
In a study conducted by Girls Incorporated national, 69% of girls reported that fashion magazine pictures influenced their idea of the perfect body shape and almost half say they want to lose weight becuase of magazine pictures.
"At Girls Inc. we learn that real life isn't always picture perfect. Once you know that everything is dolled up for TV - that someone does the girl's hair, polished her nails, picks out and pays for her clothes - you know there's no such thing as a perfect girl. The pressure is less."
Jennifer Sisneros, 16, Girls Inc. of Denver, CO
For more information about Girls Get the Message,
call Girls Incorporated of the Greater Capital Region at